詩文翻譯-English Translation


一‧2006年7月,美國聖塔芭芭拉加州大學,杜國清教授也在《台灣文學英譯叢刊》第十九集登出「歌唱鹽分地帶的春天」及「思想」。2008年11月,《台灣文學英譯叢刊》第二十三集又登出「誰能料想三月會做洪水」英譯詩。看來他的詩魂已經翩然歸來,不久將陸續頌揚於他所鍾愛的鄉土

1‧Song on the Spring of Saline Zone

歌唱鹽分地帶的春天

像先驅怎者的志氣

像殉教者的熱情

我們都是年輕人

年輕人就是我們的矜持

同志呀團結起來!

1936年是屬於我們的年

拿著正義的劍

來迎接這新春節

者聖者的誠實

者處女的純真

我們都應學習

學習

是我們的力量

同志呀‧要前進行

鹽分地帶是我們的故鄉

讓真理的花朵

來開在這塊荒野上

Wu Hsin-jung

Hight-spirited like pioneers,

Passionate like martyrs,

We are all young

and youth is our pride.

Comrades be united.

The year 1936 is ours.

Let us use the sword of justice

to gree this New Spring.

Honest like a sage,

Pure like a virgin,

We are all students

And learning is our strength.

Comrades,let us advance.

The Saline Zone is our homeland.

Let us have the flower of truch

Bloom in this wild field.

2‧Thought

思想

沒有語言的詩人們喲

如果歌唱就是你們的生命

那就放懷歌唱吧

但可別殘忍地胡亂寫

對你們再做那樣的事是沒意義的

高爾基教過那人民

詩人要學斯拉夫語法

沒有語言的詩人們喲

泰戈爾以好美妙的聲音

歌唱印度的有閑哲學

但約翰牛的商用語

給予諾貝爾獎評審委員

驚喜和滿足嗎?

終究給與印度人什麼呢?

從思想逃避的詩人們喲

如果做夢就是你們的一切

就大做其夢吧

但最後你們將有醒來的時刻

那時你們將驚駭顫慄

怎麼,你們寫的美麗的詩底死屍

竟只有那些無聊的人們在玩弄!

【四段英文只譯一、二、三段】

Poets who have no words

If singing is your life,

You should sing more.

But stop in scribbling so viciously.

It is meaningless to demand more than that of you.

Gorky taught his pepole:

Poets,lean expressions in the Slavic language.

Poets who have no words,

Tagore in his very beautiful voice

Sang India’s leisured philosophy.

But his use of John Bull’s commercial terms

Though it may have given the Nobel prize Elvalution Committee

Delight and satisfaction,

Ultimately how did it benefit India?

Poets who escape from thought,

If dreaming  is everything to you,

You should dream even more.

But there will be a time when you awaken.

At that time you may shudder with astonishment

To see how tedious people are trifling

With the carcasses of the poem you have written.

3誰能料想三月會做洪水

誰能料想三月會做洪水!

那突然的巨浪,

竟沖破這樣堅固的防堤;

那無情的巨浪,

竟流毀這樣美麗的田園;

那激怒的巨浪,

竟淹沒這樣平和的城鎮。

誰能料想三月會做洪水!

有一個勇敢的青年,

他曾有過洋的經驗,

但未到防堤被狂浪捲去了。

有一個理智的青年,

他懷抱新進的理論,

但未到田園就被泥海埋去了。

有一個熱血的青年,

他將發無限的純情,

但未到城鎮就被崩山壓去了。

誰能料想三月會做洪水!

洪水一過滿地平坡!

啊!這樣國土何時能夠再建?

洪水一過家散人亡!

啊!這樣民族何時能夠復興?

洪水一過人心如灰!

啊!這樣社會何時能夠新生?

【英文只譯一、二、六段】

Who Would Have Thought it WOULD Flood in March

Wu Sin-rong

Translated by Lucas Klein

Who would have thought it would flood in March!

That sudden tidal wave,

Crashing away such astrong levee;

That indifferent trdal wave,

Overflowing such beautiful fields;

That furious tidal wave;

Drowning such a peaceable town.

