Hirato Renkichi
Nothing Day / Not Guilty
an Unfinished Novel

Translated by Sho Sugita

Part I

Ο "In fact we're already worn-out—what's going on with this unexciting scene of the countryside—the white radish flowers blooming or already dug up are big ones like shanks that reek of fertilizer—everyday that I look, unconsciously look at the wheat growing ever so slightly—already reaped by a sickle that following morning—says the pumpkin flowers are waiting to bloom on the ridges in the field by now"

Δ "Unbearable, unbearable—I'm tired of masterpieces—if we're weary of natural masterpieces, human masterpieces have also departed from us—it's ΟΟΟΟ—how we've become too addicted to masterpieces"

Ο "Whether Shakespeare or Tolstoy or Rockefeller or Wagner or Okura or Sumitomo or Lloyd or George or Dostoyevsky or anyone for that matter, my mind rejects them all—in that way nature also persistently reproduce inside the black soil without a hitch, competing against the speed of humans"

Δ "Who gives a damn, just throw out such conventions—whether or not humanité exists or not, whether or not the seasons disrespectfully take a step ahead of us, whether or not the prison of commodities happen to be slightly better though generally something of a nuisance or something splendid—it's hot, it's hot—dying while coming to a close inside the fire sparks of this heat in the beginning of summer—"

     The two young men walking in the fields of the suburbs went out to a steeply rising hill of terra rosa, but tried to avoid the sash-like ether of the boiling water by choking their necks—the heavy orange-yellow curtain of the sun is on edge while at the οοtransformer substation of the brick roof and paper factory dye factory flour factory cosmetics factory…just then, vanished inside the unsorted confusion of the roof and chimney


     Café-europa—Ms. K is licking an ice candy—if you don't like that car key, darling, you wouldn't like that foreigner's pongee, either—the young Russe wearing a Rubashka looked over—I like it, I think it's beautiful, buttoned straight with a double stand-up collar; it looks refreshing, and I want one made for myself—stop it, darling, such silly things—is that young lady a Polonaise or Russe?—between knitting, she's casting glances at customers as she writes in her notebook—the man in the Rubashka started talking—two geishas are coming in

     GEISHA-GIRLCafé-europa—don't you think this is interesting? —that's just boring but what's more important is that that lady's face is beautiful, fertile; still looks like she wants an invincible kiss, an unbearable Séduction

     The woman's eyes are round—inside her eyeballs is an infinite gradation of a deep karmin color—everyone was fooled by the same unexpected impulse

     PORNOGRAPHIE = Aphrodite = Les chansons de Bilitis = Saikakou = Outamaro = harounobu = toyokuni = pose-academique = pose-seductible = pose-ultra = Bain turc = Secret de Paris + etc = GEISHA-GIRL JAPONAISE

     It's all the same; I think it's no different from something like shunga—regardless, darling, they all seem uncomfortably hot, especially that woman accompanied by that party of two—I would rather see all of them naked, no, there's nothing better than cotton yukatas during the summer, but not for the darker one—that one's eyeing us thinking, come now, such an unnecessary remark—pish, I'll tell you then, the reason they want to come to a place like this is publicity—propaganda! Ho ho ho ho, your favorite word—I'm repeating myself again, but publicity is the life-blood of women, particularly as an unmistakable weapon; themselves a weapon, if you look, one could say they are exceedingly superior at publicity and advertisement—no wonder they rack their brains—with the wholesale drapers becoming popular and cosmetics shops now taking a breather, it's no wonder they can have careers that aren't even recorded in Big Brother's ledgers, like those facial treatment stores—even so, they're so innately off-the-mark—they'd make a good match with the advertisement on the trains or fliers off the wayside of meeting rooms—darling, would you mind giving me a cigarette?—before anyone knew, the next seat over was occupied by a Japan Advertiser from K University and his glasses half-glimpsing our way

     Struck a match—a party of foreigners enters with a soprano overture—the laughter shines in a room that's not so large
     —That reminds me, there is nothing better than cotton, nothing better during the summer than hemp or cotton; silk kimonos are best during the fall, and in the clear air of the fall, the delicate fibers of the silk closely joins the shining body—but what about summer?—the summer air is thick and heavy, and the silk will rot inside that—O dear!—So the woman with advertisement-as-flesh-or-body required this research on Cubist effects and open-air effects, but I had to feel sad for her unfortunate lack of intuition on this matter—the woman threw away her cigarette butt—no need to stay too long—
……Au revoir!—— ……Au revoir!


