SBP Blog

Stone Bridge Cafe: "Sugihara"

Thomas Joel - Thursday, January 04, 2018

Stone Bridge Cafe is a bi-weekly online series from Stone Bridge Press devoted to bringing readers short stories, poems, non-fiction pieces, photographs, and artwork from and/or about East Asia. For submission guidelines and info, follow the link at the bottom of this post.

On the menu this week is an evocative historical poem written by Brandon Marlon that delves into the magnanimous mind of Chiune Sugihara, the vice consul for the Japanese Empire in Lithuania who risked his and his family's lives to help thousands of Jews flee Europe during WWII by issuing transit visas that allowed them to escape through Japanese territory.
 
This is a poem of one man's humanitarian legacy, of profound courage and human hope in the face of heinous tyranny and corrosive evil. If all hope in humanity is lost, one need only look to Sugihara for reassurance: there is goodness in this world, however cold it may get. Marlon's beautifully wrought poem is an ode to Sugihara as the very embodiment of that deeply comforting reassurance.
 
☀☀☀
 
Sugihara
 
 
The Kaunas desk job was unenviable, war-torn Europe
lacking the amenities of elsewhere just then,
and little did he fathom in advance
how nimble-fingered he would become
in the name of humaneness toward strangers.
 
His life-saving pen could hardly keep up with
Dutch counterparts partnering
with him in clandestine humanitarianism,
the defiant rescue of Jewish refugees
via the unauthorized issuance of transit visas.
 
To the Japanese no-no of disobeying orders,
the man of conscience said yes-yes, best believe.
Diplomatic cables from Foreign Ministry superiors
were disregarded; a higher law overruled
bureaucratic dictates from afar. Insubordination
was the order of the day as altruism trumped apathy.
 
In Japanese fashion, the consul-general suppressed
his deeds despite plucking like brands from an inferno
queue-weary beings by the thousands
who recognized him for his nimbus and wings,
for the unworldly mercy his hand imparted.
 
Witnessing humanity tarnished, he determined to burnish.
Neither for monuments nor museums
did he gamble livelihood and career,
but for the greater legacy of a good name
now crowned with immortality.

 

☀☀☀

Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 225+ publications in 27 countries. Visit his website at: www.brandonmarlon.com.

If you would like to submit your own work to Stone Bridge Cafe, follow this link for submission info and guidelines: http://www.stonebridge.com/sbp-blog/stone-bridge-cafe-guidelines-submission-info

Like our blog? Please share it!

Categories

Subscribe to the SBP Mailing List

New Releases

Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan


Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

China Smart


Essential essays on all things Chinese that inform and entertain travelers, students, and anyone working or living in China

Forty-Seven Samurai


One of the most spectacular vendettas ever: the history and haiku behind the mass-suicide featured in the 2013 film 47 Ronin

Oh, Tama!


A deeply eccentric novel about lives and connections—and a cat of course—in 1980s Tokyo: witty, offbeat, and strangely profound.

