June 14, 2011
The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun's June 14 issue.
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Poet Masao Nakagiri (1919-83), who once worked as a political reporter at The Yomiuri Shimbun, wrote in his poem "Yaseta Kokoro" (Emaciated heart):
"So long as there are people dying in conflict or of hunger,
I'll never walk the path of literary art"
Unlike my literary forbear, I have never made a firm pledge not to write about the beauty of nature, or kachofugetsu (literally--flowers, birds, winds and the moon) until the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami was finally resolved.
Even so, I have hardly found a chance to admire the beauty of seasonal flowers in this column. Cherry blossoms bloomed and fell without my knowing. I also missed seeing the clusters of Japanese wisteria.
Blooming in white at first,
And turning to a pale green"
This is a haiku by Suiha Watanabe (1882-1946). Light green gives a particularly fresh impression as the color of the flowers changes. But I seem to have missed seeing this fresh green as well this year.
In Fukushima Prefecture, where the rainy season is approaching, there is concern about rain leaking into houses within the 20-kilometer no-entry zone around the troubled nuclear power plant. Roofs, which lost tiles in the huge tremor, were left unrepaired. If columns supporting the houses rot, residents may be unable to live in the houses even when they are allowed to return home.
There must be many people who do not have any relatives in disaster-hit areas but are still listening to weather reports for the Tohoku region with worry. There are times when we cannot give much attention to flowers around us.
How discouraging this early summer season may be for flowers that are blooming vigorously and beautifully. When people cry, flowers also cry.
(Jun. 20, 2011)