Translation: Sakura No Uta – A Dialogue On Life Imitating Art (And SCA-Ji Love)

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WARNING – MASSIVE SPOILERS PAST HERE FOR SAKURA NO UTA (& SubaHibi too). Only read it if you’ve read it already, or you don’t care about that kind of thing and just wanna see the translation & ideas & whatever. Although, honestly, it doesn’t have as much power unless you see it within the Visual Novel itself. Still, I translated it because I wanted to have my own English version (to help shill SCA-Ji philosophy in an easily portable format).

This also doubles as my massive SCA-Ji appreciation post.

Chapter 5: The Happy Prince & Other Stories. The Ending.

OST

Personal Alt OST

I was looking up at the sky in that park.

The place where I left my father… and Kei.

The petals danced. I saw that world – from below.

Rin: “It’s been some time…”

Naoya: “Hey. Long time no see.”

Rin: “So, how… have you been?”

Naoya: “As you can kindly make out for yourself…”

Rin: “I heard you failed… the exam.”

Naoya: “It wasn’t surprising. I was fooling around till now, after all.”

Rin: “Really?”

Naoya: “Certainly.”

Rin: “And… you didn’t get into Fine Arts either…” (1)

Naoya: “Yep.”

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Then, she was lying down.

And she was staring at the sky, just like me, from the ground below.

Rin: “Do you still paint? Have you stopped?”

Naoya: “Nope – it’s not like that. Next year – I’m going to a normal art school.”

Rin: “And then?”

Naoya: “Nothing else comes to mind… I’ll aim there for now.”

Rin: “Will you be an artist?”

Naoya: “No. No plans for that.”

Rin: “But… there’s no reason for you to not be one.”

Naoya: “…”

Rin: “But, there’s nothing else you have to hide. Nothing you must hide…”

Rin: “I remembered everything when Kei passed away.”

Rin: “Memories. My own skills. I remembered it all.”

Naoya: “I know.”

Naoya: “I don’t know why – but I haven’t seen Sui around since then.”

Naoya: “Since he died, she didn’t appear.”

Naoya: “We dueled against each other by painting.”

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Naoya: “It was a draw, but, looking back – I did it to bring out my own talent. Probably for that kind of reason.”

Naoya: “If it wasn’t for that – it wouldn’t have ended in a draw.”

Naoya: “I was led by that painting – that power. And that was how I was able to face him.”

Naoya: “But, well, I lost to him.”

Rin: “I can remember it – the duel you had at the pool. Somehow – it’s in my memory.”

Naoya: “She was you – wasn’t she?”

Rin: “Yet… although we were somehow different. Also somehow similar.”

Rin: “But… if we’re speaking about now – she’s here, together with me.”

Rin: “Because Shizuku returned her to me.”

Naoya: “Returned?”

Rin: “Yes. But, the truth was probably, that the shock from Kei’s death was too much for her. She lost control.”

Rin: “But… I’ll still think of it as that. She returned to me, thanks to Shizuku.”

Naoya: “She returned…”

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Rin: “The both of you. The things you hid for me. The things you did for me. I remember them.”

Rin: “That’s why…”

Her words cut away.

Naoya: “That was your Art, that’s why…”

Rin: “That’s… you mean the Moore Prize?”

Naoya: “Yea. I saw it on the news. It was a shock.”

Rin: “I guess so. I didn’t think I was supposed to get it… in the first place.”

Naoya: “That’s just due to the timing, right? But, with your current talent… would it be inadequate?”

Naoya: “It was Friedman, wasn’t it? At the 7th round of judging, he added you in.”

Rin: “You’re right. It was him.”

Naoya: “You painted it after the public exhibition had already closed off.”

Naoya: “So it was outside the review – but you still won the highest prize.”

Naoya: “Friedman, probably, had you pinned down. Always.”

Naoya: “Perhaps, that throne was always secured for you.”

Rin: “…”

She didn’t respond.

Naoya: “I heard from my father. It was that kind of art. The kind of art that makes you question what art is.”

