Barefoot Gen (1983 film)

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Barefoot Gen
Theatrical release poster
HepburnHadashi no Gen
Directed byMori Masaki
Produced by
  • Takanori Yoshimune
  • Yasutaka Iwase[1]
Screenplay byKeiji Nakazawa[2]
Based onBarefoot Gen
by Keiji Nakazawa
  • Issei Miyazaki
  • Masaki Kōda
  • Tatsuya Jo
Music byKentarō Haneda[2]
CinematographyKin'ichi Ishikawa[2]
Edited byHarutoshi Ogata[1]
Gen Production[2]
Distributed byHerald Enterprises
Release date
  • 21 July 1983 (1983-07-21) (Japan)
Running time
85 minutes[2]

Barefoot Gen (はだしのゲン, Hadashi no Gen) is a 1983 anime war drama film loosely based on the Japanese manga series of the same name by Keiji Nakazawa. Directed by Mori Masaki and starring Issei Miyazaki, Masaki Kōda and Tatsuya Jo, it depicts World War II in Japan from a child's point of view revolving around the events surrounding the bombing of Hiroshima and the main character's first hand experience of the bomb.


Gen Nakaoka and his family live in Hiroshima during the final days of World War II. The family struggles through food shortages and constant air raid warnings. Gen's mother, Kimie, is pregnant and suffering from malnutrition. His sister, Eiko, helps their mother. Gen and his brother Shinji help their father, Daikichi, in the family's wheat field and try to find food for Kimie. Daikichi and Kimie realize the war is not going well, though they wonder why Hiroshima has been spared from the air raids which devastated other Japanese cities.

On the morning of 6 August, Gen and a friend arrive at school just as a lone B-29 aircraft flies overhead. The plane releases a bomb which devastates the city. Gen's friend is killed in the blast while he is buried under rubble by the resulting shockwave. After Gen frees himself, he explores the ruined city and sees horribly burned people wandering the streets. Gen finds Kimie and they try to rescue their family, who are buried alive under their collapsed house. They are unsuccessful and Gen reluctantly obeys Daikichi's order to take his mother and run just as the house goes up in flames.

Gen and Kimie are taken to safety by a neighbor, Mr. Pak. Some time later, Kimie goes into premature labor. Gen is unable to find help in the burnt out city and is forced to assist his mother in the delivery. Kimie successfully gives birth to a baby girl, Tomoko. Later that night, Gen and his mother find survivors in agony. They help them by giving them water, but the survivors die as soon as they drink it.

Gen spends the next few days searching for food for his family. He discovers that soldiers are distributing rice, but arrives to find them collecting corpses before burning them in mass graves. He finds a fireman's hat, which becomes a signature part of his character. A short time later, he finds a soldier suffering from radiation poisoning. Gen leaves him at a hospital, but they are unable to treat his then-unknown sickness. He later finds a ration storehouse containing rice, most of which has already been seared by the blast. He finds a few bags of intact rice and takes them to his mother to eat along with some fresh vegetables.

On 16 August, Gen and Kimie dig up the remains of their family members from their former home. They learn that Japan has surrendered to the Allies, ending the war. They later take refuge in a makeshift shack where they try to live on what little rice they have. A small boy, Ryuta, tries to steal their rice, but is caught by Gen. Gen is shocked to see that Ryuta resembles Shinji, and after they learn he was orphaned by the bomb, he and Kimie take him in. Ryuta comes to call Gen "big brother," which cheers him up

The next day, Gen and Ryuta look for food as Tomoko is suffering from malnutrition. A man gives them a job tending to his brother, another bomb surivor, for 10 yen a day. They accept the job despite the man's ill-temper. Eventually, the boys grow tired of the mistreatment, slap the man several times and quit. The man begs them to come back, explaining to them that he is grateful that the boys treated him like more than a rotting corpse. Gen tells Ryuta to tell his mother where they are, and he spends the night with the man, which inspires him to paint once again. The man's brother pays them 100 yen and the boys head out to find milk for Tomoko. When they return home, they find that Tomoko has already died. Tomoko's body is later burned in a pyre and Gen, angry and frustrated, cries out to his father for guidance.

Despite hearing that no grass would grow in Hiroshima for years, Gen and Ryuta find that the wheat is starting to grow. Gen remembers how his Father told them no matter how much wheat is beaten down, it grows back, and that his sons should be like the wheat. In his newfound optimism, Gen remembers the promise he made to Shinji of taking him to the river after school, and so, he builds a new wooden boat, placing a candle on the top. Two weeks after the bomb, Gen takes Ryuta and his mother to the river, where they light the candle and release the boat. They then watch and pray as the boat gently sails into the sunset.


Cast by region
Character Japanese voice actor
English voice actor
(Streamline Pictures, 1995)
Gen Nakaoka Issei Miyazaki Catherine Battistone
Daikichi Nakaoka Takao Inoue Kirk Thornton
Kimie Nakaoka Yoshie Shimamura Iona Morris
Eiko Nakaoka Seiko Nakano Wendee Lee
Shinji Nakaoka Masaki Kōda Brianne Siddall
Ryuta Kondo Masaki Kōda Barbara Goodson
Hidezo Takeshi Aono Michael McConnohie
Boku Pak Junji Nishimura Ardwight Chamberlain
Seiji Yoshida Katsuji Mori Dan Woren
Hana Taeko Nakanishi Joyce Kurtz


Barefoot Gen was released in Japan on 21 July 1983 where it was distributed by Herald Enterprises.[1][2] It was released in the United States on 13 June 1992.[2]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "はだしのゲン" (in Japanese). Madhouse. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Galbraith IV 1996, p. 112.


  • Galbraith IV, Stuart (1996). The Japanese Filmography: 1900 through 1994. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0032-3.

External links[edit]