Takamura Kotaro

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Takamura Kotaro


Born Mar. 13, 1883, in Tokyo; died there Apr. 2, 1956. Japanese poet and sculptor. Member of the Japanese Academy of the Arts.

Takamura studied at the College of the Arts in Tokyo from 1897 to 1902 and pursued advanced studies in New York, London, and Paris from 1906 to 1909. His sculpture was influenced by the impressionists, particularly Rodin. While in Europe, Takamura read Baudelaire, G. Apollinaire, and other poets and translated a number of their works into Japanese.

Takamura began publishing in 1910. His first poetry collection, The Distance of the Road (1913; final version, 1924), was influenced by the French symbolists. In the 1920’s he published the collection Wild Beasts, many of whose poems expressed social motifs. Takamura’s best-known work is the lyric cycle Poems About Chieko (1941), in which the poet tells of his love for his deceased wife. Takamura’s mature poems are realistic and formally innovative. Takamura helped to establish vers libre in Japanese poetry.


Takamura Kotaro zenshu, vols. 1–18. Tokyo, 1958.


Istoriia sovremennoi iaponskoi literatury. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from Japanese.)
Kusano Shimpei-hen. Takamura Kotaro kenkyu. Tokyo, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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He discusses conversations with European modernism; Shirakaba and modernism in Japan; revolutionary art, revolutionary artists: Takamura Kotaro, Umehara Ruyzaburo, and Kishida Ryusei; from the avant-garde to the institution: the evolving exhibition practices of Shirakaba, and the legacy of Shirakaba.
This poem was written by Takamura Kotaro in February 1939, recounting the death of his wife, Chieko, after her many years of battling schizophrenia.
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Topics of the nine essays include nationalism and colonialism, with studies on the analysis of difference in the "Island People," Japanese emigrants and Korea under the Japanese empire, cultural imperialism, and the critique of orientalism; nationality and representation, with studies on women and narrative, the case of Takamura Kotaro, and Maruyama Masao; and contemporary nationality, including the impact of the modern world system on the nations of the periphery and language, communicability and the national subject.
Takamura, who may be most familiar to English-speaking readers through his poems on his suicidally schizophrenic wife (Chieko and Other Poems of Takamura Kotaro), was the son of a renowned sculptor of wooden Buddhist figures.