Taki Yuriko

Biography :

Taki Yuriko: Born in Tokyo, Japan.

Jobs: worked in NIPPON RADIO BROADCASTING, works now in KUMON Institute of Education

Member of : International Writers and Artists Association, The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, World Congress of Poets-World Academy of Arts and Culture (Approved by UNESCO), World Congress of Poets for Research and Recitation Society of NIPPON RADIO BROADCASTING

1. In Japan: "The World of Atomic Bomb Poem Anthology" (published by Kadokawa) (*), "My Revolution Square" (published by Shichousha), "The Japan of Atomic Bomb Literature Anthology" (published by Horupu) (*), "Poems Against The War Anthology", joint with USA poets 2003 (publishedby Souhuusha), "Genocide" written with Dr.Ernesto Kahan (published by Nihon Tosho center in June 2006),
2. In Germany: "Seit Jenvem Tag Anthology" (published by Fisher Taschenbuch Verlag)(*),
3. In Romania: "8500 Christs, Les 8500 Christs" (published by Standart)the first edition in 2002 and the second edition in 2003
4. In USA: Internet publishing (
the Official Website), Harmony in New York by WCPPRR
5. In France: "Anthologie Secrete" (will publish by Jean-Paul Mestas )Selected by the editors who compiled the anthology.
6. In Other Countries and Awards:
In 2006 received the Honorary Degree of Doctor in Literature, from World Academy of Arts and Culture (Approved by UNESCO)
In the Newspapers or Magazines of Australia, Brazil, China, Korea (received award in 2006) Mongolia,India, Greece (received award in 2005) and France.
In the Dictionary of 2000 Outstanding People 2003 by International Biographical Centre Cambridge in U.K.
Literary Works translated into 11 Languages from poetry book “8500 Christs” (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Hangul, Chinese, Russian, Romanian, Mongolian, Greek).

(*) Taki Yuriko was the only poet born after the Second World War, to have poetry selected by the editors who compiled the anthologies.

1. Regrets of an Eldest Daughter

My inheritance was a single line.
"I leave all my worldly goods to the younger daughter."
Nothing more.
Though I scoured the will,
"Yuriko" was never mentioned.

Mother and I had never even quarrelled,
And I have ten albums' worth of fond memories.
My husband and I holding hands while Mom pets a swan.
Travelling to France, America.
Trying French wines
And Calvados apple brandy.
Exploring Normandy in a rental car.
Seeing America's West Coast and Yosemite.
Mom looking up at a huge tree and laughing.
All shots filled with happiness.

When my poems came out, I immediately sent them to Mother.
No comment.
The daughter of a high-ranking officer,
She dodged stones thrown by civilians after the war.
Mother idolized the pre-war days,
The days of her beloved, my grandfather.
But my poetry decried them.

When I married, my father, the only man, was already gone.
But Mother never reproached me.
She saw me off without complaint.

In Japan, children look after their parents.
Usually, the sons do it.
Otherwise it falls to the eldest daughter.
When I declared, "I am leaving home to get married,"
Mother must have concluded, "I've been discarded."

My inheritance was a single line.
"I leave all my worldly goods to the younger daughter,"
Nothing more,
"Provided that she devote herself to me
Til death do us part."

My sister never married; she cared for Mother to the end.
And she did not invite me to the funeral.

Translated by John and Deborah Saxon

2. A Dead Child at Hiroshima

The sound of a bat flapping its wings
Is the sound of my knocking?

A hole gapes in the sky
Is the scar of clouds scorched at the scattering of my fresh.

The voice of Emperor Hirohito praying,
Is my alarm clock screaming at me never to sleep.

Look, Mama
My little sisters are playing over my head.
From inside my eye
A single blade of grass
Is about to grow.

Long have my eyes been bone dry
No longer do cry.

3. Like Warsaw

The ice has melted.
A bird’s footprints
On the banks of the Wisla*
It’s springtime in Warsaw.

I saw a picture of
Warsaw -1945.
Gray was its only color.
The bombed-out buildings, the people,
As if covered in ash,
Pure gray.

In that town full of the dead,
People and horses
Wore ash.
Pure gray.

The living, the dead,
Pure gray.

