Barefoot Gen's Nakazawa Drops Sequel Due to Cataract (Updated)
posted on 2009-09-15 08:56 EDT by Egan Loo
Keiji Nakazawa, the manga creator who wrote the semi-autobiographical Barefoot Gen story about the Hiroshima atomic bombing, has revealed on Tuesday that he abandoned plans for a new Barefoot Gen sequel due to his worsening eyesight. He has a cataract in his right eye and a damaged retina in his left eye. Even though he underwent surgery in January, his eyesight has not improved. He added, "Now I can't draw fine lines." Although he can no longer work as a manga creator, he intends to continue pressing for a nuclear weapons ban and peace by making art books.
In the planned Barefoot Gen sequel, atomic bomb survivor Gen would have moved to Tokyo to become a manga assistant in hopes of becoming a regular artist — much like Nakazawa himself did. Nakazawa planned to depict the prejudice against atomic bomb survivors. He would have concluded the story by having Gen embark on a trip to France to study art. Nakazawa had already drawn two installments of the sequel and decided on a publisher. He apologized to his readers who have been waiting for over two decades for the story of Gen's coming-of-age in Tokyo.
At the age of 6, Nakazawa survived the 1945 Hiroshima bombing and the loss of his entire family except for his mother. He moved to Tokyo in 1961 and became a published manga creator at the age of 24 in 1963. He created several titles such as Kuroi Ame ni Utarete (Drenched by Black Rain) before drawing his most famous work from 1973 to 1985. The resulting ten volumes of Barefoot Gen have since sold over 10 millon copies and have been translated in English, Russian, Korean, and many other languages. (Last Gasp Publishing prints the manga in North America.) The story has been adapted into two animated films and a live-action television drama special in Japan. Producer Northrop Davis and a partner have been pitching the story to Hollywood studios.
Update: Additional information from Mainichi Shimbun on Nakazawa's eyesight and Barefoot Gen's publishing history added.
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