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Kiyoko Nagase Poem

Kiyoko Nagase Poem

By David Yamaguchi & Hikari Kono
The North American Post

A scene from the film Ichi 2008 It tells a fictional tale of goze blind wandering minstrels of Old Japan Photo YouTube trailer screenshot

The Kiyoko Nagase poem that inspired Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Snowfalls” (2017) is superb. It reads, in part:

降りつむ 永瀬清子

Kanashimi no kuni ni
yuki ga furitsumu
Kanashimi o kate to shite ikiyo to
yuki ga furitsumu
Ushinai tsukushita mono no ue ni
yuki ga furitsumu
Sono sanga no ue ni
Sono usuki shatsu no ue ni
Sono minashigo no
midaritari touhatsu no ue ni…

The translation by Empress Michiko reads,
Snow Falls
Snow falls,
On this country of sorrow
Snow falls,
As though to say
Fie on your sorrow
Snow falls,
On loss and devastation
On mountains and rivers
On people with shabby clothes
On orphans with disheveled hair…

The entire premiere performance of “Snowfalls” (5 min, 8 sec.) is here:



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David Yamaguchi is a third-generation Japanese American [Sansei]. He has written for the Post since 2006, at first as a volunteer, later as a paid freelancer. He joined the paper's staff in May 2020, when he began learning how articles flow from Word files through layout to social media.