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Naoya: “The God within the girl.”

Naoya: “I see… no human could have painted it.”

Rin: “Do you really think that? People… they can’t paint it?”

Rin: “I think, that may just be true.”

Rin: “When it all came back, what I did was -”

Rin: “Neither feeling sadness for Kei, nor even my mom. And neither did I regret my own actions as well.”

Rin: “And neither did I think of compensating everyone… either.”

Rin: “What I did was – painting. Simply that.”

Rin: “When Kei died, and when everyone was sad… yet… I just kept painting.”

Rin: “Just… painting.”

Rin: “Painting… and painting…”

Naoya: “But you won. And you won Platinum. The grand award that was given to Kusanagi Kenichiro in the past – but since…”

Rin: “That’s right. Though, I don’t really have an interest in that.”

Naoya: “Don’t say that. That kind of thing will piss Makoto off. She was always aiming for it.”

Naoya: “And, probably Kei.”

Rin: “Kei?”

Naoya: “He’ll get pissed off too.”

Rin: “Really? I think it’ll be different.”

Naoya: “Different?”

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Rin: “All the sparrow wanted was to be with the prince.”

Naoya: “Sparrow?”

Rin: “Yes. But being next to the prince… might have been a great problem.”

Rin: “Higher than anyone else. Higher than anything else – and so far, far away. So it couldn’t afford to be with the prince.”

Naoya: “What’s all that about?”

Rin: “Exactly what it means.”

Naoya: “Stupid. That’s just stupid…”

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Naoya: “You. All of you were always flying higher…

and I was the one left behind.”

Rin: “I see.”

Rin: “As I thought, you don’t understand.”

Naoya: “Understand what?”

Rin: “And, because you didn’t understand – that’s why Kei had to make that work. That’s why he had to paint that.”

Rin: “That feeling is one I know too well.”

Rin: “If what the sparrow loved was bronze…how much happiness, or how little, would it have had?”

Rin: “And furthermore, being together in the cold…even, possibly, until the point of death…”

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Rin: “Yet, even with the biting cold… as long as they were one – it was warm.”

Rin: “The sparrow had no reason to seek the Southern climes.”

Naoya: “For the sparrow to go South.”

Naoya: “Not just Kei… but also with you…”

Naoya: “It would still be okay.”

Naoya: “When the seasons come around, there’s the Earth that they have to return to.”

Rin: “An Earth to return to?”

Naoya: “However far they fly, their wings will grow heavier.”

Naoya: “So every once in a while, the wings need the Earth to land.”

Rin: “And for me… and him…”

Naoya: “Him and you.”

Naoya: “Even if Kei went on the farthest journey, to the farthest land – there’s still that Earth to return to.”

Naoya: “And, it’s the same for you.”

Naoya: “As the seasons turn, they have to drift down.”

Rin: “Again and again? How many times?”

Naoya: “As many times as the seasons turn.”

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Rin: “That’s really why they call you the Sakura Artist. You’re like the cherry blossoms, and their petals.”

Rin: “As many times as you want. As many times as you can. Creating a miracle in the constant scenery – of those blooming flowers.”

Rin: “And yet, because it’s constant – people don’t notice the miracle.”

Rin: “The petals will fall, but the flowers will return.”

Rin: “That large trunk. Rooted in the Earth. Reaching as far into the sky as you can.”

Rin: “Which is why, with every scatter, that trunk becomes larger. The branches grow higher. The roots grow deeper. And the Earth is pierced farther.”

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Rin: “That was something that only Kei knew about.”

Rin: “Which is why he made that painting.”

Rin: “To reach beyond that limit.”

Naoya: “If I were a tree like that – then you’d have to be something much larger…”

Naoya: “My father told me.”

Rin: “The God within the girl – is that it?”

Naoya: “Yes.”

Rin: “I see. But I guess I know what he’s saying now.”

Rin: “But, what price had to be paid for that?”

Rin: “The wings above the Earth. Unable to be rooted down. No matter how strong, noble, or beautiful – ultimately fleeting.”

