Ex-AUM cult member releases poems before top court's death sentence ruling

The Mainichi Daily News, Japan/November 18, 2011

Former senior AUM Shinrikyo member Tomomasa Nakagawa, who was sentenced to death in district and high court rulings over crimes including the group's deadly sarin gas attacks, has written three poems describing his feelings, released by his lawyer before the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal on Nov. 18.

The poems by 49-year-old Nakagawa are accompanied by explanations that he provided to his lawyer, in parentheses.

-- Poem 1

"Ringo ju o / kono yo no sumi ni / ima ueru / asu asa tsumi de / mi wa horobu tomo"

Translation: "The apple tree will now be planted in this corner of the world, though tomorrow morning my body will perish from crime." (The death penalty will be carried out in the morning. "This corner or the world" refers to Nakagawa's cell, and he wants to do everything he should up until the time of his death.)

-- Poem 2

"Osoroshiki / koto nasu toki no / waga kao o / mita hazu no tsuki / konya mo sayakeshi"

Translation: "The moon that must have seen my face when I did those fearful things ... tonight is also clear." (When Nakagawa happened to see the moon through the window of his cell he thought, "I wonder what my face was like at night when I committed the crimes.")

-- Poem 3

"Nokoshioku / sono koto no ha ni / mi o kaete / daini no ware ni / katari kaketashi"

Translation: "I have cast myself in the words I'm leaving behind, so I can speak to another me." (Nakagawa is writing a collection of notes with the help of a psychiatrist and others so that there will be no more people like himself.)

The Supreme Court ruling in Nakagawa's case brings to a close a series of court hearings over the November 1989 murder of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family. He is the 12th AUM member to receive the death penalty.

On Nov. 21, former AUM cultist Seiichi Endo, who was also handed death penalties in district and high court rulings, will receive a Supreme Court ruling on his case. If the top court rejects his appeal, it will bring to an end the trials over the AUM incidents.

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