Event Title

Orphans of the Japanese Reconstruction: Future Leaders

Presenter Information

George Hill, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Davis 307

Start Date

30-4-2015 3:10 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 3:55 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

The lingering affects of war and abysmal conditions in Japan lasting many years after the destruction of the country are often overlooked, but in Toshio Hirata's 1986 film Barefoot Gen 2, Hirata brutally depicts the world of Hiroshima three years after the atomic bomb was dropped. The film centers around the famine, oppression, and discrimination that plagued Japan at the time, including scenes with skeletons lining riverbeds and children being denied entrance to school because they are homeless. In contrast to the crushing subject matter of the film, many of its moments are playful and heartwarming as the viewer is led around by a rag-tag group of industrious orphans. The orphans as well as Gen and his adopted little brother stand apart from the rest of the adult society they live in. They break tradition, law, and social stigma to eke out an existence in a wasteland devoid of possibility, but like many real-life orphans of the time, they manage to accomplish astonishing tasks. In his overwhelmingly positive depiction of the orphans, Hirata reflects the forward-thinking sentiment Keiji Nakazawa, the author of the Manga upon which Barefoot Gen 2 is based and an actual survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima. The orphans and Gen's acceptance of bomb victims and outsiders furthers Nakazawa's critical perceptive on Japanese attitudes after the war. In Barefoot Gen 2, the attitudes of Gen and the orphans are presented as the ideal attitudes for Japanese people to accept in the Post-War era.

Faculty Sponsor

Tamae Prindle

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. East Asian Studies Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Humanities

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1560

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Apr 30th, 3:10 PM Apr 30th, 3:55 PM

Orphans of the Japanese Reconstruction: Future Leaders

Davis 307

The lingering affects of war and abysmal conditions in Japan lasting many years after the destruction of the country are often overlooked, but in Toshio Hirata's 1986 film Barefoot Gen 2, Hirata brutally depicts the world of Hiroshima three years after the atomic bomb was dropped. The film centers around the famine, oppression, and discrimination that plagued Japan at the time, including scenes with skeletons lining riverbeds and children being denied entrance to school because they are homeless. In contrast to the crushing subject matter of the film, many of its moments are playful and heartwarming as the viewer is led around by a rag-tag group of industrious orphans. The orphans as well as Gen and his adopted little brother stand apart from the rest of the adult society they live in. They break tradition, law, and social stigma to eke out an existence in a wasteland devoid of possibility, but like many real-life orphans of the time, they manage to accomplish astonishing tasks. In his overwhelmingly positive depiction of the orphans, Hirata reflects the forward-thinking sentiment Keiji Nakazawa, the author of the Manga upon which Barefoot Gen 2 is based and an actual survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima. The orphans and Gen's acceptance of bomb victims and outsiders furthers Nakazawa's critical perceptive on Japanese attitudes after the war. In Barefoot Gen 2, the attitudes of Gen and the orphans are presented as the ideal attitudes for Japanese people to accept in the Post-War era.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/245