Who would have thought it would flood in March!

There was a brave young mam,

Who had been out to sea,

But before reaching the dam he was swept away by the wild

Waves.

There was a rational young man,

Who embraced the new theories,

But before reaching the fieids was buried by a muddy sea.

There was a hot-blooded young mam,

Who had limitless passion,

But before reaching the town he was crushed by the crumbling

Mountains.

Who would have thought it would flood in March!

When the flood came families broke up and people disappeared!

Oh!When could such a country be rebuilt?

When the flood came homes were wrecked into fragmented

families!

Oh!   When could such a people be revived?

When the flood came our hearts wereas ash!

Oh!When could such a societyfind life again?

1947

二‧緬 懷 小 雅 園

緬 懷「小雅 園」,感謝住美國馬里蘭州摯友唐仲明同學 之夫人與女兒□(唐以蓮)Irene Tang & Crysal Tang,花費心血翻譯此文,謹致萬分謝意!

Introduction

Althoughmy father Wu Shing Zong left Xiao Ya Garden (Dainty Garden) forty years ago,our family feels he has left on a long journey from home.  Often times, old friends and locals wouldremind us during literature camp, scholastic panel on “SaltZone Literature” by mentioning my father’s name and praising his poetry.  When friendly critics cited hiswork, we felt his presence.  Since 1933 Xiao Ya Garden has been a meeting place for local youth.  However, few people know that Xiao Ya Gardenwas where Wu Shing Zong wrote, rewrote, recited and revised his work.  Now we have collected father’s journals andthis is the introduction to our home where poets and writers once congregated!

Xiao-YaGarden’s Creation and Events

Wu Shing Zong was born in Generalsville (Jiang jyunTownship), Tainan province in 1907.In 1925 he went to Japan and studied medicine.  When he completed his studies in 1932, he returned to Taiwan.  He settled in Chia Lee(Jiali Township) and built a hospital there. Between 1932 and 1967 he dedicated his life to family medicine and Chinese literary circles. Until 1940 he worked hard as a local leader to unite  Salt Zone
Literature and Taiwan’s culture.  In her biography of Wu Shing Zong, Ms. Shih Yee Ling wrote, “Mr. Wu created poetic works about agricultural life and farmers’ concerns. His works promoted human
rights and opposed Japanese tyranny, colonialism, and capitalism.” [It is important to note that from 1895 until 1945, Taiwan was under the control of Japan.  The Taiwanese people were forced to learn Japanese. Through his use of Chinese poetry, Mr. Wu protested the Japanese control of Taiwan.] In 1942, Mr. Wu wrote “Cry for My Beloved Wife’s
Passing,” this poem reflected true love and respect and depicted the real
Taiwan.Unfortunately Mr. Wu’s literary endeavors were stopped when World War II started.  In July 1943, Mr. Wu married Lin Zong Lang,
and the story of Xiao Ya Garden started a new chapter.  In his journals, father expressed how hard he to preserve Xiao Ya Garden.  The house is
situated in the center of Chia Lee(Jiali Township),south of Ging Tang Temple and Shan Shing Temple.  Xiao Ya Garden’s east end is the back yard of the old Chia Lee Hospital and is presently the south end of Shing Seng Hospital.  On October, 1933, Wu Sheun Tzau, Wu Shing Zong’s father named the garden “Yee Dong Tien’s Ya Garden.”  It had a ward for patients and an octagonal gazebo.  InOctober 30 1933, Wu Shing Zong renamed it Xiao Ya Garden.  A small red brick wall surrounds Xiao Ya Garden.  The Garden has approximately 10,000 square feet.The main structures are the Xiao Lang Shan Fang 琑琅山房 and the eight corner
gazebo.  Shan Fang is at the northern end of the property.

The Garden’s Buildings

In 1942, Father in honor of my mother’s
memory rechristened the patient ward “Shiao Lang Shan Fang.” The word “Shiao
Lang” is a synonym in Taiwanese to “Xiao Long” 蕭壟which is what the Jiali
township was called during the Ching Dynasty. During Japanese occupation, the
township was renamed “JiaLi”. “Xiao Long” was part of the territory of the
aborigine Shee Lah Ya Tribe that once occupied much of Southern Taiwan. Therefore,my father declared himself as the master of “Xiao
Long Shan Fang” or “Xiao Long Manor”.

