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Literary Composers with Ties to Saitama Prefecture

Literary Composers with Ties to Saitama Prefecture

 

The following is a brief outline of 19 notable literary composers with ties to Saitama Prefecture, introduced as part of permanent exhibitions at the Saitama Museum of Literature.

 

19 Notable Literary Composers with Tiesto Saitama Prefecture

Novelists

• TAYAMA Katai

• MUSHAKŌJI Saneatsu

• MIKAMI Otokichi

• ŌTANI Fujiko

• TOYODA Saburō

• NAKAJIMA Atsushi

• FUKAZAWA Shichirō

• ANDŌ Tsuruo

• UNO Nobuo

Poets

• KURAHARA Shinjirō

• OKAMOTO Jun

• JINBO Kōtarō

Poets of Tanka (Thirty-one Syllable Poems)

• MAEDA Yūgure

• MIKAJIMA Yoshiko

• KAGOSHIMA Juzō

Haiku Poets

• HASEGAWA Kanajo

• KATŌ Shūson

Children's Literature Composers

• KITAGAWA Chiyo

• UCHIKI Muraji

 

 


TAYAMA Katai (1872 - 1930)

 

Background

Born in Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture,Tayama Katai published Futon (The Quilt) in 1907, establishing himself as one of the most iconic authors in Japanese naturalist literature. Furthermore, his first-person *I-Novel, which offered an introspective illustration of his experience, went on to greatly influence many other authors after him.

 

*An I-Novel is a genre in Japanese literature used to describe works in which events in the story correspond to events in the author's life.

 

Ties to Saitama

InakaKshi (1909) depicts the natural scenery and landscapes of what is now Hanyū City, the setting for the novel, through the eyes of a young elementary schoolteacher who is lodging at the temple where Tayama's close friend, Ōta Gyokumei,served as chief priest. Tayama's marriage to Ōta's younger sister meant he made frequent visits to Saitama Prefecture. As a result, many of Tayama's works feature tales of his travels and sightseeing experiences throughout Saitama,such as Tōkyōkinkō Ichinichi no Kōraku  (Suburbs of Tokyo: A One-Day Excursion).

 

Main Works

Jūemon no Saigo (The Death of Jūemon) (1902), Futon (The Quilt) (1907), Toki wa Sugiyuku (Time Goes By) (1916), Tōkyōkinkō Ichinichi no Kōraku (Suburbs of Tokyo: A One-Day Excursion) (1923), Minamoto no Yoshitomo (1925)

 

Other Resources

Tayama Katai Memorial Literature Museum,Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture

 

 

MUSHAKŌJI Saneatsu (1885 - 1976)

 

Background

Mushakōji Saneatsu was born in Chiyoda,Tokyo. In 1910, together with Shiga Naoya and others, Mushakōji published the literary magazine Shirakaba: named after the Shirakaba-ha (White Birch Society), of which they were founding members. As one of the key representative authors of the Shirakaba-ha, Mushakōji went on to produce such works as Yūjō(Friendship) and Omedetaki Hito (Good Natured Person), and was awarded the Order of Culture in 1951.

 

Ties to Saitama

In 1918, Mushakōji created a humanism-based commune called Atarashiki Mura (New Village) in Miyazaki Prefecture. The commune eventually relocated to Moroyama Town, in the Iruma District of Saitama Prefecture, in 1939, where it still exists today. A vivid depiction of the New Village commune in Moroyama Town appears in chapter 5 "Higashi Atarashiki Mura no Seichō" (Development of the East New Village) of Mushakōji's work, Kono Michi o Aruku(I Walk This Path) (1958).

 

Main Works

OmedetakiHito (Good Natured Person) (1911), Yūjō (Friendship) (1919), Ningen Banzai (Three Cheers for Mankind)(1922), Ihara Saikaku (1931)

 

Other Resources

Mushakōji Saneatsu Memorial Museum, Chōfu City, Tokyo

New Village, Moroyama Town, Iruma District,Saitama Prefecture

 

 

MIKAMI Otokichi (1891 - 1944)

 

Background

Mikami Otokichi was born in Kasukabe City,Saitama Prefecture, and was a member of the literature club during his highschool years at Kasukabe High School. Mikami was the leader of popular literature trends during the Taishō era (1911-1925) and the beginning of the Shōwa era (1925-1989). Yukinojō Henge (Revenge of a Kabuki Actor), one of Mikami's signature works, was serialized in Asahi Shimbun from 1934 and became extremely popular, leading to several adaptations of the work. 

