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Songs of Limitless Love: A Translation and Critical Exploration of Suzukake Shin’s Ai wo utae

This thesis is a translation and analysis of select tanka from the tanka anthology, Ai wo utae (Sing Love), by Suzukake Shin, an openly gay Japanese contemporary tanka poet. Published by Seidosha in 2019, the anthology contains twenty-eight rensaku (sequences) with a total of 295 individual tanka. In this thesis, I have translated six of the twenty-eight rensaku for a total of sixty-three individual tanka. Tanka are a thirty-one syllable Japanese poem that has its roots in the Heian Period (794-1185). Before presenting my English translations of Suzukake’s tanka, I give a critical introduction that consists of three main sections: Background, Analysis by Theme, and Translation Commentary. In the background section I discuss Suzukake's biography and give a brief history of tanka to lay out the genre and place Suzukake in it. Next, in the analysis section I identify and discuss three major themes representative of Suzukake’s essence as a poet through detailed analysis of select tanka which exemplify the themes. The three major themes are: The Natural: Nature & the Body, The Everyday: Objects & Experiences, and The Technological: Technology & a Modern World. Finally, in the last section I discuss my overall approach to tanka translation in addition to major theories drawn from the translation studies field which have informed my translation process. I have also included an afterword which discusses why I believe gayness does not take on a theme of itself in Suzukake’s tanka.