In Japanese, he wrote a poem, “In Memory of
My Wife” and printed it in the literary magazine “Taiwan Literature.”In December 1942, the entire structure was completed.  The old west room remained a ward.  The northern wall in the central room had my mom’s memorial and photo.
When the property was renovated in 1951, the west end became the master
bedroom and study, the east end was the children’s living area and the central
room became the children’s study.  The northern wall of the central room had shelves honoring Buddha and my mother and ancestors.  The lower windows were framed with couplets – “Metal Shoulder Upholds Justice” and “Quicken Wits by Writing Articles.”  On the front door an old thin wood carving features Xiao Long Manor’s silhouette.  Fifty feet south of the building is the octagonal gazebo.  The gazebo has three entry steps on each side.  A red brick sidewalk connected this gazebo to the main hospital bolding on the east end and the residential section Xiao Long Manor to the north. A wooden fence on all four sides, an octagonal stone table with round stone stools sat at its center.  This was my favorite play area as a child, and on sunny summer days, father often entertained guests
here.  It was also the meeting place for the Salt Zone regional literary group.  They produced four volumes of old writings,which are now kept at National Taiwan Literature Archive.

The Garden’s Rebirth

On October 19, 1954, my father was released from jail.  He reconstructed Xiao Ya Manor.  The north eastern corner served as a vegetable garden and pig pen.  In between the residential building and gazebo he cultivated four flower gardens:  sweet scented osmanthus, mountain laurel,yellow geng, and pomegranate.  Now
replanted in the center are roses, June flowers, dahlia, lilies, mums, aloe,golden needle, and various fruit trees. In the summer time we often catche Cicadas on the Longan tree and seized Bronze Tortoise (a type od Beatle) on the Wax apple tree . To honor my mother’s memory, father planted some Mao-Shee (her maiden name was Mao).  Each autumn we eat the fruits.  It has a light fragrance.  Sough of the gazebo has a grape vineyard.  Adults enjoyed watching it,but the children kept testing the grapes, hoping the grape would stop being so bitter and sour!March
is the time grapefruit varieties spread fragrant blossoms.  In late autumn, the fruits of our favorite white pulp grapefruit ripened.  We also had guava, shi chia, star fruit, oranges, dates, mangoes and papayas.  Many animals often wandered under these trees– ducks, turkeys, hens, chickens, goats and dogs.  My siblings and I played there.  We rode our tricycles, caught bugs, had cricket fights, made sweet potatoes in the ashes, and played Chinese yo-yo.  It was a true playground.  Regardless of the weather and season changes,father maintained his garden well.  Over the years our family marked many milestones there including birthdays,
weddings, and graduations.The southwestern corner of the property had many banana plants.  During their lifetime the trees produced many bananas.  However, when they deteriorated,dad replaced them with “7 goodness bamboo” in 1955.  We also planted golden bamboo plants behind his bronze statue in Cheung Shan Park, so he can continue to enjoy his poetic instinct.

In Father’s Honor – “Crane Dream Manor”夢鶴莊

In April 1965 he renamed his retreat as “Dream Crane Lodge” he intended to retire here and pursue his poetry writing.  He often mentioned “continued building, can add years and health.”  For two years he still tried to rebuild the manor, adding rooms to the hospital until he passed away on 3/9/1967.  My four brothers and I started to build our homes and reshape the manor.  In April 1964 “Shing-Seng Hospital” was completed.By the Spring of 1950, Father was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  In those days, no effective medicine was available for high blood pressure.  From then on, he was at risk of having a stroke.  After the manor was rebuilt, he added chicken coops in 1951.  In November of 1957 he added brick enforced pillars to the gazebo, and redid the roof in preparation of his oldest son’s wedding 1n 1958.  In 1963, Father reused materials from the original (Japanese style) house to add a left wing which resembled the original structure.  He called the Japanese style house the“Hermit Lodge”世外居 and named the study room “Crane Dream Manor”夢鶴莊 after his alias.It waswithin the“Crane Dream Manor” he completed the “Tainan Township Journal” and “Nan Literary Magazine.” (Tainan County Culture Science Bibliography or Nanying Cultural Scince Bibliography Magazine)”. At the same time, he also rebuilt the roof of the gazebo.