 

Ties to Saitama

Mikami set several of his works in Saitama Prefecture, including Hyakuman-ryō Hibun(The Million-Ryō Secret), and Zuihitsu Wagahyōhaku (Essay: My Journey) which describes his nostalgic memories of Kasukabe City, where he spent his junior high school days.

 

Main Works

Shunkōno Motoni (Under the Spring Sunlight) (1917), Kuro Kami (Black Hair) (1925), Oshidori Jumon (Charms for Wedded Bliss)(1926), Yukinojō Henge (Revenge of aKabuki Actor) (1934)

 

 

ŌTANI Fujiko(1901 - 1977)

 

Background

Ōtani Fujiko was born in Ryōkami Village(present day Ogano Town), in the Chichibu District of Saitama Prefecture. She published a literary magazine called Nichireki(Tear-off Calendar) together with Jun Takami in 1933. The following year, one of her works, Hansei (Half a Life),was chosen by Kaizō Magazine as an award-winning novel, launching her forward into the literary world. Ōtani produced many novels, such as Sanson no Onnatachi(Women of the Mountain Village) (1939), which drew from the iconic, rich landscapes and climate of Chichibu.

 

Ties to Saitama

Many of her early works featured Chichibu as the main setting, such as Sanson no Onnatachi(Women of the Mountain Village) (1939), in which Ōtani used the regional dialect to realistically depict the energetic daily lives of the women in the village. A literature monument dedicated to Sansonno Onnatachi was later erected in front of Ōtani's birth home in Ryōkami Village.

 

Main works

Hansei(Half a Life) (1934), Suzaki-ya (Suzaki Inn) (1935), Sansonno Onnatachi (Women of the Mountain Village) (1939), Tsurubeno Oto (The Sound of a Well Bucket) (1952)

 

 

TOYODA Saburō (1907 - 1959)

 

Background

Toyoda Saburō was born in what is now Sōka City, Saitama Prefecture, and attended what was formerly Kasukabe Junior High School. After graduating from university, Toyoda engaged in a variety of literary pursuits while working as an editor for the children's literature magazine Akai Tori. His first novel to be published, Chōka (Funeral Flowers),attributed greatly to his fame as one of Japan's key literary activism writers.His eldest daughter, Morimura Katsura, was also a well-known writer.

 

Ties to Saitama

One of Toyoda's main works, Seinen Jidai (Youth), which was later retitled as Seishun (Adolescence),features the Naka River, which runs through Saitama Prefecture, as its setting. Literary monuments dedicated to the memory of Toyoda Saburō were erected at both Hikawa Nyotai Shrine in Kakinoki Town, Sōka City, and Kawayanagi Elementary School in Koshigaya City.

 

Main Works

Chōka (Funeral Flowers) (1935), Kōgun(March of the Soldiers) (1944), Kamen Tenshi (A Disguised Angel) (1948), Seishun(Adolescence) (1956)

 

 

NAKAJIMA Atsushi(1909 - 1942)

 

Background

Born in what is now Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo,Nakajima was left in the care of his grandmother at age two and spent his childhood in what has since become Kuki City. From an early age, Nakajima possessed a profound knowledge of Classical Chinese and many of his works, such as Sangetsu-Ki (The Moon Over the Mountain, also known as Tiger-Poet) (1942) and Riryō (Li Ling) (1943), were modelled after Chinese Classics,captivating the attention of a wide audience.

 

Ties to Saitama

Nakajima's deep knowledge of Chinese literature can largely be attributed to the fact that he was born into a family well versed in Chinese studies. Nakajima's grandfather, Confucian scholar Nakajima Buzan, taught Classical Chinese at his private tutoring school, Sakitama Kyōsha,in Kuki City. Nakajima's works also include Tonan Sensei (Master Tonan) in which he writes about his uncle, Confucian scholar Nakajima Tanzō, who influenced him greatly.

