Konoshima's Tanka PDF Print E-mail

translations by David Callner


This is the twenty-third and final set of newly translated tanka by Kisaburo Konoshima (1893-1984).

 

1981

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

逝くを惜み来るを祝ぐ年の瀬の花火は彩に街に飛び交ふ
In rue of passing - in felicity of arrival - New Year’s Eve
fireworks play colorfully about town

 

ともに卆寿偕老六十九周年眷族は皆健やかに生き
Together for Sotsuju on our sixty-ninth anniversary
our family all living and sound 

(Sotsuju is the name for one’s ninetieth birthday.)    

 

卒寿過ぎ偕老六十九周年肩よせあひて花火見て立つ
At Sotsuju - together sixty-nine years
side by side we stand watching fireworks

 

みはるかす碧洋おだやかに来鳴く小鳥八十九才の新春をことほぐ
The calm azure sea yonder - a little bird comes to sing
in celebration of my eighty-ninth New Year

(Konoshima’s eighty-ninth year would also be celebrated as Sotsuju, for in Japanese culture one’s age is often counted from New Year’s Day.) 

 

偕老長寿と伝来の家訓恭謙はわがうからにも継がれゆけかし
A long life together under our family precept of humility
O pass this down to our kindred

  

壮年の眷族あまた和み集ひわれ等夫婦の卆寿を祝ふ
Vibrant kith and kin aplenty gather warmly
in celebration of our Sotsuju

 

子等孫等つどひ睦みて我がために八十九歳の誕生日を祝ふ
My children and grandchildren gather warmly for me
and celebrate my eighty-ninth birthday

  

強制収容令廃棄のビルに署名して名入りのペンをカーターは賜ふ
A bill denouncing the Japanese-American Internment signed
the Presidential pen is bestowed to me by Carter 

(In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed legislation to create the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Wikipedia.
Konoshima and his family were confined for four years in Wyoming’s Heart Mountain relocation camp.)

 

血をもってその忠誠を証さむと六百の日系若人戦場に倒る
Proving their loyalty with blood - six hundred young
Japanese-Americans fall in battle

(The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army was an all Japanese-American unit. They fought primarily in Europe during World War II, beginning in 1944. The families of many of its soldiers were subject to internment. The 442nd was a self-sufficient fighting force, and fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, southern France, and Germany. The unit became the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the United States armed forces, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients. Wikipedia.) 

 

強制収容は違憲と断じ消し去るも史に残る汚点は永久に消えじ
The Japanese-American Internment annulled and branded unconstitutional
yet history remains tainted - never to be undone

 

屈辱と評さるるまでに堪え忍び平和裡に克ち得たり人質の解放
Humiliation and condemnation endured
peace is won - the hostages are free 

(The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in support of the Iranian Revolution. Wikipedia.)

 

隠忍自重再選までも犠牲にせるカーターの苦衷われ等多とせむ
Patience and self-respect he sacrificed - even re-election
Let us appreciate Carter’s anguish

  

カーターの真摯な努力経験をわれは買ひたるも及ばざりけり
Carter’s experience with sincere endeavor
yet my one vote was not enough

  

レーガンのスタンドプレイに酔ふ市民国策の大義に悖ることなかれ
O citizens drunk with Reagan’s grandstanding
beware the loss of your national policy - Justice

  

コーメニーの操る糸に衆愚踊りアメリカは辿る斜陽国への道
America dances the fool on Khomeini’s string
down the path of a declining nation

  

民主政治は衆愚政治なりの実相を早も暴露してレーガン撃たる
The reality of mob rule in Democracy
quickly reveals itself - Reagan is shot

  

皆触のニュース聴きつつふと思ふ磐戸隠れのわれの神話を
News of an eclipse and I suddenly recall
our myth of Iwato Kakure 

(The Japanese myth of Iwato Kakure, in which the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, upset with her cruel brother Susanoo, hides herself in a cave and plunges the world into darkness.)

