Hayashi Tadahiko’s 1946 Photo of Mother and Child in the Ruins

I saw this Hayashi Tadahiko (1918 – 1990) photo in an exhibit at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC last October and wondered about the scrawled graffiti about first love in the background. Today I came across a Japanese blog posting that discusses it. Below is my attempt at a translation.

From 2012 posting on blog Praying to Buddha Pusa Who Consoles the Miserable

If you write the word ‘koi‘ (love) in kanji characters, it shows the feeling of threads coming together in a human heart.

Here the kanji character heart 恋 is written in the old style
戀 as we might see it in the late Edo Period Dodoitsu genre of funny poems about love and everyday life.

Now the first love is called the nanzoya. Because first love feels so very different.

Shortly after the end of the war, amidst all the burned-out buildings and destruction, this graffitti on an outer wall called out to us. Next to the graffiti is a mother carrying her child on her back.

It is not just about first love, in the times that photo was taken, “nanzoya?” was everywhere.

From a blog journal.


[I wonder if nanzoya can also be taken as 何造や what have you done? – though that would mean taken zo having a long vowel. ]

There is a Japanese popular song 糸し糸しと言う心 by Chara about a romantic break-up available on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy7klgaZUgU Chara’s lyrics (in Japanese) are at http://j-lyric.net/artist/a00177d/l02a8ec.html

Original text that accompanied Hayashi Tadahiko’s photograph



こい、と言う字を漢字で書けば 糸し糸しと言う心







About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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