Monday, November 16, 2009


While searching online for a block print image by Hiroshige, I ran into a poem by Miyazawa Kenji, a Japanese geologist turned poet and activist, who lived until 37 years of age in the early 1900s.

Ame ni mo Makezu (Be not Defeated by the Rain)
Written by Kenji Miyazawa
Translated by David Sulz

Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.

Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy.
Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you.
Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.

A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove's shade.

A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.

If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health.
If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden.
If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear.
If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues:
Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.

In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.

Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a "Great Man".

This is my goal, the person I strive to become.

Miyazawa is known for his novel, Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru (Night on the Galactic Railroad), which was made into an anime of the same name where the main characters are played by cats.

Older anime and manga fans may recall "Galaxy Express 999" by Matsumoto Reiji (Leiji), which was inspired by Miyazawa's novel. Matsumoto is also well known for his involvement in Uchu Senkan Yamato (Space Battleship Yamato, also known as Star Blazers).

As for the block print, I didn't find it.

- Cassaendra

0 deep thoughts:

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