You are facing the only statue of Kenji Miyazawa outside of Japan.
We are grateful to the Miyazawa family for permission to erect it
here. It is our hope that you will appreciate his body of work, including the message contained in this poem, and have a desire to learn about him, his writings, and his homeland.
Kenji Miyazawa was born in Hanamaki, Japan. He lived but 37 years, yet was an accomplished agriculturalist, geologist, astronomer, and author. Kenji's literary works received scant attention during his lifetime, and only two books were published before his passing. Today, he has transcended generations to become one of Japan's most read and beloved authors. His powerful literature crosses national and cultural boundries to offer encouragement to people the world over.
Following the March 2011 earthquake that struck Kenji's native Iwate prefecture, where our sister city, Hanamaki, is located, the words of his poem, "Strong in the Rain," resonated with the people of Japan and around the world as a tribute to the strength and resilience of the Japanese people.
Hot springs, Arkansas and Hanamaki, Japan have been sister cities since 1993, a relationship initiated because of the similarities between the two cities, each having thermal springs, bath houses, natural surroundings,
a desire to ensure a bright future for our children, and a wish to live in a more peaceful world. This statue honors the people of Hanamaki, Japan upon the 20th anniversary of our Sister City friendship.
STRONG IN THE RAIN
Strong in the rain
Strong in the wind
Strong against the summer heat and snow
He is healthy and robust
Free from all desire
He never loses his temper
Nor the quiet smile on his lips
He eats four go
of unpolished rice
Miso and a few vegetables a day
He does not consider himself
In whatever occurs his understanding
Comes from observation and experience
And he never loses sight of things
He lives in a little thatched-roof hut
In a field in the shadows of a pine tree grove
If there is a sick child in the east
He goes there to nurse the child
If there's a tired mother in the west
He goes to her and carries her sheaves
If someone is near death in the south
He goes and says, 'Don't be afraid'
If there are strife and lawsuits in the north
He demands that the people put an end to their pettiness
He weeps at the time of drought
He plods about at a loss during the cold summer
Everyone calls him 'Blockhead'
No one sings his praises
Or takes him to heart