WKD - Miyazawa Kenji



atsusa ni mo
makezu henro no
michi nagaki

not even yielding
to the great heat ...
pilgrim on the road

Today I visited a temple in Yamaguchi ... online of course ...

. . . 龍蔵寺 . . . Ryuzo-Ji

My daily duty walk along our rural memorial pilgrimage of Shikoku was really HOT, 36 degrees in the shadow ... atsusa ni mo makezu ... kept ringing in my mind all the way ... :o)


source : Tomikichiro Tokuriki 1902-1999

Miyazawa Kenji wrote this famous poem ...

ame ni mo makezu

ame ni mo makezu
kaze ni mo makezu
yuki ni mo natsu no atsusa ni mo makenu

jōbu na karada wo mochi
yoku wa naku
kesshite ikarazu
itsu mo shizuka ni waratte iru
ichi nichi ni genmai yon gō to
miso to sukoshi no yasai wo tabe
arayuru koto wo
jibun wo kanjō ni irezu ni
yoku mikiki shi wakari
soshite wasurezu
nohara no matsu no hayashi no kage no
chiisa na kayabuki no koya ni ite
higashi ni byōki no kodomo areba
itte kanbyō shite yari
nishi ni tsukareta haha areba
itte sono ine no taba wo oi
minami ni shinisō na hito areba
itte kowagaranakute mo ii to ii
kita ni kenka ya soshō ga areba
tsumaranai kara yamero to ii
hidori no toki wa namida wo nagashi
samusa no natsu wa oro-oro aruki

minna ni deku-no-bō to yobare
homerare mo sezu
ku ni mo sarezu
sō iu mono ni
watashi wa naritai

not losing to the rain
not losing to the wind
not losing to the snow or to the heat of the summer
with a strong body
unfettered by desire
never losing temper
cultivating a quiet joy
every day four bowls of brown rice
miso and some vegetables to eat
in everything
count yourself last and put others before you
watching and listening, and understanding
and never forgetting
in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields
being in a little thatched hut
if there is a sick child to the east
going and nursing over them
if there is a tired mother to the west
going and shouldering her sheaf of rice
if there is someone near death to the south
going and saying there's no need to be afraid
if there is a quarrel or a suit to the north
telling them to leave off with such waste
when there's drought, shedding tears of sympathy
when the summer's cold, walk in concern and empathy
called a blockhead by everyone
without being praised
without being blamed
such a person
I want to become

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

kokeshi with this poem


Bending neither to the rain
Nor to the wind
Nor to snow nor to summer heat,
Firm in body, yet
Geoffrey Bownas and Anthony Thwaite,
The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse, 1964

Neither rain
nor wind
nor snow nor summer’s heat
will affect his robust body. . . .
Makoto Ueda,
Modern Japanese Writers and the Nature of Literature, 1982

Undaunted by the rain,
Undaunted by the wind,
Undaunted by the snow or the summer heat,
With a strong body

Donald Keene,
Dawn to the West, 1984

Strong in the rain
Strong in the wind
Strong against the summer heat and snow
He is healthy and robust

Roger Pulvers,
Kenji Miyazawa: Poems, 1997

source :  japanfocus.org


CLICK for more photos

Kenji Miyazawa 宮沢 賢治, Miyazawa Kenji

27 August 1896 - 21 September 1933,
Hanamaki, Iwate, Japan
was a poet and author of children's literature in early Shōwa period Japan. He was also known as a devout Buddhist, vegetarian and social activist.

Miyazawa was born in what is now Hanamaki city, Iwate Prefecture as the eldest son of a wealthy pawnbroker. From an early age, he was disturbed by what he perceived to be the social inequity between his well-to-do family, who lived by lending money to the impoverished farmers in the area. In 1918, he graduated from Morioka Agriculture and Forestry College. He was a bright student, so his academic advisor wanted him as an assistant professor. However, differences with his father over religion (he converted to the more activist Nichiren sect), and his repugnance for the family pawnshop business (he yielded his inheritance to his younger brother), created much unhappiness in his early life, and in 1921, he departed Hanamaki for Tokyo.

