Ginza by Oguma Hideo (銀座 / 小熊秀雄)

Town of night,
neon signs,
full of obscenity,
you are not at all beautiful
The city’s public toilet,
so well constructed
Sweat drips into the ditch water
The beauty of another man’s wife
Of all that I see,
I can’t admire a single thing
from Ginza Icchoume to Shinbashi —
They speak of Ginza in Hell,
a dark place where the scent of flowers has wasted away
Pitiable people,
how many times do you intend to keep coming back to this place?


4 thoughts on “Ginza by Oguma Hideo (銀座 / 小熊秀雄)

  1. Very insightful. But Ginza should not be the only place to have such a poem composed in its honor. Most of what is said here applies equally well to Beverly Hills, Manhattan, etc. “A dark place where the scent of flowers has wasted away” just about describes every upscale shopping district in the world.

    • It’s interesting that he was probably writing this in the 1930s (Oguma died in 1940). I wonder how the Ginza of his lifetime compares to the Ginza of today. I only walked through it briefly on the day I left Japan (in December 2006), so my impressions are very vague. I remember a KFC, and some streamers, but that’s about all.

      But yes, I think his Ginza stands in for many a place in the world. There are a lot of cities that they hear about in Hell 8>}

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