Kimi ga yo
Farewell to Manzanar
, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston describes her father singing "Kimi ga yo," the Japanese national anthem.
"It can be a hearty or a plaintive tune, depending on your mood. From Papa, that night, it was a deep-throated lament. Almost invisible in the stove's small glow, tears began running down his face."
Houston translates the lyric as:
"May thy peaceful reign last long.
May it last for thousands of years,
Until this tiny stone will grow
Into a massive rock, and the moss
Will cover it deep and thick."
"It is a patriotic song that can also be read as a proverb," Houston writes, "a personal credo for endurance. The stone can be the kingdom or it can be a man's life."
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