The poem "My brother, you must not die," was written by Yosano Akiko. She is the one speaking in the poem. She is speaking to her younger brother, as she begs of him not to get involved in the Russo - Japanese War. She does it by letting him know of all the things he has to live for, and he wasn't taught and made to kill people.
In the lines 4 - 9, she describes the ways her parents have raised her brother. The parents did not raise him for twenty-four years to hold a sword and kill a person, and they certainly did not want him to take a chance ending his life. She wants him to carry on the family name of a merchant in Sakai, and to take care of his mother and wife. Their mother is now widowed, and needs her son so the house isn't all alone. In line 29, it says she's pathetic in her grief. So she must be dissapointed in her son for wanting to go. I think the mother is really worried because in line 32, it tells how her white hair increases. That's either a sign of aging or worrying too much about her son dying.
The brother has been married for ten months. Akiko reminds her brother of the misery and pain he will put his wife and mother through if he dies, and how it will be hard for them to continue life without him.
I think the reason the brother wants to go and fight in the war is because he wants to be remembered as a great fighter of a war. Like in line 22, it says, "In death is your glory," the brother knows the consequences of going off to war. I think the brother sees it as the thing to do for his country, and the sister sees it as just suicide. She even says in lines 18 - 20, to let the emperor and other people go and die, but not her brother.
The significance of this poem was to stop her brother going to war. But sometimes one can't stop that from happening. This was an awkward time of year when this was taking place. The Japanese were becoming very powerful. The world was becoming aware of Japan's powers. This was the start of other wars with the Japanese other than the Russo - Japanese War.
The thing that interested me in this poem was the title. The first thing I thought was why was her brother going to die. It makes you thing he's sick or trying to kill himself or something. It was cool because it hooked me into reading the poem.
I think it was meanigful when she cries out to him in the poem. She tells him how the Emperor isn't worth dying over. Almost as if he's a fool for wanting to go. It reminds me of our country today in a way, the way that mothers are recently worrying about their children in the military. The fact that a war might be starting now in Iraq. She certainly gets her point across in the poem. It made me feel kind of frighten remembering about the wars going on back then.