Introduction Haiku Poet

Tôgo Nagase “FUKUSHIMA”Kadokawa Haiku Award 2011

After receiving the Kadokawa Haiku Award, Nagase Togo responded to a newspaper interview as follows:

It was a great honor to win the award, however, I had mixed feelings due to the damage in Fukushima, caused by the natural disasters and nuclear power plant accident.

As I am a haiku poet, I would like to depict Fukushima’s situation after the March 2011 earthquake. At first, my mind was occupied by so much anger that I couldn’t create any good haiku. After a certain recovery period, I could appreciate the beauty of nature and encouraged myself to write haiku.

Like Hara Tamiki, the well-known writer who wrote about the tragedy of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima after WWII, I’d like to express the hardships and horrible conditions which Fukushima has to face.

Though my house was half-destroyed, I will overcome the difficulties and keep on writing haiku with the power of life and nature of Fukushima.

(Introduction by Masako Kakutani)

gekishin ya suisen ni tobu yanegaw

severe earthquake—
roof tiles flying
to the narcissus

buji desu to denwa tsunagaru yo no tsubaki

I'm alive, talking
on the reconnected phone…
night camellia

tsubame kite hito kieru machi hibakuchū

swallows arrive
and people disappear from the town
radiation exposure

shabondama mienu kyōfu o ko ni nokosuna

soap bubbles…
don’t pass on the invisible fear
to our children

hinanjo ni haru kuru kyatchbōru kana

spring comes
to a refugee camp…
playing catch

fūhyō no ichigo setsunaki amasa kana

rumors of contamination
the strawberry's
painful sweetness

(Haiku translation by Emiko Miyashita & Michael Dylan Welch)