Posts Tagged ‘Ryusuke Saito’

Fourth Anniversary of 3/11

Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen StoriesThis week marks the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.

Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories (Stone Bridge Press) is a collection of YA fiction compiled to help teen survivors of the 3/11 disaster. This benefit anthology was edited by Holly Thompson.

Tomo offers 36 stories including 10 translations from Japanese (one from Ainu). These are:

“Anton and Kiyohime” by Fumio Takano, translated by Hart Larrabee

“Blue Shells” by Naoko Awa, translated by Toshiya Kamei

“The Dragon and the Poet” by Kenji Miyazawa, translated by Misa Dikengil Lindberg

“Fleecy Clouds” by Arie Nashiya, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

“Hachiro” by Ryusuke Saito, translated by Sako Ikegami

“House of Trust” by Sachiko Kashiwaba, translated by Avery Fischer Udagawa

“The Law of Gravity” by Yuko Katakawa, translated by Deborah Iwabuchi

“Love Letter” by Megumi Fujino, translated by Lynne E. Riggs

“Where the Silver Droplets Fall” by Yukie Chiri, translated by Deborah Davidson

“Wings on the Wind” by Yuichi Kimura, translated by Alexander O. Smith

The epigraph of Tomo, an excerpt from the poem “Be Not Defeated by the Rain” by Kenji Miyazawa, was translated by David Sulz.

All proceeds from sales of Tomo benefit teens via the NPO Hope for Tomorrow. Interviews and an educators’ guide may be found at the Tomo blog. Tomo is also available as an ebook.


Introducing the Story of Hachiro

By Sako Ikegami, Kobe

A short story by children’s author Ryusuke Saito, set in Akita Prefecture in Tohoku, vividly illustrates the long relationship between northeastern Japan and tsunamis.

Hachiro is a huge mountain youth who grows larger and larger with each passing day. His head is so high up in the clouds, that birds build their nests in his hair. One day, he notices a small village boy crying. The village is regularly flooded by the sea and the boy’s parents and other villagers are desperate to save their farm from this year’s attack. Hachiro uses his enormous strength to throw a mountain into the sea, hoping to stop the waves.  The mountain prevents the sea from washing over the village and the villagers rejoice, but their joy is short-lived. Before long, the sea regroups and comes back with even higher waves and more water than before. Hachiro realizes that this must be why he’s grown so large–so that he can save his fellow villagers from the waves.  He stomps into the ocean, keeping it from reaching the shore by barring the way with his very chest and arms. Eventually, he disappears under the water, but he has become the barrier that protects the village from further threats of the sea.  Hachiro-gata, a lake in Akita, is said to have been created by Hachiro’s great sacrifice.

This is one story that, at present, may be more instructive for adults than healing for children.