 

思出も故郷も今ははるかなり八十九の誕生をハワイに祝ふ
Both my village and its memories now are far away
I celebrate my eighty-ninth birthday in Hawaii

  

八十年流浪の旅の初の宿り舟戸屋は侘びしく思出にたつ
My first shelter in eighty years of wandering
appears - a miserable boat house

  

奔流は断崖に淀みて水碧く小舟をつなぎ舟戸屋と呼ぶ
The rapids slacken blue beneath some cliffs
where little boats are tied along a sign - “Boat House”

  

初旅のわれを労りはげまして舟戸屋の主婦は今も目に生く
Sympathetic and encouraging as I set out
the riverman’s wife is alive in my memory

  

一言の寒さいたはるみ情も温顔と共にありあり顕ちくる
A caring word of sympathy - “Are you cold?”
and a kindly face vividly come back to me

  

死に場所も死に時もわれ持たずして凡々と生き卒寿を迎ふ
Neither a where nor a when to die
I live an ordinary life and welcome Sotsuju

  

卒寿すぎ夫婦揃うて生きて居ることそれだけをこよなくぞ思ふ
Together beyond Sotsuju
O what could be better?

  

おかげさまでと慇懃に答へほほ笑めばありがた涙眼頭に浮く
Whenever I respond - “Thanks to you” - with a cordial smile
tears of gratitude well up in my eyes

  

姪が贈れし古郷の新茶ほろ苦く渋くすすりつつ豪雪を聞く
New tea sent from my native home by a niece - slightly bitter
and astringent - I sip listening to news of a heavy snow

  

眼底に吹雪く故山の豪雪は八十九歳の今も凄冽に
I can picture the heavy snow of my native village
at eighty-nine years old - uncannily clear

  

豪雪のニュースを聞けば我が生れし北濃の雪景脳裏に吹雪く
Upon news of heavy snow - my birthplace
the Hokuno snowscape howls in my memory 

(“Hokuno” is an old designation for the area that included Konoshima’s native village, in Gifu prefecture.)

 

姪が贈りし白川渋茶ほろ苦くくみつつ聞くも豪雪のニュース
Slightly bitter Shirakawa tea from my niece
as I drink - O news of a heavy snowfall 

(Shirakawa is a village in Gifu prefecture, well-known for its tea.)

 

葛屋根の積雪家鳴りしてなだれ墜ち小山をなして窓まで塞ぐ
Snow on our kudzu-thatched roof groans and slides down
mounding up to the windows

  

おもむろに啜りてふくむ白川茶ほのかにかをる故里の味
Deliberately I sip Shirakawa tea and hold it on my tongue
faintly there wafts the aroma of my native home

  

おほぢいさん何想ふてかと曽孫に問はれ八十九年の追憶よりさむ
“What are you thinking?” - asks my great-grandson
and I awake from an eighty-nine year reminiscence

  

姪が呉れし渋茶すすりつつ窓に見やる太平洋の涯雲あかねして
Sipping tea from my niece I glance out the window
ruddy clouds adorn the Pacific horizon

  

いくそたび語り竭せし生涯に触れ得ぬ痕跡をわれら秘め持つ
A lifetime spoken over and over
yet we keep traces of certain feelings secret

  

語りなば笑ひに消ゆる痕跡ならむ心いたはりたがひに触れず
Traces when mentioned vanish in laughter
feelings never touched in consideration for each other

  

しわぐみし手を引きひかれ辿る野路行く手にはたとせせらぎの音
Leading each other by wrinkled hand along a country path
suddenly before us - murmuring waters

  

音もかそか流るる小川飛び飛びに石おき据ゑて徒渉とはなす
Scattered along a faintly sounding brooklet
stones are placed as a ford

  

外出衣一枚有てば年中こと欠かぬホノルルはまことに住み易き街
One set of clothing for outings is plenty year round
Honolulu - truly a comfortable town

  

花は咲き花はすがれて亦咲きて常夏の街に季あり愛し
Flowers bloom - flowers wither then bloom once more
the town of everlasting summer has lovely seasons too

  

かそかなる季の変遷に呼応して女性はあてに日々を装ふ
To the faintly changing season
women bewitchingly match their daily attire

  