 

Main Works

Rōshitsuki (Chameleon Diary) (1936), SangetsuKi (The Moon Over the Mountain, also known as Tiger-Poet) (1942), Hikari to Kaze to Yume (Light, Wind and Dreams)(1942), Riryō (Li Ling) (1943)

 

Other Resources

Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature (Naka Ward, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture): Part of the Permanent Exhibition for Novelists with Ties to Kanagawa

 

 

FUKAZAWA Shichirō(1914 - 1987)

 

Background

Fukazawa Shichirō was born in Isawa Town,in the Higashiyashiro District of Yamanashi Prefecture. In 1956, his novel Narayama Bushikō (The Ballad of Narayama) won the first Chūōkōron Prize to ever be awarded, kick starting his career as a professional writer. Fukazawa was also awarded the Tanizaki Prizefor his work Michinoku no Ningyōtachi (The Dolls of Michinoku) in 1981.

 

Ties to Saitama

In 1965, Fukazawa started a farm called the'Love Me Farm' in Shōbu Town of the Minamisaitama District where he lived until his passing. The works Fukuzawa produced after starting the farm made frequent references to the 'Love Me Farm'. Fukazawa's work Bonsai Rōjin to Sono Shūhen (Old Bonsai Gardeners and Their Surroundings) also features the Omiya Bonsai Village in Saitama City (formerly Omiya City) and Angyo in Kawaguchi City, known as the 'Village of Garden Plants.'

 

Main works

Narayama Bushikō (The Ballad of Narayama) (1956), Fuefukigawa (Fuefuki River) (1958), Bonsai Rōjin to Sono Shūhen (Old Bonsai Gardeners and Their Surroundings) (1973), Michinoku no Ningyōtachi (The Dolls of Michinoku) (1981)

 

Other Resources

Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Literature(Kōfu City): The museum features exhibits on the works of notable writers bornin Yamanashi Prefecture.

 

 

ANDŌ Tsuruo (1908 - 1969)

 

Background

Born in Asakusa, Tokyo, Andō was a novelist and theater critic. Working as a critic of Kabuki and Rakugo (comic storytelling), Andō was also a prolific writer of novels and essays. In the second half of 1963, Andō was awarded the Naoki Prize for his work, Kōdan Honmokutei (Legend of the Honmoku Playhouse).

 

Ties to Saitama

For approximately three years from 1945, Andō lived with his wife in her parent's hometown, in what is now known as Okegawa City. Andō's short story Fuji depicts Okegawa City at the time, referred to by the name of Samukawa Town. While living in Okegawa City, in addition to Fuji,Andō also wrote various other manuscripts while staying at the Takemura Ryokan (Takemura Inn), which still exists to this day along the former Nakasendō (one of the five main travel routes of the Edo period). 

 

Main Works

Geino Kanshō (Appreciation of The Arts) (1947), Fuji (1948), Yose Shinshiroku (Rakugo Playhouse Who's Who) (1960), Kōdan Honmokutei (Legend of the Honmoku Playhouse) (1963)

 

 

UNO Nobuo (1904 - 1991)

 

Background

Uno Nobuo, born in what has since become Honjō City, was a playwright who attended Kumagaya Junior High School (now Saitama Prefectural Kumagaya High School). The performance of his play Kōdan Yoimiyaame (A Tale of Rain on the Festival Eve) at Kabukiza Theatre in 1935 earned him substantial popularity,and after going on to produce a great many Kabuki plays, he came to be referred to as the "*Mokuami of the Shōwa Era." Uno was designated a Person of Cultural Merit in 1985.

 

Ties to Saitama

Born in Honjō City, Uno spent his youth in Kumagaya City until he graduated from what was formerly Kumagaya Junior High School. His essay, Mukashi Shitamachi ni Sumite (I Used to Live in Shitamachi), offers a glimpse into his junior high school days.

 

Main Works

Kōdan Yoimiyaame (A Tale of Rain on the Festival Eve)(1935), Yanagikagesawa no Hotarubi(Yanagikagesawa: Light of a Firefly) (1970), Shareta Kotoba (Sophisticated Words) (1981), Tegami (Letter) (1989)

 

*Kawatake Mokuami (1816-1893) was widely regarded as one of the greatest Japanese dramatists of Kabuki, writing approximately 150 plays over the course of his fifty-year career.

