Bittersweet Romance

Source: Toyota, Yuu. Sekai De Ichiban Utsukushii Namae (The Most Beautiful Name In The World). 2000.

http://www.mangago.me/read-manga/sekai_de_ichiban_utsukushii_namae/ 

Sumida: “Eyes that twinkle like winter’s Orion. Lips the color of cherry blossom petals. Red hair the color of ranunculus. Countless dazzling words and phrases will be showered upon you, comparing you to thousands of flowers and stars, but what becomes of saying those words?

… Hibari.

I can’t touch you with my fingers nor warm you with my arms. 

Words are meaningless.

I thought dead was the end.

But then I met you.

The words I’m teaching you will live inside you and connect us.

Have I somehow been saved?

I’m sure you have no idea.

I’ve gathered so many words as there are stars, But up until now, no word has been as beautiful as your name.

I didn’t know. It’s only sweet pain to speak of the most beautiful treasure in the world” (20-40).

Transformation:

Sumida: “Eyes twinkle like winter’s Orion, lips – cherry blossoms and red hair – ranunculus; countlessly dazzling words and phrases will be showered upon you, comparing you to thousands flowers and stars, but what is the point of saying those words?

… Hibari.

If I can’t touch you with my fingers nor warm you with my arms, then words are meaningless.

I thought dead was the end. 

But then, I met you.

The words I taught you live inside you and connect us.

Have I somehow been saved?

I’m sure you have no idea.

I’ve gathered as many words as stars on the sky, but up until now, no single word is as beautiful as your name. 

But I didn’t know the most beautiful treasure in the world can both be so sweet and painful.”

Analysis:

This is the latter half of the manga (Japanese graphic oneshot) about Sumida, a Japanese man whose soul was trapped for decades in an English dictionary he used to work on, and his unrequited feelings for Hibari, the daughter of a bookstore, his English “student,” and the only person who could see and communicate with him. In the end of the story, knowing that he could never be together with Hibari, Sumida helped her escape from her home and elope with William, an England young man and the love of her life. Using too much of the remaining power to help Hibari, Sumida ended up sacrificing almost every page of the dictionary, causing him to disappear forever from the living world. 

Since the translation of Sumida’s thought has some grammatical issues, it was necessary for me to revise it in order to make its meaning fully comprehensible. However, there are things I could not change; the imagery, the series of similies, the rhythm of short sentences and the rhetorical question, “Have I somehow been saved?” that depicts Sumida’s tender yet painful love for Hibari have to be there. All I need to do were changing the tenses, putting some punctuation and combine some sentences to add a more poetic vibe to the quote. 

Overall, to me, this quote is beautiful, especially when you know the context of the story. What does it feel like to know all of the most sophisticated words and expressions that can even melt the most picky lady’s heart just to keep them shut and forever unknown to the person you love, knowing that you can never love her and she will never know you love her? What does it feel like to hand her to another man, sacrifice the last remains of yourself in the living world and forever disappear for her own happiness? It is not easy task for Sumida even when he is a ghost. Yet, when he saw her tears, he smiled, and drowned himself in that abyss of bittersweet pain. While this seems to be too much of a cliché, it is certainly poignant: love is an unconditional sacrifice. 

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