草も木も街行く人の装ひも四季の遷りをかそかにぞみす
In plants and trees - in the attire of people about town
O faintly appears a change of season

  

おなじ職場へ今朝また急ぐバスの女毎日妖艶によそほひを変へ
Rushing to work again this morning a woman from the bus
has a bewitching new outfit each day

  

須臾の間の遅滞許さで遷る世相対処すべきものを若き等は持つ
In a world with no time to catch one’s breath
the young have much to undertake

  

日か月か年かは問ふて詮もなし今この時を懇ろに生きむ
The day? - the month? - the year? - no point in asking
I live the moment earnestly

  

卒寿を生くる第一歩ぞと初夏の大地踏みしめおほらかに歩む
“I now begin Sotsuju” - I declare
firmly treading the early-summer ground in serenity

  

建国僅かに二百五年の若き国アメリカの歩みを思ふすがしも
A mere two hundred five years from its founding
young America’s pace invigorates

  

旺盛なる意欲追及は今もつぎ宇宙開発の端緒をつかむ
The pursuit of vital ambition lives
in the first steps towards space exploration

  

空艇は宇宙を飛びて星をめぐり首尾よく帰りまた航くといふ
An aircraft flies into space - circles the stars
then returns successfully to fly again they say

  

天文宇宙の解明はあまねししかも残る不可思議は我れ神とや呼ばむ
Elucidation of the universe is all encompassing
yet wonders remain - let us call them God

  

僅か三行に途絶えし畏友の手記にして訃報に同封し未亡人より届く
My friend’s letter - breaking off after a mere three lines
comes enclosed in a death notice from his widow

  

最後の手記君に呈すと書きさして僅か三行のとだえし手紙
“My final message is for you” - he wrote
breaking off after just three lines

  

消え去りし知友もあまた機にふれ話題となりてわがうちに生く
Many friends have passed away
yet spoken of they live on in me

  

賜はりしお歌をかかげ老妻と美和子先生の追憶にふける
A gift of verse to us in hand - my aged wife and I
lose ourselves in reminiscences of Miwako 

(Miwako Idogawa [1908 - 1981] was an editor for the Kamakura poetry society, Cho-on, and author of numerous poetry collections including Toukou Kashuu, “Winter Rainbow”.)

 

ゆくりなき一期の邂逅も忘れじと美和子師は折々の励まし賜ふ
Never forgetting our chance encounter of a lifetime
Miwako often sent encouragement

  

温厚優雅日本淑婦の典型を光子美和子の両師に見たり
Gentle and elegant - paragons of Japanese womanhood
Mitsuko and Miwako 

(Mitsuko Shiga, 1885~1976, was married to the poet Mizuho Ota and collaborated with his literary magazine, Cho-on, the quarterly that published Konoshima's entire opus from 1950 to 1983. Shiga was also a selector of the verses submitted for the New Year's Poetry Reading at the Imperial Palace. Anthologies of her poetry include “Fuji no Mi” - "Wisteria Beans", “Asa Tsuki” -"Morning Moon", “Asa Ginu” -"Linen Silk", and “Kamakura Zakki” -"Kamakura Miscellany". Shiga also published some instructional guides to the writing of poetry, including “Waka Dokuhon” -"A Guide to Waka Verse", and “Dento to Gendai Waka” -"Tradition and Modern Waka".)

 

一期一会の拝眉たりしも美和子師は追慕に顕ちて我を励ます
An encounter of a lifetime - Miwako
inspires me as a cherished memory

  

死ほど奇麗にサッパリとすることは無いと母常に言ひき今にして識る
“Nothing is as pure and simple as death”
Mother often said - and now I understand

  

知友の誰より年長となりぬ我等夫婦残りの日々を懇ろに生きん
My wife and I become the eldest amongst our friends
and live our remaining days in earnest

  

偕に卆寿身辺整理もすべきかと埃まみれの手箱とり出す
Both ninety - Our affairs in order?
We take out some dust-covered boxes

  

偕老やがて七十年かく生きて共に九十一歳の誕生を祝ふ
Together - soon for seventy years
we both celebrate our ninety-first birthday 

(In Japanese culture one’s age is both counted from New Year’s Day and from one’s birthday, thus Konoshima now calls himself and his wife ninety, now ninety-one.)

