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Takajo’s path to avant-garde haiku
Dalarna University, School of Language, Literatures and Learning, Japanese. (LiS)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8111-7603
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Mitsuhashi Takajo (1899-1972) is regarded as one of the most original of the haiku poets active in pre- and postwar Japan. She started studying haiku for Hara Sekitei, a poet of traditionalist lineage, but she soon turned away from the simple realism and focus on natural scenery, typical for early 20th century haiku, and started to explore more subjective and challenging subjects. The aggressiveness of some of her poems have become well known, interpreted as expressing a feminist perspective and the frustration over being a woman in a patriarchal society. As in most modern haiku, her work is strongly autobiographical, and many of the turbulent shifts, both in her private life and in Japanese society, before, during, and after the war, is reflected in her poems. In the postwar period, Takajo started to collaborate with avant-garde poets in Tomizawa Kakio’s circle, and her work became even more experimental.

In this paper, I will discuss Takajo’s development as a poet and show how her oeuvre offers examples of several of the stylistic movements that make up the history of 20th century haiku. Her poems usually include a seasonal reference and adhere to the 5-7-5 rhythm of traditional haiku. However, she uses these conventions in ways different from the objective visuality of the traditionalists. Already in early works, an interest in human society and psychology links her to the Shinkô (New style) poets and the Ningen tankyûha (The explorers of the human condition). Like many other female poets in her generation, she sometimes uses homely themes, but seldom in the simplistic style of the so-called Daidokorohaiku (Kitchen haiku); rather she uses these for enigmatic juxtapositions typical for the avant-garde style, pushing the boundaries of language expression. She also shows a flexibility in register, sometimes using classical poetic language, but sometimes writing in colloquial Japanese, at times even using childish expressions, thus becoming a forerunner for later poets such as Tsubouchi Nenten and Ikeda Sumiko. 

This paper is part of a larger research project, which investigates modern Japanese haiku by female poets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023.
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-47003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-47003DiVA, id: diva2:1799226
Conference
EAJS 2023: The 17th International Conference of the European Association for Japanese Studies
Part of project
Kvinnorna i modern japansk haikuAvailable from: 2023-09-21 Created: 2023-09-21 Last updated: 2023-09-22Bibliographically approved

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https://eajs.eu/eajs-2023-conference/

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Jonsson, Herbert

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CiteExportLink to record
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