Barefoot Gen Creator Nakazawa Reveals Cancer Treatment
posted on by Egan Loo
Keiji Nakazawa, the 71-year-old creator of the world-renowned Barefoot Gen manga about the Hiroshima atomic bombing and aftermath, revealed on Friday that he was hospitalized for three months due to lung cancer and related ailments. However, Nakazawa attended the Friday opening of a Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum exhibition of his art and said with a smile, "I somehow got better."
According to Nakazawa and his 68-year-old wife Misayo, the manga creator experienced shortness of breath and checked into a Hiroshima City hospital last September. There, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He underwent surgery and was discharged after about one month. However, his health deteriorated, and he returned to the hospital until the end of December. His health has improved as the shortness of breath disappeared, but he did lose 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds).
Nakazawa joked at the museum, "It's a good thing this exhibition didn't turn into my retrospective." Nakazawa had abandoned plans for a new Barefoot Gen sequel in 2009 due to his worsening eyesight from a cataract and a damaged retina. However, he said, "Our generation must continue to tell of the horrors of atomic bombs and war," and added that he hopes to announce a new video or film project.
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 republished the Barefoot Gen 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. Over the years, Nakazawa donated 2,735 original drawings of Barefoot Gen and at least 30 more boxes of other materials to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
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