Group of Volunteers Translating and Publishing a Comic
"Barefoot Gen" by Keiji Nakazawa


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For Project Gen
Project Gen is a volunteer group translating and publishing the comic/graphic novel, “Barefoot Gen,” the Japanese comic classic about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Its purpose is to disseminate “Barefoot Gen” all over the world. It has about twenty volunteers from Russia, America and Japan

Message from Project Gen

    Sixty years have passed since the Japanese first experienced the fear of nuclear weapons, atomic bombs in the closing days of World War II in human history. Hundreds of thousands people fell victims to the atomic bombs, and their aftereffects have been causing A-bomb survivors terrible pain. Nevertheless, increasing threat of the bombs are undeniable facts in the 21st century.

    Under the circumstances, we believe that Japan, the only country that had A-bomb victims, must convey what the A-bombs brought to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and what nuclear weapons will bring to human beings in order not to repeat those tragedies. In this respect, a series of the comic "Barefoot Gen," written by Mr. Keiji Nakazawa, is playing an important role to condemn nuclear weapons and wars, while focusing on the precious peace.
    People in the world know the words of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and “atomic bomb” and that nuclear weapons are dreadful, but people don’t seem to know the reality of these words. Data and records can’t express how the victims feel. In the terrible devastation of the atomic bombings, they died asking for water. They have their own names, history, relatives and friends. Though they were terrified to die in the hellfire, they had lived for dreams and hopes, and experienced the joys and sorrows of life. Others lost relatives, got terrible burns, hid keloid scars, were discriminated because of being bombed, and have lived in fear of radiation. How much of their suffering and grief is truly understood? Japan is the first victim of the atomic bomb, and at the same time Japan has to be the last. Japan has a duty to keep telling the terror of nuclear weapons in order not to repeat the tragedy for human beings. In that sense, a comic/graphic novel “Barefoot Gen” accuses atomic weapons and wars, shows the importance of peace and has much to contribute.
    We hope that children and the young read “Barefoot Gen” in libraries, schools and homes in the world, become aware of the terror of nuclear weapons, and understand of the main character, Gen.
    When Gen travels all over the world from someone to another and talks to them in various languages, we believe that he can play a role, if even a small one, against nuclear weapons, and the goal of peace in the twenty-first century.
    “Barefoot Gen” was performed on the stage as a musical at home and abroad. It was also made into a film. An animated feature was made as well. When it showed in Dallas, Texas, the author, Mr. Keiji Nakazawa, was there for questions and answers, for which there was a long line of the audience. Gen is taking an active role in various forms, such as an opera and “kodan.” The book with ten volumes has started to be translated into different languages. In the dicker of international politics, a grass-roots movement like this seems ineffectual in some situations. We, however, through this movement, feeling the importance to convey anew the wonderful aspect of people’s empathy with humanism, will continue our movement.

Project Gen’s History and Activities

    Originally Project Gen was made in Tokyo in 1976 in order to translate a comic “Barefoot Gen” by Keiji Nakazawa into various languages. It was translated into English, German, Esperanto, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish and so on. Vol. 1 was published in each language. The English version was translated as high as Vol. 4. Later Project Gen ended its activities.
    Minako Tanabe, who studied in Moscow, started Project Gen in Russia with some Russian students in 1994. Vol. 1 was self-published through a publisher in Moscow in 1995, fifty years after World War II.
    Coincidentally Yuria Tachino and Namie Asazuma started to translate “Barefoot Gen” into Russian in Kanazawa, Japan. We joined Project Gen in Russia and then based it in Kanazawa publishing Vol. 2 and 3 in Moscow.
    Project Gen in Russia started to edit the pictures from Vol. 4 along with translation in cooperation with Russian women and foreign students in 1999. We published and started to sell copies in Japan.
    We changed our name to Project Gen-Group of Volunteers Translating and Publishing "Barefoot Gen." The tenth and last Russian volume was published in June 2001.
    In 2000, we looked for volunteers to translate “Barefoot Gen” into English. Eight people joined us.
    We edit pictures on personal computers. We published Vol. 1 and 2 through Last Gasp, a publisher in the US in 2004. Then we issued Vol. 3 and 4 in 2005. By the end of 2008, we will finish publishing the whole ten volumes.
    We are editing the English version, We sell the Russian version. We make the speech and write to magazines to promote “Barefoot Gen.” We have contact with the readers. We respond to inquiries from overseas publishing companies and media.


Barefoot Gen” was translated into various languages through other countries' publishers as well as the English and Russian version by Project Gen: Korean, Spanish, French, Polish, Dutch, German and so on.