ideas are strange
Just reading the textbooks and the online sources didn’t really serve to portray how indoctrinated many of the Japanese people were. In the manga however it is scary how clueless and brainwashed some of the characters shown appear to be. We are shown these ideas through the eyes of the main characters who often comment on how foolish others can be. The fact that death is considered honorable, that parents want their children to die is one of the most terrifying things I had ever heard. Add in to this the fact that it was a common felling shared by a great number of people in the country and one can begin to understand why there would have been young soldiers willing to die. If their parents and their country are all raising them for the slaughter and they are taught that they are most useful if they die then many young people would have felt like they had no reason to live. This explains the instance where one of the boys in training chooses to hang himself rather than continue to go through the pain of training especially when he knows that he will more than likely die either way. It is these very personal moments that get across the sense of how much of themselves people had to give up for the war. They had to give up morals and even the love of their children in order to support the war and avoid being cast as a traitor.
Nakazawa, Keiji. Barefoot Gen. San Francisco, CA: Last Gasp of San Francisco, 2008.