Kickstarter Launched to Give Barefoot Gen Manga to Schools, Libraries

posted on by Egan Loo
Last Gasp Books to give 4,000 copies of first-person account of Hiroshima bombing

Last Gasp Publishing launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign on Tuesday to print 4,000 copies of Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen) manga in hardcover binding for schools and libraries. The manga is Nakazawa's semi-autobiographical account of life during and after the 1945 Hiroshima bombing, based on his own real-life childhood experiences. August 6 marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

The Kickstarter campaign aims to raise US$36,000 by Thursday, September 10 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Rewards for backers include copies of Nakazawa's I Saw It and Barefoot Gen manga. Backers can choose whether to have Last Gasp send each Barefoot Gen copy to a school or library, or to have Last Gasp mail a copy or copies to the backer so the backer can personally give them to a school or library.

Nakazawa was born in Hiroshima in 1939. At the age of 6, he survived the 1945 Hiroshima bombing and the loss of most of his immediate family — his father, older sister, younger brother, and younger sister. Only he, his mother, and two brothers who were not at home survived.

He drew Barefoot Gen from 1973 to 1985, based on his experiences during the bombing and of his struggle to survive in the aftermath. The resulting 10 volumes of Barefoot Gen have since sold over 10 millon copies and have been translated in English, Russian, Korean, and many other languages.

Nakazawa underwent treatment for lung cancer and related ailments in 2010 and 2011. He 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." Nakazawa passed away in 2012 due to lung cancer. He was 73.

Last Gasp Publishing already republished the manga in North America. The manga inspired two animated films and a live-action television drama special in Japan. Producer Northrop Davis and a partner have pitched the story to Hollywood studios.

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