[SHORT BOOK]The wind brings peaceHere is an excerpt from a popular song called “Becoming a Thousand Wind” that was a hit in Japan. “Don’t cry darling, standing in front of my grave. I don’t live there anymore. I became a thousand winds to fly freely over the sky.” In Japan you hear the song at funerals and there are fan clubs related to the song all over the country. Last month, a drama was made that was inspired by the song.
The man behind the craze is Arai Man, a 61-year old Japanese novelist, who won the prestigious Akutakawa Award in 1988. In 2003, he translated the song into Japanese from an anonymous English poem, which was read during the 25th memorial of Marilyn Monroe’s death in 1987 and in 2002 to commemorate the victims of the World Trade Center in 2001. It was the first time that the poem, which Man performed, had been made into song.
“I made it for a friend who was devastated after he lost his wife to cancer,” he says. “Then more people began to sing it as word spread. I didn’t know it would become a national craze.”
Last year Japanese tenor Akigawa Masahumi released a recording of the song after he had sung it for the first time on a popular Japanese variety show. The song became a huge hit. It topped the music charts in January and has so far sold more than one million copies.
“There have been a many tributes for the deceased,” he says. “But I think this is the first song where a poem about the dead brings peace to the minds of the living. It gives hope and encouragement that someone you love who left this world is living close to you through the wind. It still moves me. I cried when I was singing it at a recent funeral.”
Man received over 10,000 thank you letters after he issued his recording. He also started a foundation and donated the profits to a charity.
“I assume the poem conveys a form of animism, considering that it was found on the gravestone of a native American in Arizona,” he says.
By Jeong Hyeon-mok