Father Wu’s Literary Pursuits

Father entered jail after the Feb 28, 1947 revolt, and the 1954 “white fear.”  While imprisoned he was tortured physically and emotionally.  When he became an assembly man in the township, his shame was cleansed, but he also lost his revolutionary spirit.  He returned to literature and wrote “92 Articles” in Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese.In March 1997, Tainan culture center published “Wu Shing Zong Collections.”  In the second volume he explained his excellent critique of liberal poetry.Brother Lui Shing Chang wrote in “Hometown Memorial Song” Father used Taiwanese (mother tongue) effectively expressed the villager and farming society’s longings.  While he preferred using Japanese for logical writing, he urged his fellow members to use Taiwanese for creative writing.Mr. Chen Fang Ming pointed out “Thoughts” may be a philosophical and poetic expression from father.  Mr. Chen Fang Ming and Huang Chin Chun pointed to “Chimney” as representing the workingman’s objections to the exploits of capitalism.After World War II, father only wrote 36 poems in Chinese.  It was a new poetry style due to language barrier (Taiwanese v. Mandarin) much smaller than pre WWII.  Father was more satisfied.  Professor Yang Yun Ping’s critiqued after reading “Flood” poem, “It was a good work, not less than Wang Bei Yuan’s poems.” OnJuly 9 1948, Father completed his autobiography “ChenYing  Self Portrait.”震瀛自傳.The original manuscript is now in “National Taiwan University Literature Archive.” In 1952,he used the autobiography as a base and changed the names of those still living to protect them during the post war period.The post war period had special curfew times which prohibit critiques of government.  He used novel style and completed “These Times This Place” – a memoir of his life.  Ms. Shih Yee Ling believed that “These Times This Place” would be a reminder of the scholars of Father’s generation.  Father’s work reflected a rural lifestyle and could be used as a living history.From 1958 until 1967 “Shiao Lan Manor Snapshots” had 34
articles.  These articles used Mandarin,Taiwanese, and Japanese idioms to describe news, satires and his feelings.  On November 12, 1962, when Tainan County Kwen-yin Poetry Group started, Father was nominated as the president. When he attempted to revolutionize ancient Chinese writing styles, Father succeeded to a limited degree.  In 1966, Father published his works in a collection titled: “ChengYing Impressions & Thoughts.”震瀛隨想. Prior to the publication,father revised the prologue three times over five years.  The collection included works in memory of his first wife, poems, and interviews. To avoid government censorship, Father deleted any ‘liberal’ thoughts in his work.  On the final page of his book,Father had a special seal imprinted on imported Japanese handmade paper. 藏書票Exlibris As president of the NanYing Magazine,father helped edit and publish 12 volumes and 18issues of “Tainan County Cultural Science Bibliography or NanYing C.S.B Magazine” between 1953 and 1967.he published thirteen volumes of “Tainan County Records.” Between 1955 and 1965. He wrote the volumes based on interviews with village elders and personal visits to locations in Tainan.   He obtained first hand materials to edit these literary journals.  I was fortunate enough to accompany my father on several interviews.  I learned to enjoy reporting.  As a busy doctor still devoting time to literary work, Father aged rapidly.  Father’s patients and fellow townspeople referred to him as a county historian.  He compiled and edited Happy Go Lucky Dong Tien Poems《忘憂洞天詩集》,” “Cheng Ging Fu Poems”《鄭靜夫詩集》 andGing Tang Temple and Shan Shing Temple《金唐殿善行寺沿革誌 》  “Kwen-sun Temple History Records《南鯤鯓廟代天府沿革誌》.  During this time, he was using the alias“History Narrator”(史民) mirroring his life mission to be the documenter of history.

