Ame ni mo Makezu

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Ame ni mo makezu (Be not Defeated by the Rain)[1] is a famous poem written by Kenji Miyazawa,[2] 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.

Ame ni mo makezu poem in Miyazawa Kenji's pocket notebook

The poem[edit]

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[3]

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ヰル
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
小サナ萓ブキノ小屋ニヰテ
東ニ病氣ノコドモアレバ
行ッテ看病シテヤリ
西ニツカレタ母アレバ
行ッテソノ稻ノ朿ヲ負ヒ
南ニ死ニサウナ人アレバ
行ッテコハガラナクテモイヽトイヒ
北ニケンクヮヤソショウガアレバ
ツマラナイカラヤメロトイヒ
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
ミンナニデクノボートヨバレ
ホメラレモセズ
クニモサレズ
サウイフモノニ
ワタシハナリタイ

雨にもまけず
風にもまけず
雪にも夏の暑さにもまけぬ
丈夫なからだをもち
慾はなく
決して瞋らず
いつもしずかにわらっている
一日に玄米四合と
味噌と少しの野菜をたべ
あらゆることを
じぶんをかんじょうにいれずに
よくみききしわかり
そしてわすれず
野原の松の林の蔭の
小さな萱ぶきの小屋にいて
東に病気のこどもあれば
行って看病してやり
西につかれた母あれば
行ってその稲の束を負い
南に死にそうな人あれば
行ってこわがらなくてもいいといい
北にけんかやそしょうがあれば
つまらないからやめろといい
ひでりのときはなみだをながし
さむさのなつはおろおろあるき
みんなにでくのぼうとよばれ
ほめられもせず
くにもされず
そういうものに
わたしはなりたい

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

Unbeaten by the rain
Unbeaten by the wind
Bested by neither snow nor summer heat
Strong of body
Free of desire
Never angry
Always smiling quietly
Dining daily on four cups of brown rice
Some miso and a few vegetables
Observing all things
With dispassion
But remembering well
Living in a small, thatched-roof house
In the meadow beneath a canopy of pines
Going east to nurse the sick child
Going west to bear sheaves of rice for the weary mother
Going south to tell the dying man there is no cause for fear
Going north to tell those who fight to put aside their trifles
Shedding tears in time of drought
Wandering at a loss during the cold summer
Called useless by all
Neither praised
Nor a bother
Such is the person
I wish to be

Style[edit]

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,[citation needed] or perhaps as similar to American poet E. E. Cummings's style in using primarily lower case.[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  • 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 コガラナクテ (kohagaranakute) would today be rendered as コガラナクテ (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,[citation needed] 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.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "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.
  2. ^ "Can poetry in translation ever be as poetic in its new language?". The Japanese Times Online. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.

External links[edit]