Definitions

losing temper

Ame ni mo Makezu

Ame ni mo makezu is a famous poem written by Kenji Miyazawa, a poet from the northern prefecture of Iwate in Japan. 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. This version includes some kanji; some versions use only katakana.


The Poem

Japanese Transliteration Translation
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ツテヰル
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
ジブンヲカンジヨウニ入レズニ
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ヰテ
東ニ病気ノ子供アレバ
行ツテ看病シテヤリ
西ニ疲レタ母アレバ
行ツテソノ稲ノ束ヲ負ヒ
南ニ死ニサウナ人アレバ
行ツテコハガラナクテモイヽトイヒ
北ニケンクワヤソシヨウガアレバ
ツマラナイカラヤメロトイヒ
ヒド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

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
hidori 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
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


Style

Miyazawa chose to write the poem using katakana. This is 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.

Notes

  • It's important to note that cold summers in Japan mean a poor rice harvest, hence the line "when the summer is cold wandering upset".
  • The transliteration above is direct, and reflects the orthographical conventions of Miyazawa's time. For instance, 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, because he made the same typos in his other works. But hidori means the daily wages of day laborers in the dialect of Hanamaki, so some people believe the true meaning of this verse is that Miyazawa cries for sympathy to the poor farmers who have to work by the day. ()

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