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1927 poem by recently rediscovered Japanese children's poetess Kaneko Misuzu. As with many of her works, this one deals with transcendant subject matter through the use of simple, innocent, childlike prose.

In translation:

I want to love,
anything, no matter what, everything.

Even green onions, even tomatos, even fish,
without exception I want to love them.

My family's meals, everything,
these are things my mother made.

I want to love,
anyone, even him, everyone.

Even doctors, even ravens,
without exception I want to love them.

People of the world, everyone,
these are things God made.


In the original Japanese:

みんなをすきに


   わたしはすきになりたいな,
何でもかんでもみいんな.

   ねぎも, トマトも, おさかなも,
のこらずすきになりたいな.

   うちのおかずは, みいんな,
かあさまがおつくりなったもの.

   わたしはすきになりたいな,
だれでもかれでもみいんな.

   お医者さんでも, からすでも,
のこらずすきになりたいな

   世界のものはみィんな,
神さまがおつくりなったもの.


   -   金子みすゞ

And in romaji, for those of you who can't read Japanese but would like a sense of the rhyme and vocal flow:
Minna o Suki Ni

Watashi wa suki ni naritai na,
nan de mo kan de mo miinna.

Negi mo, tomato mo, osakana mo,
nokorazu suki ni naritai na.

Uchi no okazu wa, miinna,
kaasama ga otsukurinatta mono.

Watashi wa suki ni naritai na,
dare de mo kare de mo miinna.

Oishasan de mo, karasu de mo,
nokorazu suki ni naritai na.

Sekai no mono wa miinna,
kamisama ga otsukurinatta mono.


As mentioned, Kaneko originally composed poems and songs for children, although her "discovery" in recent years has gained her a following as strong, if not stronger, among Japanese adults, and is reputed for her childlike sensibility. Her use here of healthy foods and doctors as examples of the unpleasant things that she will nonetheless try to embrace certainly seems to parallel a child's outlook, as does her mention of her mother as the maker of her food and the manner in which she goes on to compare her to God. Likewise, the addition of "na" to "suki ni naritai" (a literal translation of which would come out something like "I want to come to love") and the duplication of the "i" in "minna", both for emphasis, creates a casual, youthful sound. Even the orthography is childlike, almost entirely in hiragana with only a few basic kanji.

That said, with a knowledge of the conditions surrounding this poem's creation, it is possible to read a darker meaning into it. In line 8, Kaneko notes that she wants to love kare de mo, "even him". While it can be appreciated simply for creating emphasis through rhyme with dare de mo, "anyone" (as with the more nonsensical kan de mo rhyming with nan de mo, "anything" in line 2), it is not unfeasible to interpret this line as a reference to her husband, a bitter, controlling, womanizing man her father hastily arranged for her to marry, a year before the composition of this poem, in an attempt to put an end her romance with a man who, unbeknownst to either of them, was actually her half-brother. Viewed in this light, the poem might be seen as a wish that she might come to accept, or even love, her husband. As for the success of that plea, it should be noted that he is widely considered responsible for her suicide at the age of 26, three years after this poem was written.


Copyright notes: the original poem passed into public domain in 1980, in accordance with Japanese copyright duration of 50 years post-mortem. The English version is my translation, do whatever you want with it.

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