Lone Wolf And Cub Author Koike Kazuo Tweets On Life, Death & Sickness Translated

Today we’ve translated a series of Tweets by Koike Kazuo – author of various manga and other work including Lone Wolf And Cub/Crying Freeman/Lady Snowblood.

The translated Tweets talk about sickness, or pain, and how it only really exists when it takes possession of our attention. They are from a series that Koike, incisive social commentator and, incidentally, hero to Demon Slayer theme song singer LiSa, posted in the months leading up to his death from pneumonia in 2019. The thoughts are directly related to the physical situation he was in at the time, but they are also universal in their nature. They also deal with more metaphysical ideas of pain, unease and anxiety in the unquiet mind.

Koike Tweet 1

「病を忘れている間は、病ではない」 “You’re not sick when you don’t remember you’re sick”​

Koike Kazuo trans. Peter Head Tweet

Translated English

I love what one of my followers told me, “You’re not sick when you don’t remember you’re sick”.

Whether it is a sickness of the spirit, or of the heart, if you are too focused on yourself, there is no room for the fun stuff, for the stuff that tastes good to come in.

There are plenty of rough things in this world, but choosing where you focus your attention can change the very character of your existence.

Koike Tweet 2

「他愛のない会話でも嬉しい。」 “I’m even grateful for the throw-away interactions”

Koike Kazuo trans. Peter Head Tweet

I am deeply moved by the “ability to converse”. I’m even grateful for the throw-away interactions, “Well, um”, “What do you mean?”.  It may be because I’m in a geriatric hospital, where I see with my own eyes the people that have lost the ability to communicate with those around them, that I think that having someone to talk to, someone who will answer you when you speak to them, is really a wonderful thing. It’s easy to forget though.

Koike Tweet 3

「人生は時間」 “Life is time”

Koike Kazuo trans. Peter Head Tweet

Life is time, I think you would agree.

Right now, each single moment becomes the past, time is spent, we move closer to death.

When you think that way, counterintuitively, it cheers you up.

It’s like “Time is limited, so why not have a crack?”.

“You may as well have as much fun as possible”.

May today be such a day.

Koike Tweet 4

「集中できるということは、「好きの最上級」。 “to concentrate is to achieve the most refined level of love”

Koike Kazuo trans. Peter Head Tweet

To “live a life of concentration” is extremely important. For yourself, for others, for the world outside ourselves. The ability to concentrate is to achieve “the most refined level of love”.

What you love, you treat well.

I appreciate this all the more now that I am sick and find it so much more difficult to concentrate. Take it from me, don’t live your life with half a heart.

It is interesting to look at these Tweets beside 辞世 Jisei – Japanese Death Poems. I’ve translated some of these in the past: Japanese Death Poem 1, Japanese Death Poem 2, Japanese Death Poem 3.

Another reference point are Japanese Hanging Scrolls that also often feature short snippets of wisdom in calligraphy.

I’ve also looked at how social media in Japan has been accused of leading to people taking their own lives, including examing the The Words That Killed Hana Kimura, Pro Wrestler and reality TV star

Unfamiliar words for me

病 やまい、びょう 1. Pain, trouble 2. Illness

疎通 そつう Mutual understanding

他愛のない たわいのない Trifling, silly

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

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