Sagashite Iru Kodomo (Child Who Seeks) By Jinko Gotoh

Sagashite Iru Kodomo (Child Who Seeks)

Gaman (1966)
Endure the unbearable with patience and dignity:

“Go home!”

graffiti screams
from white garage door.

Rotten tomatoes,
raw eggs,
cling to Mama’s brand new white Rambler.

Neighbors across street?

Shattered dreams,
not at all like
Lady and the Tramp.

From land of rising sun
to smoggy Pasadena.

Welcome to America.

Genki (1970)
Vigorous state full of fortune and energy:

John Wayne,
from Obachan’s TV.

Lady octopus,
so many arms,
needs deodorant,
Peanuts cartoons—
animation fixation.

Mama’s loud vacuum
Saint Bernard hair.

“Study hard!” Mama cautions.
Practice, practice, Joplin’s Ragtime.

Ganbaru (1976)
Stubbornly persevere

Ivy League surreal,
orientation day,
freshman murdered,
for his TV.

Love will fix me.
Yo-yo boyfriends,
parents don’t approve.

Still Pearl Harbor?
Math plus cinema equals
bits and flickers, obscure desire,
stories and algorithms.

Ishi ga areba michi ga aru (2001)
If there’s a will, there’s a way:

Work, work, work, work,
work, work work.
Making animated movies!

Twin towers destroyed.

America at war!

What’s matters most?
Time is precious.

Canada my new home.

Wabi Sabi (2005)
Acceptance of transience and imperfection:

Failed relationships,
abandoned projects

Faded petals,
lilacs, peonies,

Listening to Al Green.


Sifting among ashes,
my calmer soul.

new gentle lover.

Mono no Aware (2015)
Awareness of impermanence:

Mama full of contradictions,
weak and needy
but strong deep in belly.

Survived WWII bombs
in Yokohama.

America was never her country.

Parkinson’s takes 20 years,
cries “Papa, Papa”,
day and night near end.

Bring back Mama’s favorite—
white asparagus from Paris.

eats them,

Smiling photo—
cherry blossoms in Kyoto,
sits next to Mama’s ashes.

I am Mama’s daughter.
Child who seeks.

By Jinko Gotoh


Jinko Gotoh is an award-winning producer and consultant. Her strengths and passion include discovering new voices, nurturing creative talent, and charting new technologies and creative processes. Her producing screen credits include: 2020 BAFTA winner and Oscar-nominated Klaus, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The Little Prince, Oscar-nominated The Illusionist, 9, and Oscar-winning Finding Nemo. Jinko serves as the vice president for Women in Animation, an advocacy organization to advance women and all under-represented people in the industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Math and MFA in Film from Columbia University. Jinko is a published poet and rescuer of many, many dogs on the side.

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