His Medical Career andCommunity Endeavors

As a doctor, Wu Shing Yunlived a simple life.  He worked at Tokyo Hospital for the Poor for six months after completing medical school.  He then returned to Taiwan to practice family medicine in the rural area of Chia-Lee. As the local doctor he advocated family planning and vaccinations.  At the time, Taiwan was still under Japanese rule and neither free health clinics nor mandatory vaccinations existed.  During epidemics of Japanese meningitis,cholera, and small pox, Father volunteered his services. In 1960, Father opened a new hospital – Northgate General Hospital with three other doctors to provide surgical, obstetric and pediatric care. Although that hospital closed in 1964, it was a good foundation for the present hospital “Shing Seng – New Life” that is operating today. He helped to establish health insurance for government employees and laborers.  His greatest regret was not pursuing his creative writing.  During his later years, he fought a good battle in promoting health care for all people –
government employees, laborers, farmers, etc.

Father’sPigeons

Father passed away nearly forty years ago.  His spirit still lives in our hearts.  Our family members often feel that he could simply walk out of the photos.  When our siblings meet, we fondly recall father’s delicious cooking.  We vividly describe memories of eating rice cake while eagerly sitting by the pottery stove waiting for grilled octopus.  The conversations usually include father’s medical anecdotes, with at least one person describing his carrier pigeons that he used to send and receive medical information. Each time father answered a call to check on a patient, you would see a red flag at the front gate to the house.  When he finished treating the patient, he would release one of his mail pigeons so the family member waiting at the hospital could get the prescription filled.  Later he rode a motorcycle from one village to another.  That way he could visit up to twenty patients in half a day.Villages called him “New Western Medical Guru” as a nick name.

MyFather and Me

When I was seven years old during WWII there were still many air attacks.  Father dug 4 bomb shelters in Xiao Ya Manor for the entire family to use during emergencies and air raids.  I often heard airplanes, screams, shoot outs, and explosions.  It still haunts me to this day.  One day, father gave me a ride on his bicycle from Chiang Gung to Chia Lee.While en route, an air raid occurred, so we climbed into a ditch.  When the raid was over, we climbed out of the ditch covered in dirt and sweat.  We looked at each other and grinned because we were unhurt.Until I started middle school, Father would trim my nails couple of weeks. I really enjoyed the attention and demonstration of his love.  During the Japanese rule after WWII, Father would often play checkers.  Father did not drink liquor or play mah-jongg, but he did love checkers.  He created two sets of six inch thick checker boards.  He would often play his friends while having a lively debate.  My
brothers and I would watch in fascination, and to this day we also enjoy playing the brain testing game!On October 9, 1954, I was a freshman in high school.  My brothers and sisters were away at boarding schools.  Without warning or reason, I
watched my father get taken to prison.He left without saying a word.  I felt helpless, alone and scared to death.Four months later Father returned home.

PhotoAlbums

Father left us many photos – approximately 2276, which dated from 1912 until 1967- and several journals.  His collections of poems and ancient writings helped us relive the time when Father wrote about history, culture, and contemporary news.He tried to preserve our homestead and family history by methodically
taking pictures and writing notes.  We all shared in his love for literature, culture, friends, travel and political suffering.  His photos chronicled each sibling’s first month, 4 month, 1 year, first day of school, annual school photos, wedding and eventually their children.We still enjoy seeing these photos and sharing stories of Xiao Ya Manor.

A Statue in His Memory

OnMarch 27, 1942, when the grapefruit blossoms were in full bloom, mother – Mao Sheu passed away. Father passed exactly twenty five years later. On March 27,1997, the county government honored father for his work in preserving local
history and literature.  In the same year, the county government commissioned a bronze statue of father’s likeness.  The statue is in Chung Shan Park and provided closure to our family.In celebration of what would have been Wu Shing Zong’s 100th birthday,the National Taiwan literature Archive published “Complete Diary 1933-1967” .Our family deeply appreciated this honor.  Since he was the oldest son, Father had many economic and mental burdens which are still hard for us to comprehend.  Perhaps these burdens contributed to his relatively early passing.  Father never complained about providing an education for his family – which included his siblings and later on his own children, and for that we are grateful.Father’s honest, loyal, and brave character suffered greatly due to the politics of his time.  We wish he could live in today’s peaceful and free society.  One comfort is seeing local children climbing and playing around Wu Shing Zong’s statue in the park.  With all the children, Father is never lonely.