Rin: “And even if that God were to dwell –  without that Earth, those wings would be lost.”

Rin: “So I see… so that was what you were trying to paint.”

Rin: “That was what was symbolized.”

Rin: “Probably, almost no one saw that at all.”

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Rin: “Dreaming of a Butterfly.”

Rin: “Butterflies crossing a sea. Together, like the infinite. Choking the sky.”

Rin: “And there was no Earth there. But, there was just a Beautiful Naraka. A continuous, unceasing, beautiful Hell.”

Rin: “But, that was a dream. That scenery was in a dream.”

Rin: “Even then. The world could disappear within that dream – as easily as anything else.”

Rin: “The Earth in the Sea. The Sea in the Earth.”

Rin: “And that Hell was the Earth under our feet. Naraka.”

Rin: “And that Hell was the end of the dream that couldn’t last forever.”

Rin: “Under that unceasing stream of butterflies, choking the sky. Our Naraka. But, that was wrong. It was our Earth. The Earth we stood on.”

Rin: “Which is why, with our steps on the Earth, we dance and sing the song of dreams.”

Naoya: “A song in a dream?”

Naoya: “Is that a beautiful sound?”

Rin: “It is. But it’s also washed in cruel tones.”

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Rin: “Without cruelty – it wouldn’t be beautiful.”

Rin: “You know, Naoya.”

Rin: “I can’t turn back anymore.”

Rin: “I don’t even have the time for that.”

Naoya: “Is that your departure, from the world?”

Rin: “No. Not at all. I don’t think so.”

Naoya: “Then?”

Rin: “It’s different. Actually.”

Rin: “But, I have to go there.”

Naoya: “I see.”

And, just like that. We stare at the sky.

The spring wind blowing. The petals spinning. Again, and again. They spin.

Rin: “Isn’t beautiful to watch the flowers like this?”

Naoya: “It is.”

Rin: “From the ground, looking at the sky. No matter how many petals fall, they still dance around in the wind.”

Naoya: “That’s true.”

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Naoya: “I think there was a time when I was watching the sky from this park – I think, just the two of us, me, and Kei.”

Rin: “From here?”

Naoya: “That’s right.”

Rin: “So, this was the scenery he saw too.”

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The wind was still cold. Just barely. It was an April afternoon.

Under the dancing petals, I was lying with Rin. Flat on the ground.

We watched the sky.

We watched the flowers.

The wind blew.

The petals scattered.

The petals filled up our vision.

And then,

The clouds flowed by.

Slowly,

Large clouds flowed by.

Rin: “Life imitates Art.”

Naoya: “Was that what Wilde thought?”

Rin: “Its meaning is beauty; and its reason for being is to be.”

Naoya: “I know that… it comes from Swinburne’s criticism of A.J. Moore’s Azaleas.”

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Rin: “Yes. And afterwards, it became the essence of Estheticism.”

Naoya: “Estheticism… known widely as Aestheticism. In the 19th century, within that context, they thought of mere Form and Enjoyment as the highest value. It was that kind of artistic movement.” (2)

Naoya: “When you were using the Happy Prince to talk about me just now, surely it was Oscar Wilde too – that was a major figure within this movement”

Naoya: “I heard from my father. When you were young, he taught you art. That… Art was a human thing. He had to teach you what it was.”

Rin: “But, it didn’t go as he planned…”

Naoya: “It seems that way. For the reason of it’s being is to be. During that kind of moment, is there any reason left for human mediation?”

Rin: “Who knows? With Swinburne. With Wilde. Who knows what they were thinking when they said that?”

Naoya: “But, with Rin – it’s clear…”

Naoya: “The artist called Rin follows a different kind of aesthetics from that 19th century movement.”

Rin: “That’s correct.”

Rin: “But, I really love Wilde in the end.”

Rin: “He always calls out – something – to my heart.”

Rin: “Life Imitates Art.”

Rin: “But, you don’t like that…”

Naoya: “No, not exactly – I think that saying is, perhaps, at the essence of Art itself.”

