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Japan hibakusha group angry at Hiroshima decision to stop using manga 'Barefoot Gen' at schools

Scenes from the manga "Barefoot Gen" are seen published in the "Hiroshima peace notes," part of the peace education curriculum aimed at students in the third grade of elementary school, at Hiroshima City Hall on Feb. 17, 2023. (Mainichi/Kiyomasa Nakamura)

TOKYO -- The national organization representing Japan's victims of the atomic bomb attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki released a statement on Feb. 28 expressing anger over the city of Hiroshima's decision to stop using the manga "Barefoot Gen" in education materials at municipal schools.

    Barefoot Gen is set in Hiroshima around the 1945 atomic bombing. Scenes from the manga, such as the character Gen being torn from his family due to the attack, are used in materials aimed at students in the third year of elementary school and first year of high school as part of the "peace education program" at municipal elementary, junior high and senior high schools. The city's education board decided to stop using the manga as part of major curriculum revisions for the 2023 school year.

    Sueichi Kido, secretary general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, or Nihon Hidankyo, could not hold back his anger at the decision. In the statement, Kido explained, "Barefoot Gen portrays a complete picture of the suffering that most A-bomb survivors have lived through."

    Kido is calling for the city to reverse its decision to ensure students have a full picture of the destruction caused by the atomic bombs.

    (Japanese original by Shota Harumashi, Tokyo City News Department)

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