A few days ago, I learned that the manga Barefoot Gen has been banned from some schools in Japan for its depiction of violence. If you’ve ever seen me talk, you might know that Barefoot Gen is one of my seminal influences as a cartoonist, and I hold its creator Keiji Nakazawa in the highest regard. Mr. Nakazawa passed away last December, and I never wrote a proper eulogy for him, but I wrote a short comic over a decade ago called Beginnings, which says everything I wanted to say about the book and what it means to me.
I received a very kind letter from a father in Japan (@unpocketable on Twitter) over the weekend, who was frustrated over the book banning and came across my short story. He asked if he could translate my comic into Japanese for his young daughter to read, and to share with some of her friends and others in his community. I was delighted by the idea, and he sent me the translated version so I could share it here on my website, too. Without further ado:
Thanks to @unpocketable, and again, the original English version of Beginnings can be read right here on my site.