In Tokyo, while staying with a friend, he was introduced to the works of poet Sakutarō Hagiwara, and was encouraged to start writing. After eight months in Tokyo, during which time he began to write children's stories, he returned to Hanamaki due to the illness and subsequent death of his younger sister.

He found employment as a teacher in agricultural science at Hanamaki Agricultural High School (花巻農学校). Saving his meagre salary, he was able to finance the publication of his first collection of children's stories and fairy tales (Chūmon no Ōi Ryōriten - 注文の多い料理店 - The Restaurant of Many Orders) and a portion of a collection of free-verse poems (Haru to Shura - 春と修羅 - Spring and Asura) in 1924. Although neither work was a commercial success, his writings came to the attention of poets Kotaro Takamura and Shimpei Kusano, who admired his writing greatly and introduced it to the literary world.


Miyazawa's works were influenced by contemporary trends of romanticism and the proletarian literature movement, but above all were influenced by his devotion to the Lotus Sutra in particular.
Miyazawa struggled with pleurisy for many years, and was often incapacitated for months at a time. He died in 1933 of pneumonia.

It may also be noted that Miyazawa had at least a passing interest in Esperanto. He loved his native province, and Ihatov (or Ihatovo), the name of the fictional location that appeared in his works, was constructed from the name Iwate (Ihate in the older spelling) in a manner similar to Esperanto.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Gingatetsudō no Yoru
Night on the Galactic Railroad

1996 marked the 100th anniversary year of the birth of Kenji Miyazawa.

Miyazawa's mix of East and West begins with the names of the two young characters of the story: Jovanni (Giovanni) and Kanpanera (Campanella). The story takes place during the imaginary "Centaurus" Festival, a time when lanterns are lit to show deceased ancestors the way home. This imaginary festival occurs in August, and in the story, Miyazawa images children running and scampering, yelling that Centaurus is "dropping dew" [no doubt, a somewhat misplaced reference to the Perseids].

The Milky Way Train: Celebrating Kenji Miyazawa
By: Steve Renshaw and Saori Ihara, 1999


Miyazawa Kenji wrote a famous book about a bear hunter

なめとこ山の熊 Nametoko yama no kuma
The bears of Nametoko Mountain

It's interesting, that business of the bears on Mt. Nametoko. Nametoko is a large mountain, and the Fuchizawa River starts somewhere inside it. On most days of the year, the mountain breathes in and breathes out cold mists and clouds. The peaks all around it, too, are like blackish green slugs or bald sea goblins..........

Read more here:
WKD : Bears as Kigo


otoshibumi atena wa Kaze no Matasaburoo

a lost letter -
the address is
Kaze no Matasaburo

Satoo Hirokazu 佐藤博一

This needs some explanation.
otoshibumi is the name of the leaf-cut weevil. The pun in Japanese does not go well if I use the name of the animal for the first line.

Kaze no Matasaburô - A Wind Boy
Miyazawa's collection of stories for children, published after his death in 1933, Kaze no Matasaburô contains six stories. This book is in fine binding with illustrations by Koana Ryûichi, and an introduction by Tsubota Jôji, who had already established his position in the world of children's literature. This book was recommended by the Ministry of Education and well read. With Kaze no Matasaburô, Miyazawa became famous as an author for children.

"Kaze no Matasaburô" is about a strange boy named Takada Saburô. On a windy day, he appears in an elementary school at a mountainside. He says he has come from Hokkaido with his father. His new classmates think he might be Matasaburô, a wind boy. He spent twelve days there, studying and playing with the village children. As wind blows when he does something, the boys come to believe he is really Matasaburô. Then, on a windy day, he is gone. Although it is an unfinished work, it is regarded as the best work of Miyazawa, as well as one of the masterpieces in the history of Japanese children's literature. It is widely read today.

