Barefoot Gen: Japan, WWII, Hiroshima, and Hope

Post date: Jan 9, 2017 3:02:52 AM

This week the Middle School Program started its third unit of the year. For the next eight classes we will be reading from Keiji Nakazawa's classic manga series Barefoot Gen. Mr. Nazkazawa is a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 8, 1945. Barefoot Gen is staunchly anti-war where the author rails against the totalitarian government of the Japanese Empire on which he squarely places the blame for the war and the atomic bombing. The books have a broader message though: peace, hope, and love in the face of the most inhumane of actions and experiences. In this unit, we will be learning about WWII, Japanese Empire, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, but we will also be looking at totalitarianism, propaganda, and the issue of nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and nuclear proliferation which are all currently in the local and international news recently. We will be reading the first two translated volumes of the Barefoot Gen series which cover the time before, during, and immediately after the bombing. The first volume is publicly available online for all here. I recommend reading along with your child and discussing it at home.

Our first assignments for this unit are a diary and a virtual tour. The My Hiroshima Diary assignment (copy posted below) requires students to write a diary entry after each reading assignment where they role play a young Japanese person living in Hiroshima during the events of our book and reacting to them in character by writing a personal diary. Students should also find an authentic photo from the time to go with their entries. The second assignment of this unit is a virtual tour of Hiroshima to get students familiar with the geography, history, and people of Hiroshima before, during, and since WWII. Students are to work in groups to complete the different sections of this assignment in the next few weeks. A copy of this assignment is also posted below.

Due to the Lunar New Year holidays, there will be no classes On January 21 and 28. We will have class again on February 4 after the holidays. Please use this time to catch up on your work and reading. Best of luck on finals and good fortune in the new year.

My Hiroshima Diary
Hiroshima: A Virtual Tour