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Japanese artists & anti-nuke poetry

May 5, 2016


Yoshinaga, Sakamoto hold anti-nuke poetry event in Canada





Japanese artists & anti-nuke poetry

VANCOUVER--With a piano accompaniment by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, actress Sayuri Yoshinaga recited poems written by survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings and people affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster here on May 3.

About 200 people attended the event, titled “The Second Movement in Canada,” held at the University of British Columbia.

Yoshinaga, who hopes to “hand down the plight of victims not in a loud voice but in a soft tone,” read Sankichi Toge’s “Ningen wo Kaese” (Give Back the People) from “Genbaku Shishu” (Poems of the Atomic Bomb) in Japanese and English, as well as Sadako Kurihara’s “Umashimenkana” (We Shall Bring Forth New Life) in English.

Toge and Kurihara both suffered in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and they were highly acclaimed for their poems about the catastrophe.

The veteran actress also read, in Japanese, poems about the Fukushima nuclear disaster written by Ryoichi Wago and Shigeko Sato, both of whom are from Fukushima Prefecture and were affected by the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

One other work read at the May 3 event was “Furitsumu” (Falling down) by celebrated poet Kiyoko Nagase, whose admirers include Empress Michiko. The empress herself has translated “Furitsumu” into English.

It was the second time for Yoshinaga and Sakamoto to hold a poetry reading event overseas. The previous one took place at Oxford University in Britain in 2011.

“I relate to her strong belief that humans and nuclear weapons cannot coexist,” Sakamoto said about Yoshinaga in his speech at the gathering. “I hope that people will not have to suffer nuclear weapons or an accident at a nuclear power plant.”

Over the past 30 years, Yoshinaga has held poetry readings about the suffering caused by the atomic bombs.

She starred in “Haha to Kuraseba” (Living with My Mother), a 2015 movie directed by Yoji Yamada featuring a mother who lost her young child in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Sakamoto wrote the music for the movie, which was released in Canada on May 4 for the first time abroad.

The event in Vancouver was organized by the University of British Columbia, the Simons Foundation and The Asahi Shimbun.



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