Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2021/9/16/nikkei-uncovered-58/

songs

This month, we are pleased to present two poems in Spanish by Peruvian poet Doris Moromisato Miasato. She is an environmentalist, feminist and Buddhist and these two poems are beautiful tribute songs, one for her father and one for the famous Japanese artist Hokusai. From memories evoked to those imagined, his poetry reads like a song of lament, inspiration and wonder. I am grateful to carry these poems with me as we begin to leave summer for fall. I must also thank Norma, my partner's mother, who has Spanish as her native language and is also from Peru. She is someone I enjoy talking to about art and was instrumental in helping me understand Doris' wonderful work. Enjoy!

—traci kato-kiriyama

* * * * *

Photo by Jaidith Soto

Doris Moromisato is a poet, writer, cultural manager, researcher on gender issues and the Japanese presence in Peru. She is the Goodwill Ambassador of Okinawa. Graduated in Law and Political Science from the UNM of San Marcos. He published 4 books of poetry and 3 of chronicles, his stories and essays make up various anthologies, his poems have been translated into several languages.

THE MOON OVER THE RICE FIELD

His eyes two stars in the night,
like an unexpected insect, time
It rests on his chest and stirs his tired heart.
Through the orange furrow of the chili peppers you can hear
the carefree step of the centipede.

The candles
The screens of the patio and the three ropes still illuminate
of the old guitar that father turned into his shamiseen accomplice.
He pulls a rope and his gaze is lost in a rice field.
His mouth tired of the empire of traditional words
go back: mikayuki-sama, konbanwaa...

An ancient howl erupts from his chest
solitary animal that flees from the wildest of its love.
The home is filled with its sober, gray melancholy.
Everything is silent
and I listen from my bed, so as not to see him die.

Pull again and the soft breeze shivers the owls,
the moon kisses his slow body: mikayuki-sama,
konbanwaa...  

The eternal story of the boat sailing the sea of ​​Okinawa
comes from his lips. Fishermen greeting the moon,
returning happily to the village.

Father stretches his voice, the moon slides over the rice field
and the last candle begins to melt on the floor
like my heart

like his old tired heart.

*This poem is the intellectual property of Doris Moromisato.

UNTIL HOKUSAI ESCAPE THE SEA
to Melina, dekasegi

Climbing the high hills of Edo as a child
wading through the rocks, the irreverent thorns of the bushes,
Hokusai understood
wrapped in the perfume of conifers and the singing of crickets
What if he captured Mount Fuji on his canvas?
I would touch the stars that we see each other
at daytime
and he would finally find peace in his heart.

Thirty-six shapes he drew to understand his plume of snow,
the harmony of your body ascending to heaven
the pine forest that stirred his heart
when walking through it
while the ink dripped from his back
coloring their footsteps uphill.

Thirty-six times he sat and looked at the mist
seeking to hold in his hands
all the waves that stirred in his eyes,
only the cranes understood his intent
and he observed them snowy rising over the horizon
coveting for himself that blinding clarity
in his heart.

Thirty-six times he tore the air and waved his brush,
sepia boats tilted by the tide
blue fishermen
orange the transience of their bodies and yellow
the kindness of her small lips.
Baskets and straw hats rubbing
the mute majesty of its summit.

And I look at its raging sea, the waves
about to escape from the postcard that I contemplate this morning
where you tell me that you are fine
that you survived our childhood
and you continue to grow between pins, machines, bells
and card markers that did not sprout from the earth
like our butternut squash and passion fruit.

And I decipher the postcard on which you waved your hand
to tell me that you go to bed very early
on the same tatami
looking at the alarm clock and not the old willow tree
what you saw from your window
peacefully accompanying your dreams.

Maybe stars also live within us
and we only see them within a tear
wave that escapes from the sea of ​​our eyes
and spread the ink over the footprints we stamp
humbly
every day.

*Published in 1999 in Chambala era un camino . This poem is the intellectual property of Doris Moromisato.

© 1999, 2021 Doris Moromisato

dekasegi Doris Moromisato families foreign workers Japan literature Nikkei in Japan Okinawa Prefecture Peru poetry poets
About this series

Nikkei Uncovered: a poetry column is a space for the Nikkei community to share stories through diverse writings on culture, history, and personal experience. The column will feature a wide variety of poetic form and subject matter with themes that include history, roots, identity; history—past into the present; food as ritual, celebration, and legacy; ritual and assumptions of tradition; place, location, and community; and love.

We’ve invited author, performer, and poet traci kato-kiriyama to curate this monthly poetry column, where we will publish one to two poets on the third Thursday of each month—from senior or young writers new to poetry, to published authors from around the country. We hope to uncover a web of voices linked through myriad differences and connected experience.

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About the Authors

Doris Moromisato is a poet, writer, cultural manager, researcher on gender issues and the Japanese presence in Peru. She is the Goodwill Ambassador of Okinawa. Graduated in Law and Political Science from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. He published 4 books of poetry and 3 of chronicles, his stories and essays make up various anthologies, his poems have been translated into several languages. (Photo: Jaidith Soto)

Last updated October 2020


traci kato-kiriyama is a performer, actor, writer, author, educator, and art+community organizer who splits the time and space in her body feeling grounded in gratitude, inspired by audacity, and thoroughly insane—oft times all at once. She’s passionately invested in a number of projects that include Pull Project (PULL: Tales of Obsession); Generations Of War; The (title-ever-evolving) Nikkei Network for Gender and Sexual Positivity; Kizuna; Budokan of LA; and is the Director/Co-Founder of Tuesday Night Project and Co-Curator of its flagship “Tuesday Night Cafe.” She’s working on a second book of writing/poetry attuned to survival, slated for publication next year by Writ Large Press.

Updated August 2013

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