Naoya: “But, I think that I also like the original – Art Imitates Life.”

Rin: “Aristotle?”

Naoya: “Yep.”

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Rin: “Art exists to replicate nature. That kind of thought is lucid, firm, and needs no explanation.”

Rin: “In fact, to say that the history of Art is the history of explaining Nature – of how to interpret it – would not be wrong.”

Naoya: “But, if you put it in another way – it becomes doubtful.”

Naoya: “The history of Art is a history of explanation – but it’s a history of explaining how one should see nature.”

Naoya: “If you say it like this, a crack appears in Aristotle’s theory.”

Naoya: “That crack – is aestheticism.”

Naoya: “For a long time, humans thought that the things reflected in their retinas were the world.”

Naoya: “They believed that what they saw – was nature.”

Naoya: “But, the act of seeing, was, in the end, not a mental representation of the world.”

Rin: “It’s true, isn’t it? The human eyeball has merely a million image neurons, and nothing else. Nevertheless, you see people wanting cameras with higher resolutions than that.”

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Rin: “The world reflected in our retinas has to be smaller, seedier, and simply lower than the world we actually live in.”

Naoya: “Seems like it.”

Rin: “Meaning and value always enters into the act of seeing.”

Rin: “Wilde said something like that.”

Rin: “With regards to anything – until we admit of its beauty, will not be seen as truth.”

Rin: “When we admit of that beauty, only then can a ‘thing’ exist.”

Rin: “There was the poet who loved the lakes, and wrote a poem in adoration of natural beauty with sincerity and passion. The English poet, William Wordsworth.”

Rin: “He was said to have been inspired by the nature around him.”

Rin: “But, Wilde would have said of a thing like that…”

Rin: “That Wordsworth went to the lakes. But what he saw in the stone was merely the precept of his own heart.”

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Naoya: “At present, people see fogs, not because there are fogs…”

Naoya: “…but because poets and painters have taught them the mysterious loveliness of such effects.”

Naoya: “There may have been fogs for centuries in London. I dare say there were.”

Naoya: “But no one saw them, and so we do not know anything about them. They did not exist till Art had invented them.”

Naoya: “He wrote something like that, didn’t he?”

Naoya: “An incredible and absurd thought. That artists were the one who discovered the fog.”

Naoya: “But, even if that was so, it can be said to be correct.”

Rin: “Beauty is discovered. A thing was described beautifully, and it expands before our vision.”

Rin: “Nature was the Mother that created us – that was what many people thought. But, the truth is opposite. We created Nature.”

Naoya: “That’s very… Wildean.”

Naoya: “But, one part’s correct. And another – wrong.”

Rin: “One part?”

Naoya: “Yes – it’s only one aspect of the truth.”

Naoya: “After all, Aristotle was still great. And his words are hard to deny.”

Rin: “What does that mean?”

Naoya: “The way Wilde said it, it was as though this thing called Beauty was within our heads from the very start.”

Naoya: “But, is that really true?”

Naoya: “Does Beauty appear before we embrace Nature? Could we grasp beautiful things in our head all along?”

Rin: “I wonder…”

Naoya: “I heard something like this…”

Naoya: “There was a cat raised in a box of only vertical stripes.”

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Naoya: “With only vertical stripes, it knew of no other concepts.”

Naoya: “In a world like that, what happens to a cat that sees only vertical stripes?”

Rin: “What would happen?”

Naoya: “It was a real experiment.”

Naoya: “The result was that the cat could not see horizontal rods placed in its path. It kept bumping into them.”

Naoya: “In other words, the cat could not see horizontal things.”

Naoya: “A cat that had no concept of the horizontal. It lived in a world with only vertical things.”

Rin: “And, what happened to that cat?”

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Naoya: “Afterwards, it was raised in the outside world, and it began to learn, and live – normally. In that outside world, it learned of all other concepts and things.”

Naoya: “Within nature, many many things can be grasped.”

