OSAKA — A Korean translation of “Hadashi no Gen” (“Barefoot Gen”), a long Japanese comic book about the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, has been completed by a lecturer at Kinki University in Osaka.
Kim Song I, 55, a Korean resident of Japan, spent seven years translating the story’s 10 volumes with two South Korean students in Japan.
“In South Korea, there is a positive view about the use of the atomic bomb (on Japan) because it hastened Japan’s surrender” in World War II, Kim said.
“Through ‘Gen,’ I want to let (South Korean people) know the horror of nuclear weapons and war, and how much disruption they cause to human life,” he said.
Kim, a second-generation North Korean living in Japan, read the comic for the first time about 20 years ago after his son, then in elementary school, suggested it.
It is a vivid autobiography by author Keiji Nakazawa, who was 7 years old when the U.S. atomic bomb fell on his hometown of Hiroshima, and tells the tale of a family’s struggle to survive during and after the war.
Kim said that after reading the comic, which is popular with kids, he keenly understood the foolishness of war, the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and the discrimination suffered by Asians.
In 1995, Kim learned that Korean was not among the languages into which the story had been translated. He met with Nakazawa and received permission to translate it.
When Kim visited South Korea in spring 2000 in search of a publisher, he was initially told only that the first four volumes could be printed because there wasn’t enough money for the project.
But he eventually convinced a company to publish all 10 volumes to convey Nakazawa’s entire message.
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