 

 

 

 

KURAHARA Shinjirō(1899 - 1965)

 

Background

Kurahara Shinjirō was a poet born in what is now Aso Town, in the Aso District of Kumamoto Prefecture. During his time at university in 1923, Kurahara was first inspired to write poems by Hagiwara Sakutarō's poetry anthology Aoneko (Blue Cat),and went on to publish his first poetry anthology Tōyō no Mangetsu (The Full Moon in the East) in 1939. The poetry anthology, Iwana (Char)one of his signature works, was awarded the Yomiuri Prize for Literature in 1964.

 

Ties to Saitama

In 1945 Kurahara moved to what is now Agano, in Hannō City of Saitama Prefecture, and subsequently to Kawara Town in the same city, where he lived until his passing. Kurahara had a great love for the landscapes of Hannō City, where he published his main works, such as Rekijitsu no Oni (The Demons of Time), Kawaita Michi (Dry Road), and Iwana (Char). A monument dedicated to Kurahara,featuring an inscription of his work, was erected at the entrance to Tenran Mountain in Hannō City.

 

Main Works

Tōyōno Mangetsu (The Full Moon in the East) (1939), Sentōki (Warplane) (1943), Rekijitsu no Oni (The Demons of Time)(1945), Iwana (Char)(1964)

 

 

OKAMOTO Jun (1901 - 1978)

 

Background

Okamoto Jun was a poet who was born and spent his childhood in what is now Honjō City. In 1923, together with Tsuboi Shigeji,Kawasaki Chōtarō, and others, Okamoto founded the magazine Red and Black under the slogan of "Poetry is like a bomb!" Since then, Okamoto produced many works written from his anti-political viewpoint, such as Bachiatari wa Ikiteiru (The Damned One Lives On) (1933). Following the suggestion of a friend, he joined the screenplay department of Shinkō Kinema in 1936, writing screenplays under the pen name Wada Jun.

 

Ties to Saitama

Until the age of 5, Okamoto lived in Honjō City. Upon visiting Honjō City after a lengthy absence, he wrote the poem Imaimashi Machi (Annoying Town), which is included in his poetry anthology Warau Shisha (Laughing Dead Man) (1967).

 

Main Works

Bachiatariwa Ikiteiru (The Damned One Lives On) (1933), Ranru no Hata (The Tattered Banner)(1947), Shijin no Unmei (Destiny of aPoet) (1974), Okamoto Jun Zenshishū(The Complete Poetry Collection of Jun Okamoto) (1978)

 

 

JINBO Kōtarō (1905 - 1990)

 

Background

Jinbo Kōtarō was a poet born in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture. Starting his career as a poet when he was a student,Jinbo was a participant of the Nihon Roman-ha (Japan Romantic Society) and published a number of his works in the poem magazine Shiki. From 1949,he also worked as a professor teaching at the Nihon University College of Art.

 

Ties to Saitama

From 1934, Jinbo lived near Bessho Pond in Urawa City (now Saitama City). In 1982, a monument dedicated to Jinbo inscribed with his poetry was erected alongside the Bessho Pond where he used to regularly take walks.

 

Main Works

Tori (Birds) (1939), Nadare (Avalanche)(1939), Nanpō Shishū (Southern Poetry Collection) (1944), Ao no Dōwa(Blue Fairy Tale) (1953)

 

 

MAEDA Yūgure (1883 - 1951)

 

Background

Maeda Yūgure was a tanka poet from what is now Hadano City in Kanagawa Prefecture. The publication of Maeda's first tanka collection, Shūkaku (Harvest), in 1910 put him on a par with Wakayama Bokusui as one of the foremost Japanese naturalists of his time. While focusing mainly on his self-created tanka magazine, Shiika, Maeda produced many works in a more colloquial and unconventional style. 

 

Ties to Saitama

Maeda previously lived in two villages in the Chichibu District: Ryōkami Village for about five years from 1919, and Ōtaki Village for about 2 years from 1945, and his tanka collection, Genseirin (Primeval Forest) depicts the landscapes of these villages. Maeda's home in Ōtaki Village still stands today and serves as the location for a monument dedicated to him which has been inscribed with his poetry.

