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Dealing with the loneliness of running a long-distance life

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The poem "Eiketsu no Asa" (The Morning of Eternal Parting) by Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) is written as a dialogue between himself and his dying younger sister, Toshi, whose lines are in the dialect of their native Iwate Prefecture.

Toshi asks Kenji to fetch some sleet. He obliges, bringing her two bowls of the cold stuff. She then says, "Ora Orade Shitori egumo," which in standard Japanese means, "I will leave this world by myself."

This haunting, unforgettable line uttered by Toshi is the title of a novel, although spelled slightly differently, by Chisako Wakatake, which earned her one of this year's Akutagawa Prizes.

An Iwate native herself, Wakatake uses the local dialect liberally to enrich her story about an........

© The Asahi Shimbun