Translating Japanese


I have only just noticed that the poet Hiroshi Yoshino had passed away in January this year. I got to know this poem at the end of last year and was so moved. Another poem by him, “I was born”, was in a primary school textbook and, although I could not understand it fully then, it was somehow stuck in my head.

For Nanako
– Hiroshi Yoshino

You are sleeping,
Your cheeks as red as apples.

The colour of your mother’s cheek
Has all got moved
Into your cheeks,
And her cheeks once shiny and bright
Have become rather pale.

For your father too,
There have been some bitter feelings.

It might sound out of blue,
But I am telling you
That I will not expect a lot from you.
Your father has come to know
Very clearly
How people can ruin themselves
Trying to meet others’ expectations.

What I want to give you
Is health
And the heart to love

If anybody stops to be herself
That is when she stops to love

When a person stops to love
He will stop to love others
And he will lose the world.

When there is self,
There are others
And there is the world.

For both your father and mother,
There have been more hardships;
But this hardship
Cannot be given to you

What I want to give you
Is sweet health
And the spirit that is hard to obtain
And hard to grow;
To love yourself.

( Translated by Paromita)

I wonder how the copyright issues come in for privately-translated materials. I could not find any printed translation of this poem into English but there was one electronic one, and the situation just makes me guess it would be okay.

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