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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Books to Read during Summer Vacation – Learning About War and Peace through Manga

 During the 75 years since the atomic bombing, to this day, the subject of “Hiroshima” has been passed down from generation to generation, in a variety of forms. Here, at the Hiroshima City Manga Library, which houses over 155,000 volumes of manga, the librarians recommended to us various manga comics that elementary school children in higher grades could read — books which tackle the themes of “communicating the tragedy of war and the atomic bombing, while conveying the nobility and grandeur of peace.”

 “Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni” (In This Corner of the World)

©Kono Fumiyo/Coamix Inc.

 This is a family drama, set during the war, in the city of Kure, in Hiroshima Prefecture.

 The heroine, Suzu, moves from her home in the Eba district of Hiroshima to Kure when she is married. This manga depicts her struggles during the war — while surviving becomes ever more difficult, she still finds a way to enjoy life, such as by finding creative ways to prepare dandelions and chickweed during the rampant food shortages.

 Although Suzu and her family continue to desperately survive amidst the intensifying air raids in Kure, on August 6th, 1945, she experiences enormous tremors, and sees an expansive cloud billowing toward the sky, coming from the direction of Hiroshima.

 This is a story that helps readers understand that even during a war, everyday life continued to take place.

Title:               Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (Special Edition)

Author:            Kono Fumiyo

Publisher:         Coamix Inc.

Volumes:                     Part 1, Part 2

Price:              ¥935 each (tax included)

Digital Edition:   Available *Digital Edition published as Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

“Nafuda no Omamori” (The Name-Inscribed Good Luck Charm),
“Hibaku Densha” (The Radiation-Exposed Train)
– (Both stories published in Issue 26 of “Tetsubon” Magazine)

©Nagamatsu Kiyoshi, Takahashi Enshu/Shogakukan Inc.

 Did you know that the Hiroshima Electric Railway Co. trained female train operators, and that even after the atomic bombing, female students were operating the city trains?

 A member of the National Diet (who loved trains) and his secretary happen upon an old woman in Hiroshima who has fallen ill, and while coming to her aid, learn about her experiences during the war and the atomic bombing.

 At the time, the woman had worked as a train operator and conductor. Her famous words, “Wars are started by politicians, but it’s the young people who carry guns into the battlefield and die, and it’s women and children like me who get bombs rained upon us from above,” carry a heavy weight that resonates even to this day.

Title:    “Nafuda no Omamori” (The Name-Inscribed Good Luck Charm),

“Hibaku Densha” (The Radiation-Exposed Train)

– (Both stories published in Issue 26 of “Tetsubon” Magazine)

Author:            Nagamatsu Kiyoshi

Story:              Takahashi Enshu

Publisher:         Shogakukan Inc. (Japanese edition serialized in Big Comic Original)

Price:              ¥713 (tax included)

Digital Edition:   Available

“Yama Yukaba” (Going to the Mountains)
– (published in “Manga-ka tachi no Senso – ‘Kodomo tachi no Senso’”
(“Manga Artists in War – ‘Children in War’”))

 With their father having been taken away by soldiers to go fight in the war, and after losing their mother and home to air raids, a young brother and sister, together with their beloved dog Chibi, head from Tokyo to Hiroshima, where their uncle lives.

 Although the children of the village bully them and make their lives in their new home uncomfortable, the protagonists, together with Chibi, bravely live on.

 But one day, having learned that the government has ordered all domesticated dogs to be killed, the brother and sister band together with the village children, and stand up to protect everyone’s pet dogs.

 Reading this story, one can learn about how absurd war can be, and the reality of how pets were treated during wartime.

Title:               Yama Yukaba” (Going to the Mountains)
– (published in “Manga-ka tachi no Senso – ‘Kodomo tachi no Senso’”
(“Manga Artists in War – ‘Children in War’”))

Author:            Asuna Hiroshi

Supervisor:        Nakano Haruyuki

Publisher:         Kinnohoshi Co., Ltd.

Price:              ¥3,520 (tax included)

Digital Edition:   Unavailable

 “Hadashi no Gen” (Barefoot Gen)

 This story is based on the author Nakazawa Keiji’s real-life experiences, starting with the end of the Pacific War, to the dropping of the atomic bomb, and the immense struggles of post-war life, embodied by the hero Gen and other victims of the bombing.

 After having lost his father, older sister, and younger brother to the atomic bomb dropped upon Hiroshima, Gen suffers from the after-effects of the bombing, while bravely fighting on to survive.

 We are confronted with the tragedies of war and the atomic bomb, as well as the nobility and grandeur of peace, through the character of Gen. The story expresses Nakazawa Keiji’s strong sentiments against the war and the atomic bomb.

Title:               “Hadashi no Gen” (Barefoot Gen)

Author:            Nakazawa Keiji

Publisher:         Choubunsha Publishing Co., Ltd.

Volumes:                     10

Price:              ¥748 each (tax included)

Digital Edition:   Available

Hiroshima City Manga Library

Telephone:          082-261-0330

Address:              1-4 Hijiyama-koen, Minami-ku, Hiroshima

Hours:                 10:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.

Closed:  Mondays, and the day after national holidays (however, if the holiday is scheduled on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, or holiday, then the library will be closed on the following weekday)

*For other information, such as regarding library closures, please visit the official website.
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