Vol. 7, No. 3 (2011): 35–52.
This paper examines the representations of the A-bomb and its victims in Japanese manga. While Keiji Nakazawa’s Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen) stands tall in this genre, the brief look at the history of A-bomb manga in Japan will reveal that the nuclear bombs that killed more than a quarter million people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been a popular topic in Japanese manga and has manifested in variety of manga genres. In overviewing the history of A-bomb manga in Japan, this paper aims to explore the social connotations of A-bomb manga. I wish to show that Japanese manga is a major vehicle in promoting and proliferating the Genbaku Otome, or A-bomb beauties myth. This myth lies at the centre of the Japanese imagination of the A-bomb victims and which contributes significantly to the establishment of the social notion of victimisation in post-war Japan.
Masashi Ichiki is a professor of English and Multimedia Studies in Chikushi Jogakuen University, Fukuoka, Japan. Among his publications are “Demystifying a Postwar Myth,” Dekalog 4 (Wallflower Press) and “Bo-kyo-suru Manga,” Ekkyo-suru Manga (Sekai Siso Sha).