Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima is the first comic in the Barefoot Gen series. It was succeeded by The Day After. It is in black-and-white, as all the others are.


The story begins with Daikichi criticizing the war. Then Akira Nakaoka leaves Hiroshima for countryside evacuation. Later, Daikichi attends a spear drill, and when he returns, he finds Gen and Shinji fighting over a sweet potato. He beats them for doing so. As Kimie try to make clogs to earn money to feed their children, they are stoned by the Samejimas. They push the clogs into a river, and they fight afterwords. Then the thought police arrested Papa, and then Gen and Shinji spotted the neighborhood chairman and fought back with them because of the stones. Then the scene switches over to Gen and his class, where Gen is punished for writing down his opinions and later, Eiko, his elder sister, is accused of stealing money from the classroom. She attempts to protest, and so does Gen. Soon after, Daikichi returns from the jail. Mr. Pak, a generous Korean in their neighborhood, gives them a bowl of rice to celebrate. All the family members give Papa their share of rice. The next day, Mama wakes Eiko up to find her crying, with Eiko declaring she doesn't want to go to school. Papa visits the school to see what happened to Eiko, and discovered Ryukichi had snitched on her. Daikichi and the teacher punish him. Later, Gen and Eiko have a race to their wheat field only to find it wrecked. Then they see and hear Koji and Mama fighting. Papa want to see what's going on, so he talks to him. Koji says he'll join the Navy and then Daikichi talks to Koji about his cousin, Gokichi, who kept suffering day after day on end. Koji had joined anyways, which upset his parents. But, at the last minute as the train was departing, Daikichi forgave and encouraged him. Then, halfway through the book, the scene switched over to the industrial A-bomb dome. After a command from the MP, the entire family stepped on their enemy "devils". Later, in Hiroshima, they find Akira had come back from the countryside. After a promise to his parents to be a good, honest boy, he wasn't mentioned since. The scene switches to Koji, who is looking for the way to the Navy. A drunk Lieutenant Kumai tries to stop him, but unsuccessfully.