Ame ni mo Makezu
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Ame ni mo makezu (Be not Defeated by the Rain) is a famous poem written by Kenji Miyazawa, a poet from the northern prefecture of Iwate in Japan who lived from 1896 to 1933. The poem was found posthumously in a small black notebook in one of the poet's trunks.
The text of the poem is given below in Japanese, as a transliteration using romaji, and in translation. While this version includes some kanji, the poem was originally written in Katakana (see style).
|Original||Modern orthography||Transliteration||English translation|
ame ni mo makezu
Unbeaten by the rain
Miyazawa chose to write the poem using katakana. This could seem to be stylistically odd from a modern perspective, as katakana is nowadays (usually) only used in Japanese writing to denote foreign words. However, at the time, katakana rather than hiragana was the preferred syllabary. The limited use of kanji might be viewed as a move to make his poem more accessible to the rural folk of northern Japan with whom he spent his life, or perhaps as similar to American poet E. E. Cummings's style in using primarily lower case.
- It is important to note that cold summers in Japan mean a poorer harvest, hence the line "when the summer is cold, wandering upset."
- The transliteration above is not direct, and uses a modern romaji rendering. Miyazawa wrote in the orthography common to his time, where コハガラナクテ (kohagaranakute) would today be rendered as コワガラナクテ (kowagaranakute), イヒ (ihi) as イイ (ii), and サウ (sau) as ソウ (sou).
- "hidori" in "hidori no toki ha namida wo nagashi" is generally taken as a simple typo, as Miyazawa made similar typos in his other works. But since hidori means the daily wages of day laborers in the dialect of Hanamaki, some people believe the true meaning of this verse is that Miyazawa cries out of sympathy with the poor farmers who have to work as day laborers.
- "Silenced by gaman". The Economist. April 20, 2011. Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
The best-known poem by the region’s most beloved poet, Kenji Miyazawa (born in 1896), starts “Be not defeated by the rain”. It extols the virtues of enduring harsh conditions with good grace.
- "Can poetry in translation ever be as poetic in its new language?". The Japanese Times Online. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Hart, Larrabee (August 15, 2012). "Kenji Miyazawa's Poem "Ame ni mo makezu"--Interview with TOMO Translators David Sulz and Hart Larrabee". Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
- 宮沢賢治学会イーハトーブセンター (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Be not Defeated by the Rain, a translation by David Sulz
- Unperturbed by the Rain, a translation by Steven P. Venti
- Standing Up to the Rain, a translation from Ogura, Toyofumi (1948). Letters from the End of the World. Kodansha International Ltd. ISBN 4-7700-2776-1. OCLC 22226393.
- Someone who is unfazed by the rain, a translation by Michael Brase