Naoya: “No, to say that a cat learned concepts – that reeks of semantics and language. It’s something to be cautious about. Can objects really be differentiated from their surroundings?”

Naoya: “What’s the lesson under all this?”

Naoya: “That the cat did not have everything in his head from the start. In other words, learning from nature, it found out about various things.”

Naoya: “As I thought, we find many things from nature.”

Naoya: “Artistotle’s words were correct. A person creates many things through the imitation of nature.”

Naoya: “But, that’s only half of the answer.”

Naoya: “Why that is, is because with this experiment, you can say the opposite.”

Naoya: “The cat discovered ‘horizontality’ within its own head, and thus it could find it in nature.”

Naoya: “And with Wilde, talking about the artist discovering the fog, is the exact same thing.”

Naoya: “Until the cat knew of the horizontal, it did not exist in the world.”

Naoya: “You can say it either way.”

Naoya: “So which is correct?”

Naoya: “The cat found its concept of the horizontal somewhere. So, where would we find Beauty?”

Naoya: “In the Heart? Or in Nature?”

Naoya: “Or, neither? Somewhere even farther…?”

Naoya: “When I think about things like this, I come to this thought.”

Naoya: “Nature, and the Heart.”

Naoya: “Is there any difference?”

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Naoya: “Is there really any absolute difference between Nature and the Heart?”

Naoya: “Or, Subjectivity and Objectivity. Or, Internal and External. It’s the same with anything like that.”

Naoya: “Are we talking about a single thing? Or, are we talking about two different domains?”

Naoya: “With that story of the cat. Was the concept of the horizontal born in Nature? Was it the Heart? Is it impossible to judge where it came from?”

Naoya: “In the first place, is it unnatural to speak of a ‘place’ where it was born?”

Naoya: “After all, the world that the cat saw was unique and singular. Is it not a mistake within thought itself to separate it into Internal and External?”

Naoya: “It’s the same with Beauty.”

Naoya: “Life Imitates Art. Or. Art Imitates Life.”

Naoya: “Perhaps, even though the two seems to be in conflict, we could be talking about the same thing.”

Naoya: “No, perhaps it is the same thing.”

Naoya: “When I think about it like that – it all becomes coherent.”

Naoya: “There was a genius poet who put it this way:”

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Naoya:

The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—

The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As Sponges—Buckets—do—

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—

Rin: “Dickinson?”

Naoya: “Of course.”

Naoya: “Perhaps… just maybe. It’s all about the difference between syllable and sound.”

Naoya: “Seeing, or feeling. That’s the only difference between them.”

Naoya: “The thing I call ‘I’ – this body – is merely a part of the World.”

Naoya: “You could say it like that.”

Naoya: “But, in the same way, the World is merely one part passing through my body.”

Naoya: “And, it’s just a matter of which extreme we pay attention to.”

Naoya: “My limit is the limit of the World.”

Naoya: “It seems to be that way.”

Naoya: “Although that may be the correct way to say things, but, I think there’s still something off when it’s just said like that.”

Naoya: “As though, either the World or myself – any of us was the one that came first. Or, as though they came into being at the same time.”

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Naoya: “The limits of language are the limits of my World.”

Naoya: “It’s the same when you say this.”

Naoya: “When the cat was born, it saw nature, and it discovered many things within itself. And, that discovery also exists within nature.”

Naoya: “It’s the same as that. Our World is a fluid thing.”

Naoya: “Watching, and discovering, and existing – all of creation forms into a cycle.”

Naoya: “The limits of the world will circulate around me. And my own limits – around the world.”

Naoya: “I am in the circle with nature.”

Naoya: “The Heart and Nature are, also, in a circle.”

Naoya: “Therefore, these aren’t separate things.”

Naoya: “They’re the same.”

Naoya: “And, of course, the scenery we see and get used to every day – always contains the past, present, and future.”

Naoya: “Every phenomenon that changes over time – collects within that process.”

Naoya: “A thing like that cannot be static. The World is dynamic.”

Naoya: “Removed from that. It isn’t the World.”

