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