 

Main Works

Shūkaku (Harvest) (1910), Ikuru Hini(The Days I Live) (1914), Genseirin(Primeval Forest) (1925),

Suigen Chitai (Water Source Area) (1932)

 

Other Resources

Hadano City Library (Hadano City, Kanagawa Prefecture): Yūgure Maeda Memorial Room

 

 

MIKAJIMA Yoshiko (1886 - 1927)

 

Background

Born in what is now Tokorozawa City, Mikajima Yoshiko was a tanka poet who attended Saitama Women Teachers' College (now Saitama University). Studying tanka under great poets such as Shimaki Akahikoand Koizumi  Chikashi, Mikajima contributed works to the Subaru(literary magazine), the Seitō(Bluestocking: Japan's first all-women literary magazine), and the Araragi (Japanese tanka magazine).

 

Ties to Saitama

Waremokō,the only tanka collection published before Mikajima's death, includes a poem written about Tokorozawa City Airfield. A monument dedicated to Mikajima inscribed with her poetry was erected at Shinmei Shrinein 1958.

 

Main Works

Waremokō (Wild Japanese Burnet Flower) (1921), Mikajima Yoshiko Zenkashū (The Complete Tanka Collection of Yoshiko Mikajima) (1934), Mikajima Yoshiko Kashū(A Collection of Yoshiko Mikajima's Tanka) (1948), Teihon Mikajima Yoshiko Zen Kashū (The Complete Tanka Collection of Yoshiko Mikajima, Revised Edition) (1993)

 

Other Resources

Tokorozawa City Lifelong Learning Promotion Center: Yoshiko Mikajima Literature Room

 

 

KAGOSHIMA Juzō (1898 - 1982) 

Background

Kagoshima Juzō was a tanka poet from Fukuoka City in Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima contributed to the Araragi(Japanese tanka magazine) and studied tanka under Shimaki Akahiko and Tsuchiya Bunmei. As a leading craftsman of paper clay dolls, Kagoshima was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure) in 1961. 

 

Ties to Saitama

Kagoshima spent 7 years in Kumagaya Cityfrom 1945, where he published the tanka poem magazine Chōseki (Tide) and founded the KantōAraragi-kai (the Kantō Araragi Association). His tanka collection, Kyūsei, includes a poem composed about an air raid in Kumagaya City, as well as other works which feature Kumagaya.

 

Main Works

Chōseki (Tide) (1941), Marika(Arabian Jasmine) (1946), Kyūsei(1950), Kokyō no Hi (Light of My Hometown) (1968)

 

 

HASEGAWA Kanajo(1887 - 1969)

 

Background

Hasegawa Kanajo was a haiku poet born in what is now Chūō Ward, Tokyo. Hasegawa started writing haiku poems following the advice of haiku poet Ishijima Kijirō from Gyōda City, who was a friend of Hasegawa's husband, Reiyoshi Hasegawa. She contributed works to the haikupoetry magazine Hototogisu and studied haiku poems under Takahama Kyoshi. Hasegawa continued to expand her writing activity with the creation of the haiku poetry magazine Kareno, which she established together with her husband in 1921. 

 

Ties to Saitama

In 1928, Hasegawa moved to Kishi Town in Urawa City (now Saitama City), where she created the haiku poetry magazine Suimei. In 1955 she was recognized as an Honorary Citizen of Urawa City, and monuments dedicated to her inscribed with her poetry were erected at Besshonuma Park and Tsuki Shrine.

 

Main Works

Rindō (Autumn Bell flower) (1929), TeihonKanajo Kushū (The Haiku Collections of Kanajo Hasegawa, Revised Editions)(1964), Zoku Koyuki (Light Snow)(1968), Murasaki (Violet) (1969)

 

 

KATŌ Shūson (1905 - 1993)

 

Background

Katō Shūson was a haiku poet who was born in Tokyo and worked as a teacher at Kasukabe Junior High School (now Kasukabe High School) from 1929. After meeting famous haiku poet Mizuhara Shūōshi, Katō studied under him while contributing works to the haiku poetry magazine Ashibi and publishing his first haiku poetry collection, Kanrai (Winter Thunder). Katō's haiku poetry style, which explored people's inner thoughts,led him, along with fellow haiku poets Nakamura Kusatao and Ishida Hakyō, to belong to what was referred to as the Ningen Tankyū-ha (SES) "Self-Exploration School" of poetry.