This article was written by Dr. Wu Nan Tu.

Translated by Irene & Crystal Tang

1st volume of “Saltwater Land Literature”
December 1, 2005

Final edition November 11, 2008

 

三‧良き文章、しき文章(好文章、壞文章) /1943-5-24/《興南新聞》/2010年 月,美國德州大學張誦聖教授和美國加州大學奚密教授編譯《台灣文學史料彙編》中有吳新榮的〈好文章‧壞文章〉節譯。將是台灣文學史上具有重要及長遠影響的文獻之一。此文就有了日、中、英版本。這篇英譯文是吳新榮先生發表在昭和十八年(1943年)五月二十四日的《興南新聞》上的文章──〈好文章‧壞文章〉的後半段,因為前半段主要在評論當時各雜誌上的一些「好文章」,與「狗屎現實主義」的「壞文章」爭論無關。

好文章,壞文章(中文譯文)

(前略)

我無意在這裡批評《源氏物語》或《萬葉集》,也不想論議日本文學或外國文學的問題。然而。自幼受日本教育長大的我,當然比對其他任何文學更愛好日本的文學精神,而且更能理解日本文學,因此,對於葉石濤把張文環、呂赫若的作品說成好像是用日本語寫的外國文章一樣,真白百思不解;像這樣的故意的蔑視,絕對不是如葉石濤自己所說的「實現遠大的理想」的方法,更不是「八紘一宇」的真精神。眾所周知的,張文環是因為〈夜猿〉、〈閹雞〉的成就而得到了「皇民奉公會」的「台灣文化獎」的;葉石濤卻質疑它的世界觀或它的歷史性有這樣那樣的問題,好像說這些作品是不正當的一樣;很明顯的,他的批評已侮辱了「皇民奉公會」的權威;因此,倒是他自己本身首先應該被質疑到底有沒有「皇民意識」。現在台灣是日本的重要的一部分,過去的台灣也依日本而存在,所以,否定過去的台灣的人也就是否定現在的台灣,不得不說是相當「非國民」的。

如果張文環的作品記錄了台灣的過去的生活是不應該的話,那麼西川滿的《赤崁記》或〈龍脈〉應該如何去評價呢?同樣被指責為「回不來的夢的故事」,那也是當然的吧!葉石濤又指責張文環的文章「把日本語用台灣式的語法來寫」,我認為恰恰相反,實際上張文環的文章是「把台灣話以日本語的用法來寫」的;這樣寫,非但不覺得有任何不妥之處,反而我們應當為這種日本語的偉大的發展性,進而為日本人的偉大的包容性而覺得高興才對。

前面我說過,西川滿的〈赤崁記〉等作品同樣也是「回不來的夢的故事」;實際上,我對這種回不來的夢的故事是懷著無限的喜愛的,記得我曾經忍著激動的心情讀過這種作品。幾年前,我曾以「象牙塔的鬼」來臭罵過藝術至上主義者,如果這〈赤崁記〉是藝術至上主義的作品的話,我想,現今有像這樣的藝術至上主義也並不壞。然而,我風聞西川滿早已不知在何時拋棄了「美的追求」,而以「悲壯的決意」再出發了!

