This wooden standing horse figurine (a) is unpainted. One side of the body is inscribed with the first seven lines of the famous Kenji Miyazawa poem, "Ame nimo makezu" ("Be Not Defeated by the Rain") in black ink. The ear, nose, eye, and mouth details are also added with black ink. A black synthetic forelock is glued between the ears and a black synthetic tail is glued to the rear. The horse is held in a white cardboard box that is stapled at the corners (b), with a matching lid (c).
Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) was a poet from Iwate Prefecture in Japan. "Ame nimo makezu" was discovered after his death and published posthumously. The majority of the poem is written in katakana (as here on the horse), illustrating that at the time, katakana was preferred over hiragana. He used kanji characters sparingly; some theorize that this was an aesthetic choice, while others suggest that he wanted his poems to be accessible to the people of rural Japan.
The entire poem is translated as follows:
"not losing to the rain/not losing to the wind/not losing to the snow nor to summer's heat/with a strong body/unfettered by desire/never losing temper/always quietly smiling/every day four bowls of brown rice/miso and some vegetables to eat/in everything/count yourself last and put others before you/watching and listening, and understanding/and never forgetting/in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields/being in a little thatched hut/if there is a sick child to the east/going and nursing over them/if there is a tired mother to the west/going and shouldering her sheaf of rice/if there is someone near death to the south/going and saying there's no need to be afraid/if there is a quarrel or a lawsuit to the north/telling them to leave off with such waste/when there's drought, shedding tears of sympathy/when the summer's cold, wandering upset/called a nobody by everyone/without being praised/without being blamed/such a person/I want to become"