A Poem by Misuzu Kaneko

Kaneko Misuzu

One of my good friends told me to check out this poem by Kaneko Misuzu [wiki] quite some time ago, and I finally got around to it. The poem is short and sweet, and not too difficult, so you can use it as a study tool as well. I have provided a simple translation below.





My weak translation. I have paid little attention to style. I have no skill in poetry, that’s my excuse.

Even if I spread wide both my arms
I cannot fly in the sky at all
but, that little bird that can fly
cannot run quickly on the ground like I can.

Even if I shake my body,
I cannot make it produce a pretty sound.
But that ringing bell
doesn’t know a lot of songs like I do.

The bell, the little bird, and then me.
We’re all different, but we’re all wonderful.


  • Reading the poem it seemed really familiar.  I thought about it and realized that I have heard Koni-chan sing it about 100 times on the kids shows にほんごであそぼ :)


    • Thanks for that link! I didn’t know about this kids show and didn’t know they had set this poem to music. Awesome find!

      •  The poem is wonderful and I’m glad they utilize it till today.  What I don’t appreciate is the culture’s willingness to let children do just what they please … (ex- child thumping and bobbing in front of the tv!).

  • この詩は、国語の授業で習うことが多いです。勇気づけられる詩ですよね。
    Many Japanese learn the poem at a language art class in elementary school. I like it too.

  • Cherri(秦始莲)

    Thanks for sharing! I am reading her book in Japanese, her poems are simply but very deep.

  • わたしが両手をひろげてもお空はちっともとべないが、とべる小鳥はわたしのように

  • Timothy Takemoto

    I wonder how “ii” became “wonderful.”