     At Mr. S's Mansion—I came to see the film again today—what do you mean film?—as usual, I thought I should learn something interesting again—ha-ha, well, come in—I go up the stairs as I see the host's hairy shins

     Fan! Not only am I a fan, as a real-life fan, no, as an actor in that reality, I dedicate everything to cinéma graphique—really? You've become so dynamic……you've changed a lot—but you agree, at least as a member of the Motion Picture Investigative Committee (was it?) at the government office—oh really? Is that so?—in reality you're a big fan, too; you wear a square face, but you inadvertently get sucked in—isn't that so?

     Doktor Caligari was good; it was amazing, and I would like to conduct different kinds of research on how that three-dimensional stage was made—that's what I came to discuss with you today—do you mean what's happening with Expressionism as a movement?—well, not limited to that, but I want to start a journal called "Cinematic Arts"

     Cinematic Arts! That's interesting—yes, there was even a man who claimed the future of arts lies in cinema—and who might that person be?—the deceased Cubist poet Guillaume Apollinaire—Guillaume Apollinaire? The man who wrote about Cubist art theory?—Yes indeed, the author of Alcools, Le Poète assassiné, La Rome des Borgia, Les Trois don Juan, etc.

     Even if one were to take his words with a grain of salt, what do you think about the influence of motion picture?—all arts are headed in the direction of cinéma graphique—that is to say, my decision today may be arbitrary, but I don't think the decision would be arbitrary tomorrow—don't you agree?—I think that's accurate; I would say that I'm a cinema supporter myself, but even from the point of discussing art, how should I put it, this must be what democratic art is—and nothing can surpass this if one thinks about how one film can dash across the world without mistranslation—it's global

     The master habitually twists his whiskers while bragging into the void—this man has a habit of trying to look for an image for abstract ideas that are unreachable—what did he catch now?—your loveable Pegasus—ostentatiously bragging and bragging—now smiling!

     Artistic direction in the world of cinema—this is it; the anticipation is steadily building—the grand hall of art is becoming the grand hall of cinema. To word this differently, while art will continue to be influenced by cinema, cinema itself will be get refined and continue to colligate—it is there when they first melt together that Apollinaire's prediction comes true—yes, it's not Chaplain's era anymore—yes—look—Quo Vadis, Les Miserables, and Madame Camellia are things of the past— Anatole France—Daudet—Mérimée—Zola—Maeterlinck—Ibsen—Tolstoy—Dostoyevsky—Bjørnson—D'Annunzio…….. that's how literary masterpieces were canonized

     But what I want to emphasize is the more active aspect—for example, Richepin was a member of l'Académie française and already produced numerous masterpieces as a poet, but this person actually makes works of cinema and is one of actors involved in his own motion pictures—speaking of members of the Academy, it's easy to imagine an old man sniffing mold, but that is probably referring to us—anyhow, there are important people like this, and for people who have gone over there, it's supposedly exquisite—I'm told that even the performers are pure artists from places like the Comédie française and Odéon who are young and energetic, and I think how that crowd produces their work with a researcher's mentality is what makes them good—haha, that is exquisite; only by reaching that point can we first call something "cinematic arts"

     But that isn't all—one rising novelist is trying to unearth a portrayal of pure psychology in cinema—another inscribes his work as a "motion novel"—there are also innumerable books on motion picture—people like yourself who cultivate specialized research are thought to further the aesthetics in these fields—well, it seems like something that's quickly thriving—I've heard Germany is also thriving—they did make something as fine as Caligari, after all—right, by the way, since this is your passion, I will first leave you with some reference books—please support my efforts in the cinematic arts

Luis Dellne: Cinéma et Cie.
Louis Louis Dellue : Photogénie.
Henri Diamant-Berger : Le Cinéma.
M.A. Zokine : L'Esthétique du Cinéma.
Albert-Birot : Cinéma.
M. Paul Colin: Littérature cinematographique allemande.
Doris Gunnell : Le rouge et noir au Cinéma.

