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Excogitating Over Coffee Publishing - 熟考琲出版(じゅっコーヒーしゅっぱん)



And the River Flowed as a Raft of Corpses: The Poetry of Yamaguchi Tsutomu, Survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By Chad Diehl.
With a foreword by Donald Keene.

Available now -
Online: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Infibeam.
In New York City: Book Culture (near Columbia University) and  Kinokuniya (Midtown).

About the book:

Chad Diehl, a Columbia University doctoral candidate, introduces Raft of Corpses as the first official translation of the tanka poetry of Yamaguchi Tsutomu (1916-2010), a survivor of both atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.  Chad lived with Yamaguchi in Nagasaki during the summer of 2009 to gain insight and instruction in order to create the most accurate translations possible. Chad includes in the book a lengthy introductory essay about Yamaguchi's experience to provide essential context for the poems, and he has also written a preface in Japanese for Japanese readers.

"I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me to Nagasaki," Yamaguchi recalled decades after the bombings as he tried to explain his incredulity at the terrifying déjà vu. Yamaguchi's testimony of those days and subsequent years living with the physical and psychological trauma characterize the theme of his poems translated in Raft of Corpses. The paradox of surviving two atomic bombs to live on for six decades stirs in the readers of Yamaguchi's tanka poems simultaneous feelings of awe, disbelief, horror, sympathy, and hope.

The poetry included in Raft of Corpses "passes the baton" carried by Yamaguchi to relay the experience of the atomic bombings and spread a message of the importance of world peace and the necessity to abolish nuclear weapons.  In that spirit, Chad has selected and translated a total of sixty-five of Yamaguchi's tanka poems to commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the bombings this year (2010).  The book also includes numerous photographs and images of Yamaguchi's hand-written poems and calligraphy.  Some of Yamaguchi's paintings add an additional layer to the book, and Chad hopes that the many poems included that do not address the bombings will provide readers with a better understanding of Yamaguchi's life and personality.

Donald Keene, Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at Columbia University, writes in the foreword, "Chad Diehl has translated some of Mr. Yamaguchi's poems. The translations transmit the horror of the two terrible explosions and the disfigured dead. He has kept as close to the originals as possible, but remembering Mr. Yamaguchi's fondness for rhymed poetry, he has effectively used rhyme in some of the translations. It could not have been easy to translate these poems, but Mr. Diehl, who knew Mr. Yamaguchi well, felt impelled to make these translations, the most fitting tribute to his memory."

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コロンビア大学現代日本史専攻、チャド・ディールは二重被爆者、故山口彊さんの短歌の英訳版、And the River Flowed as a Raft of Corpses(そして川が死体の筏となり流れて逝った)を出版した。2009年夏、ディールはより正確な英訳を作る為に、長崎の山口さん宅に住み込み、短歌の指導を受ける作業を行った。出来上がったのがこの本である。ディールは日本人に向けた日本語の序文を書いた。


Raft of Corpsesに載っている短歌は、山口さんのメッセージ、原爆の悲惨さ・核廃絶の必要性・そして平和の尊さをバトンタッチするのである。そうした精神に導かれたディールは、今年(2010)が原爆投下から65周年を意味する65首の短歌を選んで英訳した。被爆と直接関連のない短歌を幾つか選んだのは、山口さんの人生と性格を知って貰いたい為である。この本には山口さんの手書きの短歌、絵も載せている。


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Apologies for the untidiness of the webpage as we at Excogitating Over Coffee Publishing familiarize ourselves with the workings of a brand new company.  We hope to have a more finalized version of the webpage up as soon as possible.

Excogitating Over Coffee Publishing grew out of a translation project.  In summer 2009, Chad Diehl lived with Yamaguchi Tsutomu, a double-survivor of the atomic bombings, to translate his tanka poetry into English, and he promised Yamaguchi that he would publish the translations.  When Yamaguchi passed away on January 4, 2010, Chad felt an urgency to fulfill his promise to publish the collection of translated poems without delay.  Chad decided to self-publish and contacted a printing company that he discovered prefers to work with publishers.  So Chad decided to create a publishing company of his own.

When considering a name for the company, Chad drew upon his passion for coffee and his love for the word "excogitate," because it's true that good things happen when you excogitate over coffee.

The translation project and the formation of the publishing company resulted in the book, And the River Flowed as a Raft of Corpses: The Poetry of Yamaguchi Tsutomu, Survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, available now.

Even though this first book is Chad's own, the company has several other projects in the works and looks forward to releasing the novels and other writings of talented authors.

Book cover designs are excogitated and created by the always brilliant Cari Campbell (

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