Barefoot Gen is a manga (comic book) series by Keiji Nakazawa, a manga artist born in Hiroshima City. Based on his own experiences of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, the story first appeared in serial form in 1973 under the title Hadashi no Gen. The main character, Gen Nakaoka, Nakazawa’s alter ego, survives the atomic bombing and struggles desperately through the post-war period having lost most of his family to the bomb.
In 1945, Gen was a second-year elementary school student en route to school as usual when the atomic bomb exploded above him. Until that moment, he had quite happy living with his family, despite food shortages and the constant threat of air raids. Then, the atomic bomb deprived him of everything he held dear and plunged him into a life of severe hardship.
In this special exhibition, we would like to convey certain aspects of children’s lives during the war and what happened to them after the bombing, and Gen’s experiences will helps us do so.
We hope this exhibition will help you comprehend the profound misery and cruel absurdity of war and the atomic bombing that ruined the lives of so many children. We further hope that these descriptions of Gen’s life, mementos of those who died in the bombing, and photos of real children like him forced by the bomb to live in orphanages will serve to remind you of the supreme importance of peace