 

やつとこさ今日も生きたと床に入る朝の目覚は問ふに詮なく
O still alive at the day’s end I go to bed
Who knows if I wake to see tomorrow?

  

夜半にさめ手に手をさぐり生きて居ることを確めまた眠るかも
Awakening at midnight I feel for her hand - yes alive
perhaps I can sleep again

  

独り居て無作法に吸む茶の香り今日また一日われ生きにけり
Alone - the tea I crudely slurp is fragrant
I still live

  

偕老やがて七十年なり老妻のすさびに勝る美味あるを知らず
Soon seventy years together - I know nothing more delicious
than my aged wife’s home cooking

  

まとまらぬ和歌味気なく箸おけば食味いかにと老妻は問ふ
Frustrated over my poem I put down my chopsticks
“Tastes bad?” - asks my aged wife

  

昨朝とおんなじ窓に今朝もたち同じことを想ふわれかも
This morning I stand by the same window as yesterday
O thinking the same thing

  

 雨にかすむ金剛峯は大観ゑがく墨絵さながらわが窓を飾る
A grand landscape of Diamond Head veiled in rain
a sumi-e - adorns my window

  

明日在るを知り得ぬ我を肯ひつ今日の予定を明日に残す
Granted I may never see another day
yet I leave today’s plans for tomorrow

  

ありがたうと言ふより外に言葉なし偕老七十年に及ぶ亡妻のいまはに
I have no words but “Thank you”
seventy years together I come to my wife’s dying hour

  

七十年ひたぶりなりし亡妻の捨身奉仕は慎ましくして
My lamented wife’s seventy years of devotion
service and sacrifice came wrapped in modesty

  

外に篤く内には薄きわが性を同調助成して生かしたる亡妻
My nature - warm towards others but cool to my own
my lamented wife lived accordingly

  

ありがたうとこころ尽して亡妻の胸に手を置き七十年を偲ぶ
“Thank you” - emptying my heart I lay my hand
upon my lamented wife - seventy years

  

見はるかす太洋の涯あかねして「西方浄土」の訓へ愛しも
Ruddy glows the Pacific horizon yonder
O the beloved teaching of Paradise

  

 

1982

 

偕老七十年の老妻遂に世を去りぬ索莫たる日々慎ましく生く
Together for seventy years - my aged wife ultimately passes away
bleak days I live in modesty

  

一時に足らぬ苦悩も哀れ老妻は九十余年の生涯を閉づ
Many times in suffering and grief
my aged wife’s ninety years come to a close

  

摘み納めつまれ納めと笑ひつつ死ぬ日の朝わが髪つみくれし
“Your last trim” - “My last trim” - we laughed
she trimmed my hair the morning of her death

  

亡き妻は口には言はね身を以て遺せし徳は人々を訓ゆ
My lamented wife never boasted but carried her goodness within
such goodness might serve as an example

  

お人好しをわれと肯ひ老妻は食客たゆる折りとては無く
Accepting me as an amiable man - my aged wife
never saw a moment without spongers

  

にこやかに客をもてなす老妻のやりくりの苦衷は我れのみ知れり
Guests she received with a smile - my aged wife’s
anguish to make shift known only to me

  

肩を叩き背筋をさすり足を揉み病躯をおしてわれを労はりし
Massaging my shoulders - stroking my back - rubbing my feet
she nursed me despite her own poor health

  

自我を滅し仕ふる愛のたたかひは畢竟亡妻の勝ちにぞ終わる
Her battle for love - self-effacing and subservient
my lamented wife ends in victory

  

巨樹にすがる小さき蝉殻さながらに残れる日々をひっそりと生く
A little cicada shell clinging to a great tree
quietly I live my remaining days

  

亡妻が使ひし椰子の古扇形見となして我が手に扇ぐ
My lamented wife’s old palm-leaf fan
now a keepsake - waves in my hand

  

九十年世界を股にホノルルは老に好き島死に場所とせむ
Ninety years traveling the world - Hawaii
a good island in old age where I guess I will die

  

鮎は瀬に人はなさけの神楽歌八十年の流浪身をもって識る
Sweetfish flow in the rapids - people in a hymn of sympathy
so I have learned from eighty years of wandering

  

ハワイに残る明治の祖国日本は故郷を偲ぶよすがとはなる
My native Meiji Japan still present in Hawaii
helps me recall my birthplace 

(The Meiji era - 1868 to 1912.)

