Spring Comes Again

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Spring Comes Again
Author: Kiyoshi Shigematsu
Specifications: ISBN  978-4594067861
220 pages
13.2 x 19.5 cm / 5.3 x 7.8 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Fusosha Publishing Inc.
Tokyo, 2013
Buy now: amazon.jp


This compilation of seven short stories was written in memory of those who died in the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster of March 2011, praying for their repose and for the region's recovery.

The title piece centers on Hiroyuki, who moved away to Tokyo many years earlier. Back home where he grew up, his parents were swept away by the tsunami and remain missing. From March to May, he makes the rounds of mortuaries in the area but fails to find them, nor does he come upon any other information about what might have happened to them. He learns from a friend living in the affected area that a major coordinated search effort is planned for the beginning of November, to try to find the bodies of those who are still missing. Many others have already filed death notices and held services for their family members, even without bodies. Hiroyuki wonders if doing the same for his own parents might bring him some closure; but he resists doing so without first finding some trace of them, and so he joins in the big search.

Then a letter addressed to his parents is forwarded to him. From a town in Hokkaido, it thanks his parents for their purchase of a memorial bench. "The bench is now in place, and we hope you'll come see it," the letter says. Hiroyuki has never heard of the town, but his parents did indeed visit Hokkaido the previous autumn. Still looking for anything linked to them, he travels to the place and is able to learn from people there about their visit. While he's lost everything else to remember them by, he realizes he now has this bench, and with that he is finally able to accept their death.

Author Kiyoshi Shigematsu infuses each of the stories in the collection with the sadness of loss as well as hope for the future, expressing his deepest feelings toward the disaster and its victims.