Apr 9, 2011
To the People of Hong Kong - Arigato, 謝謝!
Song created from the poem "Ame ni mo makezu" by Kenji Miyazawa
(a famous Japanese poet from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture)
Be not Defeated by the Rain
by Kenji Miyazawa
English Translation 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.
Background to Ame ni mo makezu
After Miyazawa Kenji's death, a single, black notebook was found in a pocket in the lid of his favourite trunk. This is the famous "Ame ni mo makezu" notebook. The poem is written in midst of his repetitious copying of "namu myoho renge kyo"(*) which shows his earnest nature and his reflections on letting go of the desire for pleasure.
The 11-3 at the beginning of the poem refers to the date, November 3rd, Showa 6 (1931).
At that time, Kenji was lying sick in bed but his handwriting is not what one would expect from a sick person; it is big, bold, and there are nine pages written on both the back and front.
When this "Ame ni mo makezu" was written, we can assume that Kenji probably had a hunch that he was going to die. With such thoughts lingering in his mind, his earnest wish in the last line - "the person I strive to become" - can only strike at our hearts with a deep resonance.
In his later years, he formed the "Rasu Farmers' Association" in order to live in closer harmony with the agriculturists he so admired. In Showa 11 (1936) a stone monument was erected with the opening line - "In the shade of pine-tree grove in the middle of a field …" Even now, many people visit this site.
(The Miyazawa Kenji Memorial Society Foundation)
(Information from the site "The World of Kenji Miyazawa")
Japanese actor Ken Watanabe's recitation of the original poem: