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過労死 (Karōshi): A poetry collection

By @cocophony


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–This is a work-in-progress poetry collection, follow me for updates!–

As a writer, I always love coming across new words. As someone who studies Japanese and hopes to be 100% fluent someday, I have even more new words to discover and fall in love with. I saw the characters for the word 過労死 (Karōshi) and thought they looked beautiful. When I looked up the meaning of the word, however, I discovered the meaning of the word to be less and desirable.

From Wikipedia: Karōshi (過労死), which can be translated literally as “overwork death” in Japanese is occupational sudden mortality.

This is apparently is becoming somewhat of a problem in Japan. People die from strokes, usually due to a combination of overworking and starvation. It rather struck me as odd that such beautiful lettering (I have always had an affinity for Japanese characters) could have such a horrible, saddening meaning. But it can be the same way with poetry; beautiful appearance, but the meaning is sad, horrifying, and sometimes even sickening.

After discovering this, I decided to make this poetry collection; each poem will all be based of Japanese words that we don’t have a term for in English. I will include a definition and pronunciation with each word before the poem, although the word will only be in the title. The poems are not about the Japanese words themselves; they are only used as a theme to mask the true meaning of the poem. I hope that when I become fluent in Japanese, I can begin to rewrite these poems in Japanese as well, and put them underneath the English versions.

Anyway, without further hesitation, here is the collection. I will publish one poem a day until the collection is finished, will will most likely take awhile. I hope you enjoy!


読んでくれてありがとうございます! (Thank you very much for reading!)

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