Salaryman Senryu "Sarasen" Winners

Dai-ichi Life Insurance has announced their latest Sarariiman Senryuu (Salaried Worker Senryuu, サラリーマン川柳) competition winners. It’s the 22nd year for the competition, and people vote on the best humorous senryu that come from the daily life of salaried workers and the news.

Senryu are like Haiku but are less about nature than about human life, and you may recall that haiku are the poems with a cadence of 5, 7 then 5 syllables. Let’s check some of the sara-sen winners out with my translations:

僕の嫁

boku no yome

国産なのに

kokusan nano ni

毒がある

doku ga aru

My Wife

Made in Japan

Yet Poisonous [1]

子供らに

Kodomora ni

また教えてる

Mata oshieteru

総理の名

Souri no na

Once again

I teach the kids

The PM’s name [2]

コスト下げ

kosuto sage 

やる気も一緒に

yaruki mo issho ni 

下げられる

sagerareru


Cost-cutting measures

My motivation too

is cut

職安で 

Shokuan de

知った顔見た

Shitta kao mita 

あ、上司

a, joushi


At the job-center

I know that face

Oops, my boss!

久しぶり 

Hisashiburi!

ハローワークで

Haroo Waaku de 

同窓会

Dousoukai


Hey! Good to see you!

It’s a reunion

At Hello Work [3]

やせたのは

Yasetano wa

一緒に歩いた

Issho ni aruita

犬の方

Inu no hou


All that walking

The one who lost weight

Was the dog

Who says the Japanese don’t have a sense of humor!?

_[1] The poison quip of course refers to the series of tainted food scandals, and plays on the idea that domestic Japanese food is supposed to be “safer”. _

[2] This refers to Japan’s Prime Minister revolving door.

[3] Hello Work is a job center located in every town in Japan, where the unemployed can go to submit their resume and apply for work.

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—by Rick Cogley