Saturday, March 7, 2015

Works from 2014 #3: Book Illustrations for After the Night Rain

Book Illustrations for After the Night Rain
photos © 2015 Mika Johnson
Book Illustrations for After the Night Rain
▲Click to see more details on my portfolio.
Since two weeks ago, I started introducing my past works from late 2013-2014 which I haven't shared on Cats I Know blog or my portfolio. We've been making new photos of them to give some love and freshness to old works. To not miss upcoming images, make sure to follow Cats I Know on Instagram and Facebook. Here are links to Works from 2014 #1 & #2.

The third of this photo series is from late October 2014: Cover art and six black & white illustrations for a book of haiku, After the Night Rain by James G Brueggemann.  

Thanks to my grandfather, a literature teacher and my best friend when I was growing up, I was raised on the Japanese classics, such as Dazai, Akutagawa, Mishima, and Soseki Natsume. If asked, my grandfather would always say he loved haiku the most. He also wrote haiku and read his favorite poems to me on the phone, both his own and his favorite poets.

When I was given the opportunity to illustrate After the Night Rain, in 2014, it naturally inspired me - especially the chapter "Grandfather Haiku", which was a lot like the poems by my grandfather.

Two months after the book came out I flew to Japan, where my grandfather had entered a hospital, terminally ill. The last haiku that he read to me was by Santōka Taneda, a poet he'd never mentioned before.

I go in / I go in / still blue mountains

My grandfather said that this poem captured what he saw and felt just prior to his death. He left this world on January 10th, almost two months before his 82nd birthday, which would have been today. In the spirit of my grandfather's love for this literary form, I am excited to share the work of James G Brueggemann, in the hopes that readers will be inspired by both his haiku and my illustrations.



第三弾の今日は2014年の秋の終わりに出版されたアメリカ人詩人、ジェームスGブルギーマンによる英語の俳句のペーパーバック『After the Night Rain』の表紙と挿絵です。最初の写真はプラハのトラムの中で撮りました。


しかし『After the Night Rain』が無事に出版された2ヶ月後に大好きな祖父が末期癌で入院をすることになり、私も急遽東京へ向かう事になってしまいました。帰国する直前にまだ意識のあった祖父が電話で詠んでくれた最後の俳句は種田山頭火の作品でした。今の自分の気持ちはこういう感じなんだよって。

分け入っても 分け入っても 青い山

私がプラハへ帰国する飛行機に乗る10時間前に静かに息を引き取った祖父。生きていたら今日が82歳の誕生日でした。『After the Night Rain』の作者のジェームスさんも祖父である自分と向き合った俳句をたくさん書いており、それらはまるで私の祖父が手帳に書き残していた俳句のようなのです。英語とか日本語とか関係なくて、俳句って一見なんでもない短い言葉から感じ取れる無数の感情のかたまり、なのかなあとかふと思いました。全然うまく言えないのですけど…。ではまた来週に。
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