BAREFOOT GEN and I SAW IT creator Keiji Nakazawa died on December 19th at age 73. The cause was lung cancer.
As a boy of six, Nakazawa survived the nuclear bomb that fell on Hiroshima, although most of his family died in the bombing. The horrific events that followed were recounted in fictionalized form in BAREFOOT GEN—recently reissued by Last Gasp—and in more autobiographical fashion in I SAW IT, both incredibly powerful and riveting works. These two manga were among the first to attract attention in the US, translated as far back as the ’70s, making Nakazawa one of the first Japanese cartoonists to get more than cult recognition in the US.
Nakazawa had been talking of a sequel to BAREFOOT GEN, but poor eyesight and poor health in general forced him to give up work in the last few years of his life.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.