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Thank You, Aaron.

January 5, 2010

This poem gave me strength today.

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Ame ni mo Makezu

by Kenji Miyazawa

Japanese

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雨ニモマケズ
風ニモマケズ
雪ニモ夏ノ暑サニモマケヌ
丈夫ナカラダヲモチ
慾ハナク
決シテ瞋ラズ
イツモシヅカニワラッテイル
一日ニ玄米四合ト
味噌ト少シノ野菜ヲタベ
アラユルコトヲ
ジブンヲカンジョウニ入レズニ
ヨクミキキシワカリ
ソシテワスレズ
野原ノ松ノ林ノ蔭ノ
小サナ萱ブキノ小屋ニイテ
東ニ病気ノ子供アレバ
行ツテ看病シテヤリ
西ニツカレタ母アレバ
行ツテソノ稲ノ束ヲ負ヒ
南ニ死ニソウナ人アレバ
行ツテコワガラナクテモイイトイイ
北ニケンカヤソショウガアレバ
ツマラナイカラヤメロトイイ
ヒデリノトキハナミダヲナガシ
サムサノナツハオロオロアルキ
ミンナニデクノボウトヨバレ
ホメラレモセズ
クニモサレズ
ソウイウモノニ
ワタシハナリタイ

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Transliteration

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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
hideri 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

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Translation

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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

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(ps: I’m not tryin to front — I can’t read Japanese characters or transliterations.  Just including them for those of you who can. :) )

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Momin permalink
    January 5, 2010 3:19 pm

    Err… the Japanese text is totally inaccurate. It’s all katakana (the blocky characters that are usually reserved for transliterations of imported words) when it should be in hiragana. The kanji (the Chinese characters) are similarly all over the place, even replacing hiragana particles! For example, particle “ni” (に) which means “in/to” is transcribed as the Chinese character “two” (二), which is phonetically equivalent (also pronounced “ni”) but not functionally equivalent. It’s very much like confusing “two” and “to” in English. I’d suspect the text was run through some phonetic transliterator. Probably better to just leave the Japanese text out.

  2. Momin permalink
    January 5, 2010 4:24 pm

    Hey, I decided this would be a neat exercise to try out my Japanese that I haven’t touched for probably three-four years now. I couldn’t have translated this from Japanese, but with the transliteration and translation and a Japanese dictionary, here’s what I got:

    雨にも負けず
    風にも負けず
    雪にも夏の暑さにも負けぬ
    丈夫な体を持ち
    欲は無く
    決して怒らず
    何時も静かに笑っている
    一日に玄米四ごうと
    味噌と少しの野菜を食べ
    有らゆる事を
    自分を勘定に入れずに
    良く見聞きし分かり
    そして忘れず
    野原の松の林の影の
    小さいな茅葺きの小屋にいて
    東に病気の子供あれば
    行って看病してやり
    西に疲れた母あれば
    行ってその稲の束を負い
    南に死にそうな人あれば
    行って怖がらなくても良いよ良い
    北に喧嘩や訴訟があれば
    詰まらないから辞めろと良い
    日照りの時は涙を流し
    冷ますの夏はおろおろ歩き
    皆に木偶の坊と呼ばれ
    褒められもせず
    くにもされず
    そう言う者に
    私は成りたい

    I’m sure I’ve made a few mistakes, but there are a few things I know I’m not sure about:

    一日に玄米四ごうと/ichi nichi ni genmai yon gō to/every day four bowls of brown rice
    I’m pretty sure the “gō” is a counter, but I can’t figure out the Kanji (counters are probably the most irregular thing about the Japanese language, there is like a different counter for just about every type of object).

    くにもされず/ku ni mo sarezu/without being blamed
    Can’t figure out the Kanji of this one at all.

  3. Momin permalink
    January 5, 2010 4:31 pm

    Oh! I just realized, the katakana might be the result of italicization. As in, I don’t think it’s a native technique to italicize Japanese fonts, so maybe one way of giving text emphasis is given by writing in katakana instead of hiragana or kanji. That could explain some of it, but there were still a lot of blatant mistakes.

  4. Momin permalink
    January 5, 2010 4:39 pm

    Wait, I take that back too. I was reading katakana ニ as Kanji 二, so the particle stuff wasn’t a mistake after all. In particular, after looking closer, the particle をis correctly rendered in katakana as ヲ, which is an obscure character as particles are seldom ever rendered in katakana: normally individual words, not grammatical structures, are written in katakana, so if ヲpops up it definitely means that entire sentences are being rendered in katakana. I think it is accurate, after all, just something I had never seen before (katakana used like italics). Oh well.

  5. January 5, 2010 6:06 pm

    Oh man, Momin. You are awesome and impressive. It makes me so happy that you took on the revision. And then kept looking at/thinking about it. I don’t know, it just feels like a fun, nerdy moment of solidarity, even though the specifics of what you’re saying are over my head. :)

    But lesson learned on my part: double-check the sources for languages I don’t know. Especially for text on Wikipedia. ;)

  6. Momin permalink
    January 5, 2010 9:24 pm

    How typically academic, right. I Presume that I must be right and the other source wrong, spend an inordinate amount of time developing my point, only to realize I was wrong all along and that I should have just trusted the other source. Oh! And the most academic thing of all: totally ignore the content of the poem in focusing on formalisms of language and alphabetics. But at least I figure something out and ended up teaching myself something.

    Don’t worry about double-checking. You gave a fair disclaimer, and I think trusting text on Wikipedia is a safe enough bet. It is, at least, empirically more reliable than I am.

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