 

Ties to Saitama

After beginning to write haiku upon the advice of a coworker during his time working as a teacher at the former Kasukabe Junior High School, Katō's meeting with Shūōshi Mizuhara motivated him to earnestly pursue a career as a haiku poet. Katō's haiku poetry collection, Kanrai (Winter Thunder), includes the haiku poems he composed during this time.

 

Main Works

Kanrai (Winter Thunder) (1939), BashōKōza Hokku-hen (Study of the Haiku (formerly Hokku) of Bashō Matsuo) (1943-1948),Yakoku (Wailing in the Field) (1948),Maboroshi no Shika (Illusionary Deer)(1968)

 

Other Resources

The Katō Shūson Memorial Museum was closed in 2001 leaving most of the collected materials to the Saitama Museum of Literature.

 

 

KITAGAWA Chiyo (1894 - 1965)

 

Background

Born in what is now Fukaya City in Saitama Prefecture, Chiyo Kitagawa was a writer of children's literature. Kitagawa published many works based on real world themes such as Sekai Dōmei (World Alliance). She also translated foreign children's books such as Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken (Maya the Bee) and Uncle Tom Monogatari (Uncle Tom's Cabin).Following Kitagawa's death, in recognition of her contribution to the genre of children's literature, in 1969 the Kitagawa Chiyo Award was created by the Japanese Association of Writers for Children, to acknowledge outstanding new authors of children's literature.

 

Ties to Saitama

Kitagawa's father was factory manager at the Japan Brick Company in Fukaya City, where Kitagawa lived until she moved to Tokyo in 1905. Inspired by the factory her father worked for, Kitagawa produced Kisha no Bā no Hanashi(The Story of the Old Steam-Train Lady).

 

Main Works

Sekai Dōmei (World Alliance) (1919), Haru ya Izuko (Waiting for Spring) (1931), Chichi no Noru Kisha (The Steam Train Dad Rides) (1937), Kitagawa Chiyo Jidō Bungaku Zenshū (The Complete Children's Literature Collection of Kitagawa Chiyo)(1967)

 

Other References

An introduction to Chiyo Kitagawa is available on Fukaya City's website.

 

 

UCHIKI Muraji (1904 - 1990)

 

Background

Uchiki Muraji was born in Fukushima Ward,in Ōsaka City of Ōsaka Prefecture, and was a novelist and writer of children's literature.At age three, Uchiki moved to what is now Higashimatsuyama City in Saitama Prefecture, where he attended Kawagoe Junior High School (now Saitama Prefectural Kawagoe High School). After writing works such as Shiryū o Atsumete (Combining Tributaries) and Jūrokusai (Sixteen), Uchiki went on to publish the Ten no Sono Series (The Garden in Heaven Series) which is based on his elementary school days in Higashimatusyama City and the series' sequel, Daichi no Sono Series (The Garden on Earth Series). In 1972,Uchiki received the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts for the Ten no Sono Series (The Garden in Heaven Series). In May 2005, the series was adapted into an animated movie titled Kumo no Gakkō (The School in the Clouds), and has been shown at public screenings at various locations throughout Saitama Prefecture.

 

Ties to Saitama

Uchiki's childhood, spent in Higashimatsuyama City between 1907 and 1916, is vividly depicted in both the Ten no Sono Series (The Garden in Heaven Series) and the Daichi no Sono Series(The Garden on Earth Series). Uchiki subsequently moved to Kawagoe City, Tokorozawa City, and later in his life, Hannō City. Literature monuments dedicated to the memory of Muraji Uchiki have been erected at Yamaguchi Kannon Konjō in Temple in Tokorozawa City, Nenogongen Tenryū-ji in Hannō City, and at Karako Chūō Kōen(Karako Central Park) in Higashimatsuyama City.  

 

Main Works

Shiryūo Atsumete (Combining Tributaries) (1939), Jūrokusai (Sixteen) (1959), Ten no Sono Series (The Garden in Heaven Series) (1972), Daichi no Sono Series(The Garden on Earth Series) (1978)