Barefoot Gen is the powerful, tragic, auto-biographical story of the bombing of Hiroshima, as seen through the eyes of the author as a young boy growing up in wartime Japan.
The atomic bomb exploded 600 meters above my hometown of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m. I was a little over one kilometer away from the epicenter, standing at the back gate of Kanazaki Primary School, when I was hit by a terrible blast of wind and searing heat.I was six years old. I owe my life to the school’s concrete wall. If I hadn’t been standing in its shadow, I would have been burned to death instantly by the 5,000-degree heat flash.Instead, I found myself in a living hell, the details of which remain etched in my brain as if it happened yesterday.
—Keiji Nakazawa (1939 – 2012)