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Temple Message #2: Be strong!

Hello readers, here’s a short little something for you to think about today. It’s the latest message written on the signboard outside the temple near my home! If you missed the first one I posted, you can check out the new year’s haiku post.

A message during winter 2012, posted by a temple in Tokyo, Japan

This message is not written as a haiku (in the 5-7-5 style). Rather, it seems to be a simple phrase. The text reads: “あなたが卦ける一声は渇いた心の恵み雨” (anata ga kakeru hitokoe wa kawaita kokoro no megumi ame).

I’ve translated this as: “Your strong voice is a blessed rain for the thirsty heart.”

Feel free to interpret this as you please. Be strong!


  1. Takashi Takashi February 10, 2012

    Your translation is very intersting.
    I translate this as:”Your simple short voice is a blessed rain for the thirsty heart.”
    Examples of hitokoe are “ohayogozaimasu” “konnitiwa” “iitenkidesune” etc.
    Another phreses ” hitokoe kaketekara Ike” “hitoko kakeru kotoga taisetu da.”

    I am japanese over 60 years old man.
    I enjoy your blog very much.
    Thank you.

    • Alisha Alisha February 11, 2012

      Thank you very much for your comment. I didn’t know “hitokoe” was a phrase before writing this post. Thank you for providing examples to help me understand. I really appreciate it.

      Thanks for reading my blog, too!

  2. Lord balto Lord balto February 10, 2012

    I suspect you guys may be overcomplicating this. On a purely poetic level, might I suggest, “Your voice is a blessed rain for the thirsty heart”? In short, it’s not some abstract quality of “your voice” but the very sound of it. As for why it is where it is, I would strongly suspect that the temple authorities are, in a rather elliptical manner, thanking the people for visiting the temple.

    • Alisha Alisha February 11, 2012

      Hmmm, interesting idea. I try not to over-complicate when I think about translations of these materials because I think the whole point is that they’re supposed to be short.

      The temple in my neighborhood (a couple, actually), regularly put up new messages for passerby to read. I think it is, in some way, how Christian churches put bible verses or biblical references on their signs. There are other fliers and things located elsewhere with information posted on them – that’s where “thank yous” and event notices go. I imagine if they wanted to thank people for visiting the temple, they’d put it there. I could be wrong; I’ve never examined them.

      I think the reason the quality of the voice or the manner of speaking is important in this verse is because it’s supposed to provide relief. I would imagine an angry voice doesn’t do that.

      Regardless, a good point. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Masaya Masaya February 11, 2012

    Hi, I’m 45 years old, a middle-aged Japanese man enjoying reading your blog posts.
    Judging from the previous post and this one, I think the priest (jushoku) of this temple is concerned about social anxiety in Japan, particularly the increase of mentally distressed people and suicides caused by lack of good communication among people here. The phrase “Hitokoe kakeru” is often used to encourage people to communicate with each other to prevent someone from being isolated from the society/community.
    Like the above comment says, “hitokoe” can be a simple word like “konnichiwa”, which becomes a trigger of communication and comforting to some people who have no one to talk to then.
    I don’t think this has anything to do with thanking the temple visitors though.

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