The whale memorial service is at the end of spring,
the time of the flying fish harvest.

When the bell at the seaside temple is struck,
its sound rippling across the water,

the village fishermen in their best clothes
hurry for the temple on the shore

while alone in the open sea, a whale child
weeps in longing for its dead father and mother.

How far the bell resounds across the waters...

Translations by Sally Ito & Michiko Tsuboi / JULA

〈Design descriptions〉

Human prosperity and the value of a whale’s life - these conflicting themes are juxtaposed against each other in this poem, demonstrating the sensibility typical of Misuzu’s work. We paired a series of conflicting motifs to present a visual interpretation of her message.
The navy-blue color (the deep sea) and the light in the windows (the human world). The waves and the stars. The fish and the birds. The whales and the trees. The boats and the books.
The world presented here is one in which mankind and nature can coexist – a theme that holds so much relevance for the issues we face today. This thought-provoking poem is one of the most well-known pieces in Misuzu’s oeuvre.