Nanao Sakaki – Goodnight Copernicus

sold outPoet : Nanao Sakaki
Publisher : Counter Culture Chronicles
Year : 2019
C43 cassette
Recorded : Osaka 1988, Oshikamura 1989 & Hawaii 2000
Design : André Koolmees
The cassette comes with two laser printed inserts
Limited edition of 80
€ 8.00
Postage & packing not included

Nanao Sakaki (1923-2008) was a Japanese poet and wanderer who was raised in a traditional Japanese family in the Kagoshima Prefecture. After having worked as an errand boy and having been drafted into military service, he moved to Tokyo after WW2, where he did odd jobs and lived in a tunnel near Ueno railway station. Spending all his time reading and studying English in the early 1950s, he moved to Shinjuku in the mid-1950s where he started writing poetry and – through his friendship with a local wood sculptor – developed a profound relationship with the forests of Japan. Sakaki’s poems and his friend’s sculptures were combined in several exhibitions before they parted ways in 1959. Sakaki befriended British writer Neale Hunter, who helped translate some of his poems into English and publish them under the title Bellyfulls in 1961. Hunter introduced American Beat poet, Zen scholar and environmentalist Gary Snyder to the book, who recognised a kindred spirit in Sakaki and looked him up in Tokyo. Snyder’s ensuing friendship with his Japanese counterpart led to an American reprint of Bellyfulls in 1966 and, several years later, to Sakaki’s move to the US, where he wrote and read poetry and explored the wilds on foot for ten years. In his foreword to Sakaki’s 1987 volume Break the Mirror Gary Snyder writes about his friend’s work: “His poems were not written by hand or head, but with the feet. These poems have been sat into existence, walked into existence, to be left here as traces of a life lived for living …”

Counter Culture Chronicles has now released on cassette recordings of Sakaki reading and chanting several of his poems live in Honolulu in 2000, Sakaki and Allen Ginsberg performing Ginsberg’s famous Birdbrain in English and Japanese live in Osaka in 1988 and Sakaki’s 1989 music and poetry project Love Letter to Praha, which was released on Locust Records later that year. Another valuable document made available to the public by René van der Voort’s label.

Nanao Sakaki - Goodnight Copernicus