Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933) was a Japanese novelist and poet probably most famous for his novel, 銀河鉄道の夜, Night on the Galactic Railroad. But his most famous poem is this one: 雨にもまけず which means "won't be defeated by the rain."

Miyazawa Kenji struggled with health issues for years, eventually succumbing to an acute pneumonia illness. One reason why this poem is so popular is it was discovered posthumously in a small notebook he left behind. Did he write this for himself? Or was he hoping it would be read by others? The words were so strong and resolute despite his weakened state.

He ends with these lines:

そういうものに わたしはなりたい

That's the kind of person I want to be.


Ame ni mo Makezu: Original version 

(see below for a more modern version with English translation)

雨ニモマケズ
風ニモマケズ
雪ニモ夏ノ暑サニモマケヌ
丈夫ナカラダヲモチ
慾ハナク
決シテ瞋ラズ
イツモシヅカニワラッテヰル
一日ニ玄米四合ト
味噌ト少シノ野菜ヲタベ
アラユルコトヲ
ジブンヲカンジョウニ入レズニ
ヨクミキキシワカリ
ソシテワスレズ
野原ノ松ノ林ノ蔭ノ
小サナ萓ブキノ小屋ニヰテ
東ニ病氣ノコドモアレバ
行ッテ看病シテヤリ
西ニツカレタ母アレバ
行ッテソノ稻ノ朿ヲ負ヒ
南ニ死ニサウナ人アレバ
行ッテコハガラナクテモイヽトイヒ
北ニケンクヮヤソショウガアレバ
ツマラナイカラヤメロトイヒ
ヒデリノトキハナミダヲナガシ
サムサノナツハオロオロアルキ
ミンナニデクノボートヨバレ
ホメラレモセズ
クニモサレズ
サウイフモノニ
ワタシハナリタイ

Notes: ヰ = イ (wi)  イヒ = イイ クワ = カ イフ = イウ


If you are like me and find katakana hard to read, Wikipedia kindly updated it into modern Japanese for us. I'm also including the English translation they provided.

雨にもまけず

Unbeaten by the rain

風にもまけず

Unbeaten by the wind

雪にも夏の暑さにもまけぬ

Bested by neither snow nor summer heat

丈夫なからだをもち

Strong of body

慾はなく

Free of desire

決して瞋らず

Never angry

いつもしずかにわらっている

Always smiling quietly

一日に玄米四合と

Dining daily on four cups of brown rice

味噌と少しの野菜をたべ

Some miso and a few vegetables

あらゆることをじぶんをかんじょうにいれずによくみききしわかり

Observing all things with dispassion

そしてわすれず

But remembering well

野原の松の林の蔭の小さな萱ぶきの小屋にいて

In the meadow beneath a canopy of pines, living in a small, thatched-roof house

東に病気のこどもあれば行って看病してやり

Going east to nurse the sick child

西につかれた母あれば行ってその稲の束を負い

Going west to bear sheaves of rice for the weary mother

南に死にそうな人あれば行ってこわがらなくてもいいといい

Going south to tell the dying man there is no cause for fear

北にけんかやそしょうがあればつまらないからやめろといい

Going north to tell those who fight to put aside their trifles

ひでりのときはなみだをながし

Shedding tears in time of drought

さむさのなつはおろおろあるき

Wandering at a loss during the cold summer

みんなにでくのぼうとよばれ

Called useless by all

ほめられもせず

Neither praised

くにもされず

Nor a bother

そういうものに

Such is the person

わたしはなりたい

I wish to be


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