I saw a picture of
Warsaw today.
It’s as through the clock had turned back
Before that gray time.
The red brick walls,
The very cracks in the buildings,
Are just as they were
Before Warsaw was destroyed.

If you walk around
With a map from back then,
There is the bread shop!

Just as it all was,
So it is now.

But where
Are those killed in the
Warsaw Uprising of
August 1st, 1944?

Where is the youth shot and killed
As he poked his head out
From the sewer?

Where are
All the dead?:**

But the bereaved of Warsaw
Steadfastly held to the ideal
Of restoring that city,
That pile of rubble,
To it’s former glory.

They relied on their memories
Of each and every detail,
How much the paint had peeled,
How much the bricks had clipped.

This obsession burned within
So as not to forget
Those who sacrificed their lives
Winning freedom.

Built brand new,
But exactly as long ago,
The town was designated
A World Heritage site.

I saw a picture of Kabul as it was 30 years ago.
Luscious green is everywhere.
A beautiful palace,
And in the park,
A rainbow
Rising up from the fountain.
A library filled with books,
And fields that are ripe for harvest.

Now Kabul wears that same gray,
A rubbish heap,
One of the world’s poorest countries.
It’s Warsaw in 1943.

As a city along the Silk Road,
As in the flourishing days of your past.
Become that Kabul of thirty years ago,
When your city held the stature of a World Heritage site
And many Buddhist statues.

One large power after another has come into Afghanistan
Dropping not food, but bombs.
Selling not medicine, but weapons,
Making Afghanis fight each other,
Laying waste the whole of the country
And extinguishing all hope.

To show that you have not succumbed,
Remember again the Kabul of thirty years past.
Trace each and every memory.
Like Warsaw, rebuild, and become
Magnificent once again.

For your efforts to rebuild,
Your sheer tenacity,
We would gladly name all of Kabul
A World Heritage Site.

And then,
The people of the world
Would visit Afghanistan.

Like the Warsaw of today,
Like the Warsaw that won its freedom.

* The Wisla river is the longest river in Poland. It flows from the Carpathian mountains of North Romania through Krakow and Warsaw to the Baltic Sea.
**Approximately 150,000-200,000 people lost their lives.)

April 2002, Translated into English by Deborah & John Saxon

4. Blessed Are They

Those taken into the
Camp at Auschwitz
Were nonetheless blessed.

Their names had been
Replaced by numbers,
But they could be numbered
Among the dead
After a month or two.

When the Nazi doctor signaled to the right,
Everyone was immediately herded
To the incinerator.
The old, the infirmed,
The children, the weak,
All were compelled to the right.

A kind and gentle voice
Led them to the gas chamber:
“Take a rest and shower.”

Whenever the camp
Became full,
That kindly voice again:
“Take a little break in here.”
Straight to the gas chamber.

After the dropping
Of the atomic bomb,
The dead whose
Corpses remained
Were nonetheless blessed.

For those whose bodies
Melted completely,
Leaving no trace,
Were never counted as missing.

For when an entire
Family or village disappears,
No one is left to look for them.

Translated by Deborah and John Saxon

5. Are you OK?

Just one second on that Day
It happened.
Eyes popped out. Got burned and skin slide down like taking clothes off
Hand and leg were torn off and scattered away in the space
No body was rescued because
Soon after a big fire broken out.

I signed the explanation paper
Before my receiving radiotherapy to the breast
1) acute trouble
inflammation of the skin, heat, sometimes keloid
may be contracting radioactive pneumonia
2) after several years
changing to cell lose in lung, changing to black of skin, becoming atrophied
extending of a capillary, inflammation of the ribs, fracture of ribs
3) If getting it to left breast
According to the USA report, a rate of incidence of myocardial infarction will go up

Doctor said with self-confidence that
But if you have a rate less than this survival rate, this radiotherapy must be best way for relieving pain.

And doctor explained
Do not worry, even though we will have another cancer again, 20 or 30 may be 60
Years later from now

At 61 years after suffering from bombing
Are you OK now who survived two atomic bombs?

Doctor continued
The big point about different from atomic bomb is not genetic damage cause by radioactivity 
Because it is just irradiation for intensive care to one point not all body.

Oh my God!
How are your son and your daughter?
And your grand child?

© Taki Yuriko