Naoya: “Therefore, we can continue walking as usual.”

Naoya: “We can speak to one another.”

Naoya: “We can think about painting.”

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Naoya: “Standing before the canvas, and holding the brush, mixing the paints – we can do all of that. And, at the end, we can cut out one slice of this flowing world for ourselves.”

Naoya: “Just like that cat that discovered the horizontal – we make many discoveries. Various things can be found in nature – things that are given, or things that are supplied.”

Naoya: “Of course, it isn’t all good things. When I bump into a horizontal stick, it hurts.”

Naoya: “But, those properties will be discovered within the world, and myself.”

Naoya: “And the cycle will continue.”

Naoya: “Nature and the Heart are not separated. They are both things that make me what I am.”

Rin: “I see, so what you want to say is that Beauty – like the limits of the World, and my own limits – are circulating and flowing.”

Naoya: “Well… something like that.”

Rin: “I see. What you say may be correct.”

Rin: “But can you apply those words to this argument?”

Rin: “When humanity grew into humanity, man invented a single tool.”

Rin: “It was a scratch on a single bone. But, that scratch had meaning, and many implications.”

Naoya: “Scratches on a bone? Like a scale? Or a ruler?”

Rin: “Close. But it’s slight different. That ruler wasn’t there to measure things.”

Rin: “It measured time. The calendar, that’s what we call it now.”

Rin: “With that calendar as a guide, they could know when and where the animals would appear – and with that record, they could hunt.”

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Rin: “The act of carving an invisible thing, like time, onto a scale. Within those very spaces, the concept of numbers was scratched out.”

Rin: “And from then on, it was within all living things. Humanity could mark out the notion of time with numbers.”

Rin: “If we take your words into consideration – numbers were discovered in nature or within ourselves – and thus it could exist in our World.”

Naoya: “That’s how it went.”

Rin: “But, how can numbers prove mathematically – things that can’t even be discovered in nature?”

Rin: “How can we use mathematics to explain nature?”

Rin: “Pythagoras, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton.”

Rin: “With the truth of mathematics, they discovered the laws of the world.”

Rin: “Those answers were different from those found with experience.”

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Rin: “Many people saw the sun rise. And, they saw the moon going around. And, they saw the flatness of the land. So, they thought that the sun spun around the land.”

Rin: “But, mathematics discovered that that was a mistake.”

Rin: “The truths not found in experience, were proven by maths, and then discovered.”

Rin: “In modern physics, mathematics predicts many events not observed in experimentation.”

Rin: “Through the world of mathematics, we are discovering the world itself.”

Rin: “From what you said just now – where does maths exist? Within the Heart, or Nature?”

Naoya: “That…”

Rin: “What are numbers?”

Naoya: “Numbers…”

Mathematical truth is certainly not discovered by looking at nature. Many truths in physics have also been discovered mathematically before being found in nature.

So, is it within the Heart?

Was Mathematics a truth originally found in the brain?

Rin: “Pure Mathematics seems a lot like Mysticism. In fact, some even say it was an act of Mysticism that a certain genius mathematician managed to proof the Incompleteness Theorems.”

Rin: “He was said to be one of the greatest minds in the 20th century, and he performed his own ontological proof for God.”

Rin: “Art was originally derived from that same line of thought.”

Rin: “Western painting was developed as a proof for God.”

Naoya: “That’s right. As far as art history is concerned, it’s exactly as you say.”

In the history of Western art – mathematics, astronomy, music, and art itself were deeply intertwined.

There was a close relationship with the concept of mathematical beauty.

Music originally, and art too, were meant to depict, and be consistent with the beautiful laws of the world.

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Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and other Renaissance artists applied mathematical design to their works.

The Golden Ratio. The Silver Ratio. The Golden Triangle. The 5-point Star. Perspective drawing. And many more.

Furthermore, when trying to reveal these truths, abstruse mathematical proofs were always involved.

Pi. Desargues’s theorem. And also the Fibonacci Sequence, as well as the logarithmic spiral.

