Bungo to Alchemist Wiki
Bungo to Alchemist Wiki

State of Mind
Somewhat Stable
171 / 1221
111 / 811
64 / 464
43 / 323
47 / 327

46 / 326
49 / 329
40 / 320


Although he writes of peoples' love and loneliness, the poetry writer himself is a self-absorbed and prideful debtor who is full of contradictions. It is said that he owes other writers money as well. He can disappear in a blink of an eye if you take your eyes off him even for a second. Nevertheless, somehow he never incites hatred from anyone and generally stays well-liked. Perhaps that mysterious charm of his is his true talent.


  • His real name is Ishikawa Hajime.
  • He was born as the third child and the first son in a family of a Zen priest. Because he was the only son, he was spoilt by his parents and grew up developing a consciousness that he was "special" and a strong, bordering on arrogant personality.
  • He established the best record in his class in elementary school and entered middle school at a rank of 10 out of 128; however, his performance gradually declined because of his interest in literature.
  • During middle school, Takuboku visited Kindaichi Kyousuke and formed what was to be a lifelong friendship with him: Kindaichi was not only Takuboku's first teacher of tanka, but continually helped Takuboku during his years of poverty. [1]
  • In April 1902, he was caught cheating on an exam and reprimanded for "misconduct on the terminal examination." Despite the warning, he cheated again in July, so his examination papers were voided, and his punishment was publicly announced. [1]
  • In October, he suddenly left school "for family reasons" and went up to Tokyo, this prevented him from graduating. [1]
  • He started submitting tanka to the magazine Myoujou at only 16 years old. At the beginning of May 1905, he published his first collection of poetry, “Yearning”. [2]
  • Ishikawa's pen name "Takuboku" (Woodpecker) is said to have been given to him by Yosano Tekkan from a poem Ishikawa published in Myoujou, "The Woodpecker's Song". [3]
  • He married his wife Setsuko at 19 years old. The wedding was held on May 30, 1905, while Takuboku was in Tokyo, but on the appointed day he was nowhere to be found. In the end, the ceremony proceeded without him and he returned a few days later with no reason for his delay.
  • Takuboku single-handedly made an effort to establish a little magazine called Shoutenchi, whose first issue was a brilliant success. But the venture was short-lived: financial considerations prevented the appearance of the second issue. [1]
  • In 1907, he travelled alone to Hakodate, Hokkaido, becoming a substitute teacher at a primary school. Very soon, the school burned down in a fire and he moved to Sapporo, where he found work as a proofreader at a newspaper. [2]
  • Soon, he was invited to join the staff of a magazine in Otaru, where he was in charge of the City News together with Ujou Noguchi. Before long, however, he joined in a plot with Noguchi to oust their editor, but the scheme was discovered, and Noguchi was forced to resign. Weirdly enough, Takuboku received an increase in pay to become City Editor on his own. [1]
  • There, he displayed his talents to the fullest, editing the paper as he wished. Unfortunately a conflict within the staff flared up in December, and Takuboku was physically assaulted by the business manager. Angrily, the poet announced his own resignation in the very next edition. [1]
  • Takuboku headed for Kushiro, located in the northeastern end of Hokkaido. He assumed his new job as editor-in-chief of the Kushiro Shinbun. He was determined to improve the paper, and soon the magazine overwhelmed its rival. One of the features in the paper was a column about geisha and their amours, which Takuboku himself had originated. To gather material, he visited restaurants and met the geisha. [1]
  • He felt a strong sense of isolation from the literary circles in Tokyo, where naturalism was nearing its peak. His desire to become a writer overshadowed both family and debauchery, and so he departed for Tokyo on April 24. [1]
  • Upon reaching Tokyo, Takuboku first stopped at Yosano Tekkan's poetry association, the Shinshi-sha; where he was given the job of correcting poems sent to them by amateurs. [1]
  • On May 4, 1908, Takuboku moved into the Sekishinkan, the boardinghouse where Kindaichi was living. Takuboku had thought it wouldn't be too difficult to pay the expenses by selling his stories, but actually, he had not even accumulated enough money for the first month's rent. When a servant came to ask for the payment, Kindaichi pawned some of his own clothing and lent Takuboku the required sum. [1]
  • In a moment of inspiration, Takuboku composed at least 246 tanka in fifty hours from the early morning of June 24 to June 26. One hundred of these tanka were published in the July 1908 issue of Myoujou. [1]
  • In 1909, the publisher Shun’yodo bought his “Byouin no mado” (The Hospital Room), probably because it had been recommended by Mori Ougai, who was always eager to help Takuboku. The company accepted the story and paid Takuboku immediately. Takuboku was so delighted to have at last sold a story that he invited Kitahara Hakushuu to celebrate in Asakusa, where they got incredibly drunk . By the next morning, only six yen were left of the Shun’yodo payment. [4]
  • On the same year, Takuboku was accepted as a a proofreader for the Asahi Shimbun. When Kitahara Hakushuu heard the good news, he treated Takuboku to some black beer. Takuboku returned home in a mellow state that night and wrote, “After ten months of darkness, the beer tonight tasted delicious.” [4]
  • He worked for several years as a proofreader for the Asahi Shimbun, but his diary reveals how often he failed to show up for work, taking off the day in the hopes that he would be able to write a story. [5]
  • Takuboku receved a letter from a poet named Hirayama Yoshiko, who introduced herself as Sugawara Yoshiko’s friend. She was twenty-four and single. She sent some of her poems for his correction, and he immediately asked for a photograph. On December 1, he sent her thirteen poems about love, and on December 5 he wrote to say that the photograph of her beautiful smiling face adorned his desk. This affair disintegrated when Sugawara Yoshiko informed him that Hirayama Yoshiko was in fact a man named Hirayama Yoshitarou.[4]
  • When Subaru, the successor to Myoujou, began publication in 1909, Takuboku was chosen as the editor and publisher, a position he kept for about two years. [5]
  • Because of his illness, Kindaichi arranged to have his second poetry collection, written in what he called "a dismal-looking notebook", published. The publisher gave an advance on the royalties to purchase medicine, but all their efforts were in vain. He died soon after of tuberculosis at age 26, being looked after by his friend Wakayama Bokusui and his wife Setsuko.[5]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Romaji Diary and Sad Toys, Ishikawa Takuboku, 2000
  2. 2.0 2.1 Illusions of Self: The Life and Poetry of Ishikawa Takuboku, Roger Pulvers, 2015
  3. On Knowing Oneself Too Well: Selected Poems of Ishikawa Takuboku, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "The First Modern Japanese: The Life of Ishikawa Takuboku", Donald Keene, 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Dawn to the West: A History of Japanese Literature", Donald Keene, 1999