Manga Study Guide: Barefoot Gen/Plot structure (The Weekly Jump)
The Weekly Jump[edit | edit source]
The Weekly Jump is one of the most famous comic magazine in Japan, releasing many well-known comics to the world. The Weekly Jump is famous for its “questionnaire supremacy policy”, the policy of deciding if a series continues by the number of reader votes it receives, and will stop a series if it does not receive enough votes for a certain period of time. Barefoot Gen did not do receive as much support from the readers. After it was cut off the Weekly Jump in 1974, over 10 books of the series were published from a few publishers over a 14 year period. The comic appeared on magazines supported by the Japanese Communist Party which supported the anti-nuclear message of the comic. It was also published on the magazine of the Japan Teacher’s Union, and received support from teachers all around Japan. By this support, Barefoot Gen was the only comic allowed in school, gaining young readers who wanted to read comics in school. Nakazawa continued to create the series, until he announced his retirement in 2009 due to his illness
Barefoot Gen started off as a one-shot comic called “おれは見た(ore-wa-mita “I Saw It”)” as part of project of the Monthly Jump (not the same as the Weekly Jump) asking comic writers to write autobiographical comics in 1972. This one-shot comic later later developed into the series “Barefoot Gen” in 1973 which was put on the Weekly Jump as it received support from the editor of the magazine. Nakazawa used no assistants as he believed that was the best way to best express his thoughts. Barefoot Gen is structured in a short story form as it was first published in the Weekly Jump. As it is a weekly magazine, comics often appear with a short story every week so the readers do not get bored of the series, but have an overall main plot that develops over a period of time, resulting in the structure Barefoot Gen has. This is a common format many comic that appear on weekly magazines follow, as it keeps the readers interested while developing the overall plot of the comic.