In the relation of nature to beauty, many mathematical causes are hidden within.

Rin: “Mathematical truth exists when no one is present.”

Rin: “Is that so?”

Rin: “Or, when no one is around – do these mathematical truths change?”

Naoya: “No… it doesn’t necessarily mean that mathematics will disappear when people aren’t around.”

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Naoya: “It may exist outside of the human mind.”

Rin: “Why are numbers beautiful? It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful.”

Rin: “If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you.”

Rin: “I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.”

Rin: “Hungarian mathematician – Paul Erdos.”

Rin: “With regards to maths, there’s even a kind of claim to Beauty within the proofs.”

Rin: “That kind of claim to Elegance. Why is that so?”

Naoya: “Because many formulas are… elegantly derived?”

Rin: “Perhaps, the formulas are beautiful, because they can describe the world.”

Rin: “Erdos said that God had written a book where he kept all of the most beautiful mathematical proofs in the world.”

Naoya: “God…”

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Rin: “Yes. Perhaps, behind Beauty, the presence of a God is flickering there.”

Rin: “That’s what I feel.”

Rin: “That the truth of Beauty exists without anyone.”

Rin: “Beauty as an independent existence.”

Naoya: “So, the Beauty depicted by the artist Rin has no need for spectators.”

Naoya: “I see, it may be as you say – there is no need for people to intervene in the value of Beauty.”

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Naoya: “A Beauty without the mediation of a person – an extremely stoic Beauty.”

Rin: “There are artists like that.”

Rin: “The poem you said earlier…”

Rin: “Emily Dickinson published only 7 poems in her life.”

Rin: “Despite writing over 1700.”

Rin: “Why did she release only seven? Why not the rest?”

Rin: “Did she need anyone to view her poetry?”

Naoya: “…”

Rin: “There was the genius conductor called Evgeny Mravinsky, who was a part of the Leningrad Philharmonic during the Soviet Era.”

Rin: “During a rehearsal, he heard the most perfect rendition of a certain performance.”

Rin: “At the climax of this performance, he felt a feeling like nothing else in the world.”

Rin: “So, he cancelled the performance.”

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Rin: “The reason was, in his own words – that rehearsal can never again be replicated.”

Naoya: “I know that story. I heard of it while I was developing my taste in Classical music.”

Rin: “An artist like you should have those moments as well. Thoughts like – it would be better if the world disappeared here. That kind of feeling.”

Naoya: “I see. That’s a rather sharp point you’ve touched on.”

Rin: “It’s because you’re Kusanagi Naoya, that you know it too well. The value of Beauty, and the value of Ethics – and how important it is to have an absolute mediator there.”

Rin: “The Last Judgment. The moment when all Ugliness and Beauty shall be judged.”

Rin: “That’s why artists can live for art, and they can put their lives on the line for Beauty.”

Naoya: “And, that’s God?”

Rin: “Yes. There is no value in the audience. There’s also no value in being an object of sight.”

Rin: “Beauty exists because of Beauty. That’s the value.”

Naoya: “And, that’s also the reason for the existence of God.”

Rin: “Yes.”

Naoya: “I see.”

I can’t think of any arguments against any of her words…

Rin: “Would… it be okay if I asked you a question?”

Naoya: “Yes?”

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Rin: “Do you lack a God?”

Naoya: “That kind of question has too deep a meaning…”

Rin: “Really?”

Naoya: “The artist called Rin can paint pictures, and build beauty itself – and thus, she can call the thing supporting that act – ‘God’.

Naoya: “In the first place, you’re not talking about a particular God in Heaven are you?”

Rin: “Correct. The God I’m talking about is as you say.”

Rin: “What is it that men believe in, such that they can create Beauty? That’s what I’m talking about.”

Naoya: “If that’s the case, then I have a God within me too.”

Rin: “I know that. But, your God is one that neither punishes, nor judges – in front of Beauty. It’s a God that does nothing on the day of the Final Judgment.”

Naoya: “Nothing on the last day… I don’t know really know if that’s true…”

Rin: “It’ll do something?

