Don't Lose Heart
  English Version to Kujikenaide

Kujikenaide has captivated and inspired a nation tired of two decades of recession and thirsting for wisdom of experience.  ABC News describes the poems as "uplifting and quite phenomenal in selling over 1.7 million copies to date in a country where 10,000 copies is a rare success." Reuters writes "A 99-year-old woman writing about love, dreams and hanging on to hope has touched the hearts of Japanese worn out by years of a lagging economy, propelling her self- published poetry book onto bestseller lists." The environment from which the poems have touched so many has growing similarities to that of America. Persistent and growing issues over how to fund welfare and pensions for the growing population of over-65s are all too familiar to Japanese and Americans.

Kujikenaide, which translates as “Don’t Lose Heart” is a poetry collection of 42 poems authored by a 100-year-old Japanese woman named Toyo Shibata.  Written in what reviewers have termed a down-to-earth style with “sprightly” words, her poems have proven encouraging to thousands of readers. “I received the courage and dreams to live on from you, your poetry transmitted courage to me, helped me not to mislay purpose of life” a 70-year old reader said in a letter to Ms Shibata’s publisher.  Another fan, a man who was being shunned by colleagues, said, “Your works help me remove my sullen state of mind and resentment.  I take your poems out to read when I’m frustrated.”


Her poems have also inspired the victims of the Great Japan Disaster of 2011, for whom she has become a symbol of encouragement and faith to that tragic event. In a separate poem she writes, "I beg of you, please do not allow your soul to also be swept away." Many of her poems have that tone of encouragement, with regards to love, dreams, future and self-confidence. 


There has been a growing global demand for Kujikenaide.  Could it be an attempt to counter disillusionment?  The book has been published in South Korea and Taiwan to rave reviews and demand.  The book will be available in Germany, Italy, and Spain this Fall.


“I’m sure American publishers will take note.  Now that her story has been published in Reuters and is being picked up by mainstream media around the world,  I’m hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before her book hits the shelves in the U.S.  I definitely plan to be in line to buy it.”  (Olivia Tejeda – Away With Words)


“Thanks for being an example of humility, gratitude, compassion, fearlessness, and peace, Toyo Shibata.  I can’t wait to order your book.  Big hug your way!” ( Bloggimia – Vanessa Libertad Garcia)


Don't Lose Heart (Kujikenaide) will be coming soon to Americathe projection date for release is May 2013.  


"KaoruYachigusa  stars in a film adaptation of the late poet Toyo Shibata's best-selling anthology Kujikenaide (Don't Lose Heart). Directed by Yoshihiro Fukagawa, The film  interleaves Shibata's poetry, which is known for its profound positivity and wit, with a family drama depicting the love between mother and son.  Yachingusa plays Shibata from the ages of 77-92, marking her first starring role since Carmine Gallone's 1954 film adaptation of Madane Butterfly.  Tetsuya Takeda (58) plays her son Kenichi."

Check movie trailer at:

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 Don't Lose Heart
     Contains Both Original Poems in Kujikenaide and their English Translation