Yorifumi Yaguchi

Vol. 1, No. 2

This issue of the journal focuses on the work of a single author, Yorifumi Yaguchi, of Japan, and specifically on the relationship of his life and poems to the problems of war and peace. The materials presented here have been gathered through the efforts of Wilbur Birky, his American friend and interpreter.

In this issue:

  • 1 read more Staring Down the Muzzle from Yamoto to Baghdad

    Staring Down the Muzzle from Yamoto to Baghdad

    by Wilbur Birky

    Birky's essay, "Staring Down the Muzzle," relates Yaguchi's life and experience, during World War II and since, to his poems and his activism for peace in Japan. The original version of Birky's essay was presented at the "Mennonite/s Writing: Beyond Borders" conference on Mennonite literature at Bluffton University in 2006. That conference paper, in turn, was a follow up to Birky's earlier paper on Yaguchi at the "Mennonite/s Writing: An International Conference" at Goshen College in 2002, when the question of Mennonite poets writing on peace was first raised.

  • 0 read more The Movement for Non-Defended Localities in Sapporo, Japan

    The Movement for Non-Defended Localities in Sapporo, Japan

    by Yorifumi Yaguchi

    In his essay, "The Movement for Non-Defended Localities," Yaguchi favors us with an account of the way he used two of his poems in a public, official meeting to try to persuade local authorities in his home district to make Sapporo a "non-defended" location. The incident is a fascinating illustration of how poetry can be used in the praxis of peace-seeking.

  • 1 read more Five Poems

    Five Poems

    by Yorifumi Yaguchi

    Yaguchi has also contributed five of his peace-oriented poems for this issue. Published earlier in Japan, they appear here with permission of the author.

  • 1 read more Poems for Peace in China

    Poems for Peace in China

    by Wilbur Birky

    In May 2008 Birky was invited to visit China with Yaguchi on behalf of Mennonite Partners in China. Yaguchi was to read his poems and Birky was to comment on them, as well as make presentations on American literature and the English language. It was hoped that Yaguchi's presence and poems would be a gesture toward peace-making between China and Japan, in light of the hostile feelings that still exist in China toward Japan because of atrocities during World War II. Although their planned itinerary was much curtailed because of the earthquake in Sichuan province, some successful meetings were held, and Birky describes a number of encounters in his journal narrative, "Poems for Peace in China."

  • 1 read more Wing-Beaten Air

    Wing-Beaten Air

    by John J. Fisher

    Yaguchi's new memoir, The Wing-Beaten Air, is reviewed by John Fisher.