 

落部てふ字名に残る落人の部落創りしは数百年の昔
“Refugee” survives in the name “Ochibe
in my hamlet from hundreds of years past

 (Konoshima’s native hamlet probably had its origins as a hiding place for refugee samurai. “Ochibe” means “place of refuge”, and when the kanji for “Ochibe” are reversed they read “Buraku”, or “hamlet”.)

 

居城を焼かれ山峡に隠れあひ頼りて部落は創りぬ数百年の昔
Their castle torched they survive together hidden in a ravine
thus began my hamlet hundreds of years ago

  

父祖伝来の家名を誇り名告り継ぎ生涯をかけ家名守れる
Proud of an ancestral family name
a lifetime spent for that name

  

伝来の家の呼び名を継ぎ名告り住む人々も吾が知らぬ人
Inheriting a name they now call their own
those who live there are people I do not even know 

(The people who now live in Konoshima’s ancestral home.)

 

北濃の吹雪く山家に生れてより九十余年はながく短く
From my birth in a snowy Hokuno mountain home
ninety years are long yet brief

  

四季折々のニュースを聞けば北濃の明治の故郷まざまざと顕つ
With news of the changing season - Hokuno
my Meiji birthplace vividly appears

  

山裾の礫地を開く蕎麦苗の花白かりきわが捨てし古郷
Buckwheat seedlings part the gravely mountainside soil
their flowers white in the village I abandoned

  

逃れ得ぬ貧を見切りて捨て去りし明治の古郷追憶に吹雪く
Cutting myself away from inescapable poverty - I abandoned
the Meiji village where the snow storms in my memory

  

眼をつむり過去を偲べば先づ顕つは八十年前見捨てし古郷
When closing my eyes to reminisce - I first see
the village I forsook eighty years past

  

人に譲り仕事に勝ての家訓忠実に貧苦に堪へて貫ける父
Constant to his family precepts - yielding yet working hardest
Father struggled on through poverty

  

田畑を質に高利の金を借り漸く日々の家格をささへき
Paddies were hocked for high-interest cash
to barely support our family through daily life

  

ハトといふ小瓶ゐろりに待つ老父酒は娘が町よりのみやげ
Aged Father awaits his hato at the hearth
the sake - his daughter’s gift from town 

(A “hato bin” is a pigeon-shaped sake vessel - “hato” means “pigeon” - the tail end of which is set above the charcoal of the “irori” - “sunken hearth” - to heat sake, thus Konoshima’s father would be waiting for his sake to warm.)

 

ヒユーヒユーと音たてて吹く北風のすきまをまるは一段とこたふ
“Whoosh whoosh” blows the northerly wind
ever more piercingly through our house

  

雪ををかし自然林に分け入り焼く炭は冬を支ふる唯一の方途
Braving the snowy forest to gather wood and make charcoal
our only way to survive the winter

  

ボソボソとほだ折りくべる炭焼きの帰途を案じて呟く老母
There the men snap kindling and stoke the charcoal oven
My aged mother grumbles - they have yet to come home

  

すさぶ吹雪呟く亡母の丸き背が八十年の今も目に顕つ
Mother - grumbling at the worsening snow
I still see her rounded back eighty years later

  

身の毛よだつ生死のさかひ幾度ぞ生きて逃れて卒寿を祝ふ
O how many hair-raising times to the verge of life or death?
Yet I live on and celebrate my ninetieth year

  

偕老長寿と父祖よりの家風恭順はうからも永久に継げかしと希ふ
A long life together and our ancestral tradition of humility
these I pray our kin might inherit through the ages

  

