Miyazawa Kenji, Strong in the Rain


(Image: Bricks with ceramic fragments, Arita, Japan)

While interpreting for some visitors from the USA recently, Miyazawa Kenji’s poem 「雨ニモマケズ」(Strong in the Rain) came up in conversation–as one would expect, they had never heard of it. The poem, which had already been a widely-known perennial favorite in Japan for decades, became almost ubiquitous in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.  As simple as the poem is, I decided I would just jot down my own translation. And, having already gone that far, I thought I would also upload said translation here.

Strong in the Rain by Miyazawa Kenji (November 3rd, 1931 [?] – published posthumously)

Strong in the rain
And in the wind
And in the snow and in the summer heat
Lacking desire
Never angry
Always smiling quietly
Eating only four cups of brown rice daily
With miso and some vegetables
Watching, hearing, and understanding carefully in all things
Without including oneself in the equation
And never forgetting
Tucked away in a small thatched hut
In the shade of a primordial pine forest
When a child falls sick to the east
Going to care for them
When a mother grows weary in the west
Going to shoulder her bundles of rice stalks in turn
When someone is dying in the south
Going to tell them that they have nothing to be afraid of
When there is a fight or a dispute in the north
Going to tell them to stop bickering because it’s foolish
Crying in times of drought
Walking falteringly in cold summers
Called simple by everyone
Never praised
Never worried over–
That is the kind of person
That I want to be


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