可能是我寄給雜誌的預約金用完的關係,實際上〈文藝台灣〉早已不再寄來給我了,因此使我近來也失去了接近西川滿的咳聲的機會;如果前述的風聞屬實的話,我們不吝惜讚美他的壯舉,不過,切勿有總覺得他的壯舉好像與他的性格不合的想法,那才是挺要緊的呢。請銘記,這決不是如人說的為了「情面」而寫的恭維的話,我只是禁不住對那些以文藝批評的美名行無用的謾罵之輩的憐憫之情,遂行文至此。

 

○    這篇譯文是吳新榮先生發表在昭和十八年(1943年)五月二十四日的《興南新聞》上的文章──〈好文章,壞文章〉的後半段,因為前半段主要在評論當時各雜誌上的一些「好文章」,與「狗屎現實主義」的爭論無關,所以不得不割愛;在此謹向喜愛吳新榮先生的作品的朋友,致十二分的歉意。

好文章,壞文章(英文譯文)

Good Writing, Bad Writing

Wu Xinrong

              Of recent articles that I have read, one that I really liked was artist Tateishi Tetsuomi’s article in the May issue of Minzoku Taiwan (Folklore Taiwan) titled “Geinô saitengeki no hi” (Arts Festival Day). Although I have read writing that praises Tateishi’s essay, I have come to believe that the praise is more for his art than for the actual essay. However, after reading “Arts Festival Day,” I thought that it would be good for honorable Tateishi who has become in actuality a member of the Public Arts Council to also have the concurrent post of being a member of the essay section of the Public Literature Council.

At first, I had no interest with phrases such as “the esteemed artist,” thinking they had somehow become commonplace. Whether the honorable Tetsuomi also thinks the Chinese character “haku” (master) is unnecessary, I am not sure, but still when presenting the poet Yang Yunping,  he writes “Yang Yunping master poet” (揚雲萍詩伯). I remember that during our school days, Mr. Yang’s “Hermit” had received fame and praise. Therefore, I wonder if in place of  “master,” if “Yang Yunping esteemed poet” had been written, would Mr. Yunping have objected? Furthermore, in a similar way, I wonder if showing my respect to Mr. Tetsuomi by calling him “Tetsuomi the esteemed artist” would this be rejected as well? Looking at the trajectories of both men, certainly, they deserve to be called “esteemed artist” and “esteemed poet.”

The great artist Mr. Yang serves as both a member of the poetry division of the Public Literature Council as well as a member of the literary criticism division. For this reason, I have come across both his poetry as well as his critical essays. Recently, when I read in Kônan shinbun (Southern reconstruction paper), the article “Bungei jigen” (Literary Times), I was quite moved.

Some criticism of Taiwan Bungaku [Taiwanese Literature] (Summer edition) is that its poetry section is weak.  Because I, too, am someone who has written bad poetry, I too deserve this criticism. From now on I have decided not to write inappropriate material because I do not have the talent. I urge the great poets to write. [I am guessing. I can’t read the kanji here it is blotchy in all prints]. However, other poets’ styles, such as Nakamura Kôsuke is not bad. In the previous spring edition I read somewhere about “a conversation with  Rotai sanshi (老鉱山士???) who had an audience with the chamberlain” and although it was said that his “poem could not be sold,“ I think it was great.

The one thing I want to say in reference to the summer edition of “Taiwan bungaku” (Taiwanese literature) is that the literature column, looking at it from a Taiwanese standard, is the best. In particular, Sakaguchi Reiko’s “Light” is an example of a story in which one can read happily about the Japanese spirit. To what degree this beautiful short story touches our hearts without using ten million words and declarations to explain the Japanese spirit is something I can not fathom. In this issue[1] there is also Yang Kui’s “In Remembrance of Master Yorioki”, the ending is as follows:

Hidden in the nook of a street corner was the figure of an old man hunchedover wiping away his tears. Was it because he did not have the resources to go to the street fair? Why could I not understand his feelings for such a common street fair? No matter who you are, I see your tears. To the wellspring of my heart which can not harden to your tears that have no purpose…

As I read this, suddenly I started to cry. Even though I had met Master Yorioki and knew him well, the reason tears welled up inside me was due to Yang Kui’s writing style.

If it is reasonable to praise good writing, then it would seem that it is natural to criticize bad writing. For example, in Ye Shitao’s “An Open Letter to the People,” I am not able to understand its good style. I do not know Mr. Wong Wai Min(世外民).  Still, even though I read this work, I remember nothing now. Moreover, although Ye Shitao’s “Open Letter” has 12 lines, I think there are no flaws of any kind. Still as the society of Imperial literature progresses, because it is directing literary movements, it is clear that the target of literature is Japan’s imperial subjects. Thus, even though I do not know The Tale of Genji or The Manyôshu (A Collection of 10,000 Leaves), as an imperial subject and as a person who loves literature, it is not out of place by any means to give expression to these old words.

