Exuberance and Kanoko Okamoto: Lost and Found

岡本かの子『老妓抄』和歌「年々にわが悲しみは深くしていよよ華やぐいのちなりけり」英語訳(English Translation)

Where does sadness come from? It doesn’t emerge only from the darkness. It is with exuberant vitality. Here we have Kanoko Okamoto (1889-1939), a novelist and a poet, with her powerful poetic statement.


Years pass.
Deeper sadness
Adds a touch of excess
Of existence.

Sadness is generally considered to be a harmful emotion. It is associated with those apparently downhearted and upsets others. It deprives you of vivacity and it is a particular state of mind that you must get out of by all means.


However, this song has achieved inspirational embrace of both sadness and happiness. The deeper sadness grows, the more vigorous life becomes. The more keenly you are aware of vivacity, the deeper you feel sadness. As you get old, everything, from misfortunes to exhilarations, adds to your experience. There’s a bunch of deep emotions, both bitter and sweet, experienced in seeing significant meanings that you were too young to perceive. The acuteness and graveness of sadness emboss and enrich your life. Deep wrinkles make your years of physical experience genuine and real.


Why is it that we feel abundance in seeing wind patterns on the barren desert dunes, bleak heights of the icy mountains? Rich history is alive and felt in the desolation. Abundance of life is also felt in the bleakness. Time you spent, voices you listened to and every possible scenario you speculated. All of these resonate loud and deep in the void left in your heart.


Some people show us that exuberance strikes sorrow into their heart. The world teems with vigour of people. Sadness surfaces when you recognize there are so many different stories that people really have to say. They see great sadness in both themselves and people and their presence takes on limpid depths of beauty. Do you ever feel this thrill every once in a while?