About Kotaro Takamura

Kotaro Takamura (1883-1956) became a legend in Japan during his lifetime for his “Chieko Poems,” which are a collection of poems documenting the evolution of the poet’s relationship with his wife. Reading the anthology chronologically, one can gather a fairly clear outline of the story of their relationship and what Chieko represented to him over time. Beginning with love at first sight and the scandal of their marriage without parental approval, the poet’s life takes a dark turn when Chieko is diagnosed with schizophrenia and dies all too young. Even after her death, Chieko remained central in Kotaro’s life, and he continued to write poem after poem about her. The fact that these were love poems written by a man about his wife makes them unique even today, but in the Japan of the early 1940’s, where marriages were often arranged and marital love was not discussed openly, these poems created a tremendous stir, and they remain a bestseller in poetry today.