Friday, May 7, 2010

silvery trace

Most of the posts on this blog have to do with Miura's works of fiction, but I hardly need tell you that she has written a huge number of wonderful and influential works of non-fiction as well. Silvery Trace is the English translation of Gin-iro no Ashiato, a dialogue between Miura Ayako and Hoshino Tomihiro, a former gymnastics teacher who became paralyzed from the neck down after a serious accident in the school gymnasium. During his long hospitalization, he learned to write and draw with an ink brush he held in his mouth.

"It was when I was bed-ridden on my back in the hospital that I read [Miura's] novel Shiokari Pass," Hoshino writes in the postscript to Silvery Trace. "The book shocked me with its amazing insight into life, though at that time I was quite ignorant of its author; [...] I was, at that time, like a straying sheep walking along a lonely path in the heart of darkness without knowing where to go. When I met Ms. Miura through her books, I felt as if I had encountered a person walking before me with glorious light and joy..." Soon after, Hoshino encountered the Bible and was baptized as a Christian.

Miura and Hoshino are now sister and brother in the faith. They share a love of and skill in poetry. They share a history of despair and suffering. But most of all they share the attitude expressed in Psalm 119:71-- It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

Hoshino's artwork, which is in the etegami style, brings the good news of hope in Christ to the afflicted all over Japan and in many other countries. It has been published as books, as postcards, and as calendars. Both the original Japanese version and the English translation of Silvery Trace were published by Inochi no kotoba-sha, but appear to be out of print at this time. Used copies can be found on the web. It is worth adding to your collection of Miura literature.

Note: If you have never heard of the art of etegami and are interested in learning about it, check out my etegami blog at