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Japan: A Fukushima Poet Tweets His Verses

This post is part of our special coverage Japan Earthquake 2011.

Since the March 11 Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster, Ryoichi Wago (和合亮一), a poet from Fukushima city, has been experimenting with a new form of poetry to express his feelings about issues such as uncertainty of the future and fear of radiation that have been threatening his land and its inhabitants.

@wago2828's profile picture.

To make known his verses, he has chosen Twitter as an exceptional media.

Using the 140-character-long tweets, Wago concentrates his thoughts creating a stream of verses where it is difficult to point to the beginning or the end. Sometimes, the repetition of a same word or character may create a visual image [ja] that resembles the stylistic devices of Futuristic poetry.

Below is a collection of poetic tweets by @wago2828, wherein he describes his memories at the time when the earthquake struck and the following feelings of anxiety and hope.

@wago2828 和合亮一

Since 3.11, I’ve been collecting newspaper and magazine articles about the disaster. Little by little I cut out articles, but I can never catch up. Endless aftershocks between the paper and scissors. Cold sweat.

@wago2828 和合亮一

3.11 – once in a 1000 years. Cold sweat.
In the bath, memories of the night I soaked in the bath crying, come back to me. Tears well up.

@wago2828 和合亮一

3.11 – once in a 1000 years. Cold sweat.


何を失ったのか、流されてしまったのか、分からないけれど…、これまでたくさん人生を生きてきて、拳で拭わなくちゃならない悲しみを、今まで予想してきたことがあったのだろうか、そう思った。… そう語り、ある日、Aさんは泣いた。





I was running along the shores of Soma, gazing at the aftermath of the tsunami. Among the overturned ship and and pile of rubble, a sternly built man walks, wiping the endless trail of tears spilling down his cheeks, with his fist…

I can’t imagine what he had lost, or what had been sweat away… In this long life of mine, had I ever imagined sorrow that must be wiped away with a fist… The thought crossed my mind. Mr. A cried, telling the story one day.

I wash my hair. For me too, all I can do is cry. All evacuees, please calmly evacuate from the mountains of Fukushima… I remember stepping into the bath as I heard that on the radio… Since then, I’ve never opened the bathroom window.

An old man sits on a floating tatami. The fire brigade desperately tries to rescue him and throws him a rope. Sadly, the water eventually overcomes his strength…

‘Make Iwaki great again…’ he cried out, as he let go of the rope and sank into the sea… The fire brigade sobbed uncontrollably from regret… O san cried, telling me the story one day

I wash my hair. For me too, all I can do is cry. Since then, I’ve never opened the bathroom window.

A person from Tomioka was allowed back home for 2 hours. In the house they had entered for the first time in a while, that person did something. Can you guess what that person was doing in the house? Asked O san

Just crying, for 2 hours…

And that person came back without anything from the house. O san comforted them by saying… ‘I went home to cry… just tell yourself that’s what you went home to do’.

I wash my back. For me too, all I can do is cry. Since then, I’ve never opened the bathroom window.

Soma City, after the tsunami, by Flickr user hee_san. CC license BY-NC 2.0.

Soma City, after the tsunami, by Flickr user hee_san. CC license BY-NC 2.0.


I got out the bath, and started cutting out newspaper articles again. Sad faces, expressions saying they will keep trying, I cut it all out and lay them out. If I stop collecting, will it all become a dream? Cold sweat. Since that day, I’ve never opened my study room window.





@wago2828 行き着くところは涙しか無い。

What is it that this disaster wants to teach us? If there's nothing it wants to teach us, then what should I believe in?

Meanings of an occurrence, appear afterwards. But what is the meaning of that post-occurrence period? Is there any meaning there?

Is there any meaning in making people suffer this much?

Radiation is falling from the sky. It’s a quiet night.

There is only one place I end up, in tears.



あなた 大切なあなた あなたの頬に 涙

いつか 安らぎの 一筋となるように 祈ります

Give me back my soul, give me back my dream, give me back Fukushima, give back the lives lost, give back my hometown, give back that hot air rising from the grass, give back the town, give back the poem, give back the walnut tree

I think about the tree’s soul, I think about the darkness that soul is rolling around in, the soul passes the night, the soul mutters the word, live, the soul is alive, you…

You, my precious you, tears… on your cheek

I pray that one day, it will become a ray of hope

共に信じる ここに記す

祈りとして この言に託す


Believe together… I record herein

I place my prayers in these words…

Night is always followed by dawn

This post is part of our special coverage Japan Earthquake 2011.

Thank you very much to Rino Yamamoto for translating the tweets above.

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