Japanese Modernist Innovation

Co-ordinated by Sawako Nakayasu


“ I'm afraid that in the period in which Sagawa Chika lived, female poets were evaluated only for the extent to which they were able to express their experience as women. Whereas Sagawa's talents were held in high esteem by male poets, she was simply highly prized by them, and there is not a single man who took note of the newness of her writing as a particular event in the history of poetry. ”

— Tomioka Taeko, from “Shijin no Tanjo” (Birth of a Poet), in Samazama na uta: shijin to shi (Various Songs: poets and poetry) Bungeishunjyû, 1979

Sawako Nakayasu

Sagawa Chika
Poems translated by Sawako Nakayasu

Ema Shôko
Poems translated by Miryam Sas

Arai Toyomi
‘Spontaneity and a strange sense of freedom: early modernist women poets and Kitasono Katue’: translated by Janine Beichman

  Sagawa Chika


Coordinator's note:

I would like to give many sincere thanks to the following people: a young woman who I only know as Ririka, for typing almost all of Sagawa's poems and posting them on her website; Eric Selland, for extensive correspondence, advice, and mentorship on all things regarding Japanese translation (and to Jerrold Shiroma for publishing Selland's translations and putting us in contact); and to many, many others for their help — including Janine Beichman, Jin Kato, Misako Yarita, Taylor Mignon, Tatsuji Iwabuchi, and my family; and the US-Japan Friendship Commission and the International House of Japan, for a fellowship that gave me the time to work on this project.

Sawako Nakayasu


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