Kaze no Matasaburô was dramatized by Gekidan Tôdô, and made into a movie in 1940. The song at the beginning of this story became very popular. A reprint of the original edition was published by Holp Shuppan in 1971.
source : www.iiclo.or.jp


. Hagiwara Sakutaro 萩原朔太郎 .

I wrote the above haiku whilst researching for this

Shikoku Fudo Pilgrimage

Shikoku Henro Pilgrimage to 88 Temples

. . . Read my Haiku Archives


- #miyazawakenji -


Anonymous said...

This is a great ku in all its aspect. lovely

Anonymous said...

I like this, Gabi - you show me the pilgrim, help me feel the heat and the dust!

But shame on you! I imagined this pilgrim was you trudging along the track in your jinbei and sandals, paper sunshade held aloft: then I find that you sat at your computer, a cold drink at hand.


Anonymous said...

Ah, well presented Gabi.
It makes me feel very happy to be here with a cold drink in my hand as well.

Anonymous said...

So, channeling Gabi . . .

my pilgrimage
to a distant temple . . .


Anonymous said...

Wonderful quoted poem, Gabi -
he is describing a good Budhist!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these, Gabi...
it's hot here, too! But thankfully only the low 30's...

Anonymous said...

always wonderful to walk the haiku road with your perspective Gabi ...

Anonymous said...

Japan Times

Can poetry in translation ever be as poetic in its new language?


A friend who was visiting recently from Germany posed me a difficult question: How can poetry be translated?

I have often read that poetry is untranslatable, that "nothing is lost in translation except the poetry." Yet, if this were true, we would hardly be able to read, let alone appreciate, poets writing in other languages than our own.

In fact, great poetry really is translatable.

The Russian poet and novelist Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) put his finger on the difficulty of the task when he wrote that reliable translators get the literal meaning right, but may miss the tone; and he added that in poetry, tone is everything.

What Pasternak meant by this, I believe, is that textual correctness — the literal meaning of the original — is a prerequisite of a good translation, but not the deciding factor in the art. It is akin to actors getting their lines down. Memorizing lines alone does not make for a good performance.

Fine, but then what is meant by "tone"?

Another Nobel Prize winner like Pasternak, Chinese-born Gao Xingjian (1940- ) writes . . . "If the language of a written work lacks vitality, then however often lines of poetry are pulled apart and put together . . . it cannot salvage the language."

Is tone, then, this "vitality"? Is it "musicality," a quality that Gao strives to achieve in his own writing?

Perhaps the answer to this — and the key to capturing a poem's messages and signals in translation — lies in the word "voice." This would be my answer to my friend's question: that a poem has to speak to readers in the translated language with the same voice it does to readers of the original.

The translated poem has to come naturally out of the voice of the translator in the new language. In other words, no matter how "faithful" it is to the text and the spirit of the original, it has to be a poem in its own right.

But this may be begging the question, which is the "how" of it. How do you get a new poem that sounds and feels like the original and stands independently as a poem at the same time?

In translating from languages that are linguistically unrelated, such as Japanese and English, the key to the "how" lies in the word "re-creation." You don't just translate the words. You absorb the poem and assimilate it in a process that can only be described as "organic." Then, to mix the metaphor, you drag it through a wormhole into another universe, one controlled by the laws of your own language. Actually, this is the wrenching and harrowing process one must follow even when translating from and into two related languages; although in the case of unrelated ones, a few more dimensions must be skipped through in order to get to the destination.

Let's take that most famous poem, "Ame ni mo makezu" by Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933), which is known to virtually all Japanese. Makezu is a negative form of the verb makeru, which means here "to give in to, to yield to." A literal translation of this line might be . . . "Not giving in to the rain" . . . or . . . "Unyielding to the rain."