Tag Cloud

japan guide Shoah walt disney expert frederik schodt studying in japan jared cook WWII Language politics and prose t.k. nakagaki haibun interfaith travel Japan comic history memoir in japan China kansuke naka mieko kanai Nikolas Bunton new york events book reviews matcha trip janet pocorobba expat traditional translators Children's Books classic japanese literature dirt and water forest gander book hoarding japan travel the millions japanese travel The Colorado Review stone bridge cafe nazi tokyo a mejiro novel controversy journal of a zen monk's wife eli lieberman learning instruments in japan kris kosaka buddhism donald keene eating in japan announcement Poetry japan custom hiroaki sato gratitude in japan world literature today Translation memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist why we write podcast japanese classic forty seven samurai Japanese aesthetics kyoto asian review of books luke patitsas Coming of Age Day etiquette budhist swastika japan travel guide damian flanagan death black jack japanese cutlure lucille cara kimba the white lion peace frank beyer World War Two mentorship in japan gaijin paul mccarthy diary travel to japan blurb osaka william f sibley japanese bath japan today ancient symbol author event japan trip holden caufield Asian Studies dazai Tokyo Olympics pacific rim review of books zen monks wife' china What You Don’t Know, What You Need to Know— A Past & Present Guide to History, Culture, Society, Language publicity sensei and me Japan the buddhist swastika takuma sminkey publishing zen Spring Festival miswest book review swastika tk nakagaki Korea photography association of jewish libraries Christianity astrology washington dc AAS society podcast the hidden writer japanese books japan etiquette japanese to english ex pat literature religion journal japan travel etiquette rachel manley what do in japan learning in japan musical the inland sea american shamisen Art/Design diymfa lions roar chinese comics a memoir film criterion Chinese Astrology japan behavior Children's Literature japan restaurant hate japanese culture nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara purification 47 samurai gaijin pot zen monk wife forewrod reviews indies journal' monks wife traditional japanese instrument evil manners hippocampus magazine literary review international book award min kahng fred schodt will eisner nara a shameful life graphic novels 2020 Olympics living in japan japanese music fantasy literature polite ancient symbols china where igo travel etiquette japan times Christianity in Japan chapters foreword indies award amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan Year of the Dog education about asia memoir no longer human symbol buddhist swastika juddhism catcher in the rye World War II steve alpert keanu reeves gaijinpot 15 years at studio ghibli book green tea japanese customs understandind china through comics learning shamisen japanese instrument photography shun medoruma Chinese New Year brad hawley do it right and be polite year of zen nhk award Olympics henry kiyama japan books japan book monk wife koun expat in japan verticle ripe mangoes buddhist symbols chinese literature eastern and western philosophy china travel 2019 japanese people my year of dirt and water wanderlust anne prescott japanese book book blurb osamu tezuka Chinese history manga biography poetry of consciousness seppuku simba zen monk china history haiku benjamin franklin award journal of a zen monks wife in japan miyazaki alan moore shamisen how to order in japan journal of a zen monk 1960s Korea memior how to japan visitor Second World War Okinawan literature osamu dazai japanese manners diy mfa Ukiyo-e lesley university chinese comics 1960's Japan benjamin franklin awards doris bargen japanese translation bowing in japan book reading holocaust Anime/Manga/Comics asia Interview janet pocrobba japan food in the woods of memory university of chicago Travel koto wife tourist oh tama sharing a house with the never ending man foreigner in japan PEN AWARD japan book review new books tracy franz writing japan memoir huffpost the silver spoon poet traditional japanese music center of east asian studies the japan society hitlers cross new release kyodo news ritual nova scotia japanese business the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me Spirituality namethetranslator literature book signing traditional japanese instrumenet buddhist japanese books bookstore donald richie japanese instruments suicide best behavior in japan classic poetry behavior astro boy IBPA kinokuniya event china smart japan ravel japanese craft china book illustration tea garden china vacation hitler sensei mark gibeau book talk leonard koren larry herzberg VIZ hitler symbol literary prize anime author the lion king reviews japanese books in english book review awards buddhist priest amy chavez china guide forty seven ronin ibpa publishing university kotaku Chinese culture four immigrants japan manners Culture hiaku 4k the japan times japanese drunk shaimsen osamau tezuka travel literature non-fiction yukio mishima welton gaddy shamisen performance book award otakuusa stone bridge press peace symbol japanese etiquette Basho memoir writing new york danica davidson guide a memoir of sensei and me the fourth string event finalist classic Korea disney Japanese art tea Japanese literature how to travel in japan pottery author talk internment amys guide to best behavior in japan author signing drinking in japan UCLA jungle emperor gallery awa Alexandra Johnson performance hooked cross jing liu alan brill classic literature rebecca otowa review zen monk in japan japan culture steve heller dark horse kyoto journal state of belief travel manners the asian review of books Chiune Sugihara Basho's Narrow Road summer vacation History michael emmerich tomoko aoyama bushido zazen huffington post pulitzer prize tricycle magazine japanese history janet pocorbba jun hazuki japan vacation visitor manga studio ghibli manji book tour foreword indies monks wife monk author tour ningen shikkaku giajin 47 ronin Japanese holidays book publicity foreword reviews suehiro maruo student teacher
RSS