     To this kind visitor, the master offered a cup of parched-barley tea—T.E. 90°+……inside this boiling water, the unusual healing water slid into his throat


     He dashed through (the wounded city)—if truth be told, he had no experience plundering—as an interview journalist, he is luckily able to enjoy a slice of bread—he is a laborer who unearths the human psyche—he is also a laborer who unearths his own psyche—he sinks into the polychrome and reemerges—going up and down the spiral staircase

     He is running within the crowds—from the window of a car that's running at extreme speeds, finding interest in what similarly pries, assaults, and triumphs

     The pathos of a wounded city!—what did all of you strike upon?—the track-crumbled road has exhausted everything to the strike of a pickaxe where the fresh blood endlessly drips and splashes on the sweaty skin of a ground spider—what are all of you trying to strike upon?—deep underground—incessantly—the crowd lying flat on the ground

     He no longer had the composure to observe

     Biu=biuura=bovaaara=biyaupiryu=piyerurururu=vieravihyurura=dadadododonidoni. . . . the charging parrots of this city mowed down the bodies of countless people and charged forward above them all

     (This violent phoenix lacking self-control!—where is it trying to crash into?)

     He raised his eyes—there, where tens of thousands of people squirmed, where tens of thousands of vehicles went crazy and tipped over, where houses pushed each other and grabbed each other and sank their teeth into each other—the elevated electric train tramped on all of their heads and flew off

     He instantly imagined the most conspicuous crashing sound of the tall buildings—with the wheels and its reciprocal minus speed, the elevated electric train hit and penetrated the right flank of the imposing structures

     His electric train is running—countless cities fall and countless homes warp and tree lines disperse

     His heart disintegrates and passes out inside the absolute



—strangely enough, there were no fires burning that day from the aurora that reminds one of the spring—(is the sun also a dead man!) hearing the wailing voices of people—the ice already became an eternal petrified crystal, and a spectacular white palace went on forever to the extent of seeing—no trees, no grass, and likewise no greenery—not one little bird or one insect—where are the relics we call the relics of the world—what are they thinking, and what are they trying to do

     The illicit races come and go—who's magic were they trapped by—inside their visage, their ancestors couldn't have deciphered—themselves democratized and mechanized, they were in no need of any ideologies—they saw the burning five-color fire—there seemed to be a road that must be followed—the blood of the whole body welled up—an indecipherable image had emerged—while boiling, their senses had been intoxicated—afar! Afar!

     One moral energy started brewing in this group—they felt a certain power—above the ice-field, ice-hats stirred—all of these illicit races came together in full force—Bravo! ……

     The flashing blue-violet arrow!—red lines of rain!—the surging flames scorched the skies at once—people and their mouths spewed and voiced their mysterious phonemes while dancing their bodies—without a moment to gasp, the unbroken lines of millions marched on the ice-field

     It started moving—the people who have absolutely lost their self-control—they started an irregular movement that they could not stop, even if they had wanted to


     (the electric train is running while carrying him)……

(to be continued)


This is an unfinished Futurist novel by Hirato Renkichi (1893-1922). Published four months prior to his death in the March 1922 issue of Tane maku hito (Seed-Sowing Person, a coterie journal of Proletariat literature), only the first chapter of the novel was completed.

The title plays with the word "not guilty" (mujitsu 無実) and a neologism "nothing day" (mujitsu 無日). Hirato occasionally creates neologisms, as demonstrated in another title "Wish-Toy" (gangu 願具), which plays with the word "toy" (gangu 玩具)

Born Kawahata Shōichi on December 9th, 1893 in Osaka, Hirato Renkichi attended Sophia University in Tokyo for three years before dropping out and attending Gyosei Gakkō to study Italian. He started writing poetry in 1912, first publishing in Bansō (Accompaniment) under the guidance of Kawaji Ryūkō. His later works appeared in numerous coterie journals in Japan, including Gendaishiika (Modern Poetry), Taimatsu (Torchlight), Nihonshijin (Japanese Poet), among others. Although he worked at Hōchi Shimbun News and Chūō Geijutsu Art Publishing, he suffered from tuberculosis, often failing to make ends meet for his common-law wife and child. He passed away on July 20, 1922 in Tokyo. He was 29 years old.

Sho Sugita lives in Yokote, Japan. His recent poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in VOLT, Poems by Sunday, Chicago Review, 6x6, Lana Turner, Paperbag, and Asymptote. A translation booklet of Hirato Renkichi is available through DIEZ press, and the Collected Works of Hirato Renkichi is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse.