Japanese children’s poet Misuzu Kaneko (1903-1930) has captivated children and adults alike with her innate sympathy for all living—and non-living—things. Forgotten for decades, her poetry touched the hearts of millions following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan in 2011.
Misuzu Kaneko charmed 1920s Japan with the child-like sincerity and empathy of her poetry. But despite her success, she suffered tragedy in her private life and committed suicide at age twenty-seven, after writing 512 short poems. Nearly forgotten for the next fifty years, Misuzu's work was rediscovered in 1982 and she soon became one of Japan's best-loved children's poets. The appearance of her poem “Are You an Echo?” in a public service announcement after the 2011 tsunami achieved instant fame, reminding Japanese of their shared humanity at a time of great national crisis.