These, of course, are perfectly correct. Miyazawa is expressing his desire not to let the rain get to him, not to let it conquer him. He must continue on, to sacrifice himself for the good of other people. (This poem is a prayerful wish, portraying the kind of person that he strove to be.) The poem repeats negative forms of makeru, to urge this person not to give in to the wind or the summer heat or the snow.

Translators ask themselves what seems like the simplest question: What is the poem trying to say?

In this case, Miyazawa, who did not have a robust constitution, is wishing for the strength to carry out his charitable duties, as he sees them. In some cases, translators should familiarize themselves exhaustively with the circumstances surrounding the poet's life; and in Miyazawa's case, this is essential. What was life like a century ago in the small town of Hanamaki in Iwate Prefecture, where he was born and made his life? Why was he so intent on persevering to help the poor farmers of the district, despite the personal hardships?

The voice of the translation of this poem has to have the musicality, the rhythm, the tone and the quality of a prayer. To use another word often associated with translations of poems, it has to have the "flow" of a sustained, quiet wish.

I chose in my translation of this poem, published in a collection of Miyazawa's poetry by the British publisher Bloodaxe Books, to reverse the negative of the opening lines into a statement of positive will. A faithful translation between Japanese and English, either way, should often do this. Watashi wa zettai ni makenai! may be literally rendered as "I absolutely won't give in!" But, in some instances, this is closer in tone and voice to "I'm definitely going to get through it!" The wormhole of re-creation turns a negative force into a positive one, and the resulting language has a quality that mirrors the language in the realm of the original.

So, I took the first three "I won't give in to" lines and made them into this . . .

Strong in the rain Strong in the wind Strong against the summer heat and snow

Distancing yourself from the syntax of the original may be the way to get closest to that original.

I am in no way claiming that this is the only valid translation of these lines. Far from it. I am only saying that translators have to remake the poem in the qualities, both concrete and abstract, of their own language.

In this particular poem, the first words of the first three lines are ame (rain), kaze (wind) and yuki (snow). These words create an image of Miyazawa's Iwate. Due to the differing word order of English, it is hardly possible to start the lines with these words; yet the voice of this poem requires that there be an emphatic rhythm from the outset. Beginning with a negative of a verb, to my mind, sends this poem off on a tangential journey.

Poems can still exist as poems in translation, if the translators are deeply inspired by the original and have assimilated it sufficiently to re-create it in their own language. The "how" requires a thorough knowledge of the original's context, as well as technical creative skills in the translator's own language.

When it works, a poet's messages resound in a new universe, and we recognize that we share our sentiments — our very humanity — with people who have lived a world away from us.

The Japan Times
(C) All rights reserved

- news said...

quote Japan Times -

Pulvers wins Noma translation prize

Roger Pulvers, a noted writer and veteran contributor to The Japan Times, has won the 19th Noma Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature, major publishing house Kodansha Ltd. said.

Pulvers, a U.S.-born longtime resident of Japan who now lives in Sydney, was recognized for his translation of “Strong in the Rain: Selected Poems,” a selection of poems by Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933).

The 128-page book, the first selection of Miyazawa’s poetry to be published in Britain, was released by Bloodaxe Books in 2007.

The award, which is given every two years and comes with a $10,000 prize and a business-class round trip ticket to Japan, was created in 1989 to help introduce Japanese literature abroad and promote international understanding, according to Kodansha. It is the first time since 2003 that an English-language work has been selected.

“For me it is a totally unexpected honor, and I think of it as all due to the power of Kenji’s spectacular poetry,” said Pulvers, who contributed the weekly Counterpoint column to this newspaper for eight years until the end of March.
“And I often spoke of Kenji’s poetry and world view.”


Gabi Greve said...

原体剣舞連 - "Haratai Kenbairen"
Miyazawa Kenji in 1922


Himemachi Fudo 姫待不動尊

Nr. 23 達谷西光寺 - 姫待不動尊 Himemachi Fuko
Seikooji 達谷西光寺 Takkoku Seijo-Ji

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