“Barefoot Gen” author Keiji Nakazawa speaks at Hiroshima high school

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

Manga artist Keiji Nakazawa, 72, the author of “Barefoot Gen,” was invited to speak at Hiroshima Municipal Funairi High School on February 6. Mr. Nakazawa, who lives in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, spoke at a peace education event at the school. He shared with students his experiences of the atomic bombing which formed the basis of his mostly widely-known work, “Barefoot Gen,” and conveyed his hopes for young people today.

Students in the school’s International Communication Course as well as members of the drama club, about 90 students in all, were on hand to hear Mr. Nakazawa. The manga artist told them that his mother’s death spurred his determination to tackle the issue of the atomic bombing in his work.

“Both Japan, which initiated the war, and the United States, which dropped the atomic bomb, must be held accountable for what happened,” he said. He also expressed his hopes for the younger generation, saying, “I hope you will help convey the horror of the atomic bombing and Hiroshima’s message of peace to the world.”

Fumika Kobayashi, 17, is a member of the drama club and has directed a play about the artist’s life. “This was the first time I had the chance to meet Mr. Nakazawa,” she said. “I was impressed by the power of his words as he talked about his suffering and his grief.”

(Originally published on February 7, 2012)