偕老長寿と家風尊重を和歌に詠み新婚の孫にはなむけとする
A long life together and respect for family tradition
set in verse - a gift for my newlywed grandchild

  

子々孫々栄え継がるる現実に吾が生涯の不可思議を憶ふ
I wonder at the reality of my life
flourishing through generations

  

箸二揃茶碗二つを買ひ求めわれ等祖父母の結婚は成る
Purchasing two pairs of chopsticks and two rice bowls
we - Grandpa and Grandma - married

  

北美濃の落栗混ぜて亡妻が造りしごもくに記憶尽きず
The memory of my lamented wife’s gomoku
with Kita-Mino chestnuts never fails 

(“Gomoku gohan”, "five-ingredient mixed rice", typically contains five seasonal delicacies such as chestnuts, matsutake mushrooms, burdock, bamboo shoots, fresh soybeans, etc. Konoshima’s native village was in an area formerly called both “Kita-Mino” and “Hokuno”, renowned for chestnuts, in Gifu Prefecture.)

 

頻々たりし訃報も今は稀となる知友大方故人とはなり
What were frequent obituaries now are few and far between
my friends are mostly amongst the deceased

  

次からつぎと訪問ふ眷族たえまなく幸あり難く重荷とはなる
An unending stream of family comes to call
a joy indeed - and a burden

  

時代を生くる若人等の饗応に戸惑ふ我は明治の生れ
Fêted by youngsters
bewildered - I am Meiji born

  

つつましきはた傲然とさまざまの人柄をかし毎朝のバス
Modest or haughty - various characters
droll on the morning bus

  

山と積む特売品にたかる客押しつおされつひたに揉みあふ
Shoppers swarm the mounds of items on sale
pushing and pushed they jostle fervently 

  

切実に買ふ気は無けれ我れも亦いつの間にやら人にもまれて
With no real intention of buying anything
before I know it I am jostled too

  

流浪遍歴八十余年老いはてし脳底に現つは明治の祖国
Old after eighty years of wandering the globe
What do I see? - my native Meiji land

  

いつ逝くも哭くことは無く我をおくれ九十余年は恵まれて余る
Whenever it is I pass away - see me off without crying
I have been more than blessed for ninety years 

 

1983

 

これは珍味あれもうましと北濃の丘まぼろしに果物あさる
This was a delicacy and that was tasty
I hunt fruit in a vision of the Hokuno hills

  

蛍来いこつちの水は甘いぞわれも唱ひぬ八十余年の昔
“Come O fireflies come - here the water is sweet!”
so too sang I some eighty years past 

(“Koi koi hotaru koi - kochi no mizu wa amai zo!” is a line from one of the  most popular Japanese children’s ditties.)

 

とことわに栄光ある生涯を寿ぐも照る陽を浴びつねんごろに往け
九十二の老耄爺 
Wishing you a life forever and ever glorious
basked in sunshine - go forth with grace
Your senile old Grandpa of ninety-two 

(From Konoshima to his newborn great-granddaughter, Saya Callner.)

 

年末の街行き交ふ人の足どりにわれもいつしかせかせかと歩む
In step with the year-end town folks’ to and fro
unconsciously I bustle along too

  

残る日を指折りかぞへ今日もまた九十二年目の新正を待つ
I count the days left on my fingers
once again in anticipation - my ninety-second year of rebirth

  

耄碌爺子供に帰り残る日を指折りかぞへ正月を待ち
A doting old man I revert to a child
counting the days till New Year on my fingers

  

砂刻の時の遷りを年の瀬に九十二歳の新年を生く
With the year-end countdown of time’s passing
I live to see my ninety-second New Year

  

逝くを惜しみ来るをことほぐ爆竹は人さまざまの感慨を呼ぶ
In rue of passing - in felicitation of arrival
firecrackers hail people’s deep emotions

  

木守りに捥ぎ残こされしはちや柿八十余年の今も思出に映ゆ
A Hachiya persimmon left dangling for the tree
shines still now in an eighty-year memory

(In Japan one fruit is often left on a branch after harvest to “protect” the tree.
“The Japanese cultivar ‘Hachiya’ is widely grown. The fruit has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. The tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures. Persimmons like ‘Hachiya’ must be completely ripened before consumption. When ripe, this fruit comprises thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell.” Wikipedia.)