By commenting on The Tale of Genji and A Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves here, I have no intention of debating Japanese versus foreign literature. However, I, who was educated in a Japanese style from the time I was a young boy, have felt a love for the spirit of Japanese literature more than any other literature, and as one might expect, I understand Japanese literature more than other works of literature. Thus, for someone like Mr Ye who states that the works of Zhang Wenhuan and Lu Heruo are foreign works of literature because they are written in Japanese, this is a painful thing for me to grasp. For this reason, there seems to be a conscious absent-mindedness for someone like Zhang Wenhuan whose works “Night Monkey” and “Cockfight” received the Taiwan Culture Award from the Imperial Subjects for Patriotic Services Society, even though these works certainly do not reflect the style that Ye Shitao himself argues for of “putting into reality a noble ideal,” and it goes without saying, that these works do not reflect a “brotherhood for all people.[2] However, as for Mr. Ye’s work, whether his worldview and his historical sense are written in a way that is accurate or not, at the very least he is a person who has contempt for the authority of the Imperial Subjects for Patriotic Services Society. So it follows, that even he is a person who must ask first and foremost about the existence of an Imperial subject consciousness. Because Taiwan is an important part of Japan today, most certainly it had to have an existence as part of Japan in the past as well. Consequently, people who deny Taiwan’s past, also deny Taiwan’s present, and thus they must be called unpatriotic.

If the works of Zhang Wenhuan that record the past life were wrong, then what kind of criticism would there be about  Nishikawa Mistsuru’s “The Tale of Red Deceipt” (赤嵌記 Sekikan)” and “Dragon’s Vein” (龍脈, Rômyaku)”? And similarly, “A Tale of a Past Dream of No Return” (返らぬ昔の夢物語)? It seems it can’t be helped. Criticism of Mr. Ye and Mr. Zhang’s writing is that “they are using a Taiwanese style in their Japanese.” However, I want to say that Mr. Zhang’s writing “uses a Japanese style in his Taiwanese.” We are not imitating an uncompromising position. I think that developing our Japanese and understanding the nature of Japanese people is something we should happily embrace.

I have written about Nishikawa Mitsuru’s “A Tale of Red Deceit” and “A Tale of a Past Dream of No Return.” In truth, I am a great fan of dream tales. As I feel the pulse of my heart, I recall reading these stories. Several years ago I denounced adherents of artistic supremacy in terms of works such as “The Demon of the Ivory Pagoda” 象牙塔の鬼. However, if “A Tale of Red Deceit” can be considered a work of artistic supremacy, then I think artistic supremacy is not such a bad thing. I have heard that Mr. Nishikawa’s “The Pursuit of Beauty” (美の追求) and “Tragic Decisions” (悲壮な決意) have been republished.

In truth, whether due to the advance being cut, the chance to hear Mr. Nishikawa Mitsuru’s husky voice has been lost because Bungei Taiwan has been stopped. So if the previously written rumors are true, I will not be stingy in my praise of such heroic efforts. But, it is important that this praise fits in with the personality of the writer. Thus, bearing this in mind, writing out of a sense of what someone has called “obligation” is not flattery.  Still, I find it difficult to repress feelings of compassion toward my fellow colleagues who needlessly criticize without a reason in the name of literary criticism, and thus finally, here I have chosen to write this.


[1] The issue is Taiwan Bungaku, April, 1943, vol. 3, no 2.

[2] The Imperial Subjects for Patriotic Services (公民奉公会 Kômin hôkôkai) was established in 1941 in Taiwan to encourage wartime mobilization. See: Ts’ai Hui-Yu Caroline, “Shaping Administration in Colonial Taiwan, 1895–1945,” in Taiwan Under Japanese Colonial Rule, 1895–1945, Liao Ping-hui and David Der-wei Wang, eds. Columbia University Press, 2006, pp. 97-121.

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