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June 2018

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Shinko Fushimi

Shinko Fushimi is a professor of the AikokuGakuen University in Japan.
Her research interests include the comparative study of translation, especially of waka (tanka) poems in The Tale of Genji; modern Japanese literature in the light of modern Western critical theories; and Jane Austen.

She is a member of the English Literary Society of Japan, the Jane Austen Society in the UK, the Institute for the Synergy of Arts and Sciences, and the United Poets Laureate International.

She received the Academic Award of the Institute for the Synergy of Arts and Sciences in 2009 for her comparative study of English translations of The Tale of Genji.

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Hope comes first,

And remains last.

In between we stay,

Dreaming away.

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In spring,

The Seto Inland Sea is abundle of athousand golden threads.

The scattered islands look black in the sleepy afternoon.

The threadsare gathering in the west and the evening dyes them sapphire.

In summer,

Even if any storm or typhoon hits the outer seas,

It bows and gently touches the island Awaji in Seto, the cradle of Japanese myth,

Where a God and Goddess gave birth to the ancestral gods of Nature.

In autumn,

The brother and sister gods who spread all over theJapan islands

Reunite once a year at the grand shrine Izumo, to the north of Seto.

All the other shrines are empty in the golden month October.

In winter,

White rice, rice wine and salt are prepared by the priests in white clothes

To welcome and celebrate the grand sister Sun rising up on each New Year’s Day.

We hail the coming year the moment the Japan islands are lit up by her.

  * The Seto Inland Sea has straits both at west and east side and has many islands in it

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I moved to another seat on the train.

The scent of my parents in the 1960’s came

From an old man and wife in front.

――Pomade and mothballs for her best kimonos.


Behind them I became a little girl with a hat.

It was the morning after the rain

When the cherry blossoms were in bloom

Along the railroad.

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Shining silver, an old cherry tree looks gorgeous at night.

Thousands of blossoms are flowing on into the air.

The air is lit by the tree.

Its trunk is rotten and empty,

And the bark powers the blossoms.

Now it enjoys its days of spring.

The older the tree gets, the more proudly it blooms.

The young trees are waiting fortheir time of maturity.

The silver beauty we admire.

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The treetops are shining and awaiting each rice transplanting.

Each moon on the watered rice field is gracefully waiting for the morning,

Morning makes each field a mirror* of the sun.

*Mirror is one of the sacred treasures in Shinto and sometimes symbolizes the god’s spirit.

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The Noh chant echoes through the Japanese cedar grove.

Higurashi cicadas respond inpathetic voices

Here, …and there.

Dusk is falling onto the Noh stage.

Torches flare up in a hint of wind

Here, …and there.

The play goes slowly, and time passes along.

There’s something dense in the woods, and moves

Here, …and there.

※ All these poems above were

first published in

For a Beautiful Planet :

Voices from Contemporary Sixteen Poets of Japan; 2009

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