 

北美濃のはちやの熟柿想ひつつアメリカのはちや貪りて喰ぶ
I imagine a ripe Kita-Mino Hachiya
as I devour an American Hachiya


 

Photographs from the collection of Konoshima’s first daughter, Toshiko Konoshima.

 

 

 

Konoshima (seated left) with junior high school classmates, circa 1908.

 

Konoshima, circa 1911.

 

Konoshima with milk delivery cart, circa 1911.

 

Konoshima (standing right) with high school classmates, circa 1912.

 

 Konoshima (standing second from right) - high school graduation, circa 1912.

 

Konoshima, circa 1912.

 

Konoshima at high school graduation, circa 1912.

 

Konoshima (standing right) in first year at Doshisha University, circa 1913.

At the age of fifteen Konoshima left his village for Tokyo to attend high school with the dream to "Study Under Adversity and Rise Up in the World". He took a job in a Setagaya post office for seven sen a day plus food and lodging. About six months later Konoshima heard about the Aoyama Gakusei Roudo-Kai, a Tokyo high school where students could work and go to school. Konoshima worked his way through high school, and later through college as well, delivering milk with a pull-cart mornings and evenings. He would get up at three o'clock every morning to milk and care for the cows and prepare the milk for delivery.

 

Konoshima (standing arms crossed) at Doshisha University, circa 1913.

 

Konoshima (bottom row, second from left) at Doshisha University, circa 1914.

 

Konoshima, University graduation, circa 1916.

 

Professor Konoshima (right), circa 1919.

 

Professor Konoshima (right), Kyoto, circa 1919.

 

Professor Konoshima, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima (seated center) with his students in Argentina, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima (left) with ship doctor, returning from South America, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima with wife and children, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima (seated right) with former classmates, San Francisco, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima (seated right) with his students in Peru, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima (left), Yosemite Valley, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima (standing), Yosemite, circa 1920.

 

Konoshima (left) with students in Argentina, circa 1923.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Konoshima with first daughter and son, circa 1923.

 

 

In 1941 Konoshima was forced to abandon his farm. He and his family were first consigned to a stable at the Santa Anita race track, and then moved to the relocation camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. They were confined there for four years.

 

Konoshima with Family, California, circa 1932.

 

Konoshima at Heart Mountain Internment Camp, circa 1943.

 

Konoshima with family, Heart Mountain Internment Camp, circa 1943.

 

Konoshima with wife and grandchildren, Hawaii, circa 1951.

 

Konoshima with grandchild, Hawaii, circa 1951.

 

Kisaburo and Yoshi Konoshima, Sharon Springs, NY, circa 1955.

 

Photo 30 - Konoshima (standing) with his wife, his brother's widow, his two brothers and sister, circa 1960.

 

Konoshima fishing in his native village, circa 1960.

 

Following the war's end, Konoshima and his wife Yoshi moved to New York City. Konoshima devoted the rest of his life to his children's schooling and his poetry.


 

 

 

 

Kisaburo Konoshima was born in 1893 in Gifu, Japan. He left his village for an education in Tokyo when he was fifteen years old, and went on to become a professor of political economics at the now defunct Shokumin Gakkou in Kyoto. In 1924 he abandoned academia for the life of a farmer, and emigrated to California with his wife and children. In 1941 Konoshima was forced off his farm and he and his family were interned in the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp in Wyoming. Following the war Konoshima moved to New York City, where he devoted himself to his children's education and his poetry. In 1950 he joined the Japanese poetry society Cho-on, which published his entire opus of over fifteen hundred tanka in the Cho-on quarterly, from 1950 to his death in 1984.

 

 

 

 

 


David Callner was born in 1956. His youth was spent in France, England, Italy, and America. Since 1978 he has lived in Japan. He has written four novels and teaches English at Nagano University. He is a grandson of Kisaburo Konoshima.