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Last checked: September 7, 2015
Barefoot Gen (はだしのゲン, Hadashi no Gen) is a Japanese manga series by Keiji Nakazawa. Loosely based on Nakazawa's own experiences as a Hiroshima survivor, the series begins in 1945 in and around Hiroshima, Japan, where the six-year-old boy Gen Nakaoka lives with his family. After Hiroshima is destroyed by atomic bombing, Gen and other survivors are left to deal with the aftermath. Barefoot Gen ran in several magazines, including Weekly Shōnen Jump, from 1973 to 1985. It was subsequently adapted into three live action film adaptations directed by Tengo Yamada, which were released between 1976 and 1980. Madhouse released two anime films, one in 1983 and one in 1986. In 2007, a live action television drama series adaptation aired in Japan on Fuji TV over two nights, August 10 and 11.
Gen's family suffers as all families do in war. They must conduct themselves as proper members of society, as all Japanese are instructed in paying tribute to the Emperor. But because of a belief that their involvement in the war is due to the greed of the rich ruling class, Gen's father rejects the military propaganda and the family comes to be treated as traitors. Gen's family struggles with their bond of loyalty to each other and to a government that is willing to send teenagers on suicide missions in battle. This push and pull relationship is seen many times as Gen is ridiculed in school, mimicking his father's views on Japan's role in the war, and then is subsequently punished by his father for spouting things he learned through rote brainwashing in school.