Naoya: “How would I know?”

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Naoya: “The artist called Rin works for a transcendental God. She makes beauty for an absolute God. And it is for that reason that people can shape such things.”

Naoya: “Since ancient times, in the West… no, actually more characteristic of primitive religious art.”

Naoya: “That’s why, that Wildean Beauty is the Beauty that Rin describes – is it not?”

Naoya: “Men imitate Beauty, or, maybe – God.”

Naoya: “Why that’s so – is because Beauty is far higher than the existence of men.”

Naoya: “It’s the same as a mathematician that believes that the formulas exist in a perfect form – even before the existence of men.”

Naoya: “Then, the God I believe in, or, that thing called Beauty I believe in – is something like this…”

Naoya: “God Imitates Men. And, Beauty Imitates Men.”

Rin: “I see. With that kind of speech – Beauty is once again something that is built within men…”

Naoya: “Ah… I wonder…”

Naoya: “If it’s a thing made by Men, it can’t be perfect. A Beauty that isn’t perfect. Being inherently hollow, it bends to people’s thoughts.”

Naoya: “There is no consistency in this human beauty.”

Rin: “A god like that sounds like a weak god.”

Naoya: “Certainly, it’s a weak god. And it changes depending on people’s thoughts – such a god is dirt cheap, isn’t it?”

Naoya: “The Form of Beauty. A person like you who’s seen something like cannot possibly find value in it.”

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Naoya: “It’s that kind of weak god.”

Naoya: “But, when a person is faced with beauty.”

Naoya: “Or, when a heart is moved.”

Naoya: “Or, when one is determined.”

Naoya: “Or, even… during Love.”

Naoya: “That weak god is standing there.”

Naoya: “The god that is with men is a weak god, but it stands next to them when they believe.”

Naoya: “The god that’s built by men, may be a weak god.”

Naoya: “But, the god that’s built by men, stands together with them.”

Naoya: “I think beauty, has to be a thing like that.”

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Rin:

And if it is nothing – nothing itself is as it is –
And so to an extent is shared by everyone –
(All is within me – everyone
So everyone within each one – all)

Rin: “Just like The Asura and Spring.”

Naoya: “That sounds right… Just like The Asura and Spring.”

Rin: “I see.”

Rin: “…”

(…in truth… I still…because of that…) (3)

She whispered something.

She stood up.

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I hum the poem that Friedman told me – that day.

Naoya:

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

Translator Notes

(1) 美大:I forgot whether this was referring to a Fine Arts College or the Grand Prize. But that doesn’t really matter to the main parts dialogue anyway.

(2) 唯美主義&耽美主義 – Estheticism & Aestheticism according to the dictionary, but 唯 stands for Lone while 耽 stands for addiction. The distinction probably has some kind of significance in Japanese Art History.

(3) The parenthetical dialogue is voiced even though the text box just gives ellipsis. It’s also really ambiguous, so I used ellipsis to keep it that way.

(+) That thing about image neurons: I didn’t bother to check exactly what it was, but it seems to be talking about retinal ganglion cells. I’m not sure though.

(+) I chose Heart even though there’s all that connotation with the Mind-Nature Split, and although 心 also has a wider net than heart, because I still think that the word is wide enough & has all sorts of connotations in terms of Christianity & such.

(+) One of the things I thought about during this translation is the power of ellipsis abuse, which many people view as being untenable in the English language. As for myself, I try not to be shackled by any of those particular things because there are certain works whereby stranger elements are utilized with great power. My use of ellipsis is informed by Rilke translations and Celine’s novels. My use of italics was informed by Salinger. And my use of em dashes was informed by Emily Dickinson. While translating this, also, I was immersed in the OST and trying to match the flow to the soundtrack. Anyway, I think my translation style is my singular own – so I wouldn’t ask people to use it as a good guide, but at least I hope to be able to get people to think about these aspects as possibilities for translation. I want to see more English translations try to use em-dashes to cut the language into even more parts.

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