- His real name is Yamanouchi Hideo. He was born to Arishima family as fourth son out of five (overall sixth of seven siblings), but he got different surname early on. His mother’s side of family, the Yamanouchi family, was in dire need of a new heir due to his mother’s brother’s death a few days before his birth. He was officially registered to Yamanouchi family on November 1st, 1888.
- His pen-name Satomi Ton was randomly picked up from a telephone directory.
- He had a nickname “Igo” (伊吾), which was popular among some Shirakaba members, especially Shiga had a tendency to use it. The origin for the nickname remains a bit unclear, but it has been said that it's possibly derived from the English word “ego”.
- During his childhood he contracted pneumonia and was at verge of death, but to everyone's surprise he got better. It has been said that because of the pneumonia, his growth was interrupted and reaching adulthood, he was only around 153cm (while Shiga for example was around 170cm).
- When he was young, he met Shiga Naoya through his older brother Ikuma who was friends and classmates with him. First they were simply acquaintances (Ton was 5-7 years old around the time), then during Ton's early teenage years they were almost like brothers. When Ikuma left to study abroad in 1905, he entrusted Ton to Shiga's care. After that the two became close friends, until early 1910s their relationship hit questionable point of if the two actually had romantic feelings toward each others or not (in the past both had had relationships with guys, and both have written about their experiences). Shiga had hard times letting go of Ton and they spent time together a lot, to the point that Ton was often away from home and coming back at late hours, irritating his parents. This led Ton to get tired of his parents, but also of Shiga who was dragging him around to places, sometimes even against his will (like described in Ton's work “You and Me”). From 1913 onwards things started to get tense between them, as Ton wished to run away from home and he wrote “You and Me”, which displeased Shiga. In 1914 summer they moved to Matsue together to find motivation to write (Shiga had got a request from Natsume Souseki, but he never managed to fulfil it), living under same roof for a few days until they moved to different houses. After that summer they started walking more their own paths, Shiga getting married with Mushanokouji's cousin and Ton focusing on writing, finding his own wife too. It was in 1916 summer when Ton announced that he didn't want to be in any kind of contact with Shiga after many displeasing incidents earlier same year, but Shiga didn't agree with that. Only a month later he changed his mind, and the two officially cut ties, not talking to each others at all. They reconciled late 1923, around half a year after Takeo's suicide. Despite many early hardships, according to Shiga's last disciple Agawa Hiroyuki, they remained close until Shiga's death.
- In 1906 the Arishima family's maid led him to a relationship with her (at the time he was 18 and she was around 40 years old). Ashamed of their relationship, but not able to run away from her, he couldn't tell Shiga about it and eventually he lied to him about her true identity. In 1910 he got news that she was pregnant for him, so he seeked Shiga's help, telling the truth he had been hiding for years.
- Together with Shiga, they were frequent brothel visitors. Even when he got married, he had hard times to get rid of this old habit that Shiga got him into in early 1910 (later same year both contracted STDs, that bothered them for years). Just like Shiga, both seemed to need “a thrill” to keep them motivated to write. Especially in Ton's literature, adventures at Yoshiwara and other red-light districts are common.
- At the age of 12, he found Izumi Kyouka’s works and was right away taken by his literary style. In 1910 Kyouka moved to his neighborhood and the following year his works gained the older author’s attention and praise. In 1912 the two met finally, leading him to become his disciple later time. Kyouka was the only one of his all mentors who he ever accepted as his “sensei”, even though he first had refused to call Kyouka by such title, even after when a friend had pointed about his habit of using -san when talking about someone like Kyouka.
- His literary style has hints of Kyouka’s influence with some “ghostly” elements, but mostly he’s known for his way of being “sincere” and telling how things are, many works portraying men not ashamed of their lifestyle (which some of them were based on himself).
- The vast amount of autobiographical works also caused him problems, most of the clashing happening with Shiga, who he wrote a lot about in his works. One notable case took place in 1913 when Ton started serializing autobiographical work “You and Me” (Kimi to Watashi). Shiga wasn’t too happy how there was a character based on him. He admitted that meanwhile he had done and said the things Ton mentioned in the work, he didn’t find them appropriate for the public. This eventually lead their friendship to getting strained, and Shiga’s near-death train accident in August the same year made things worse when Shiga left to recuperate at Kinosaki and Ton’s manuscript for the said work went missing, him suspecting Shiga.
- Ton has written about this train accident in his autobiographical work “Good Heart, Evil Heart” (善心悪心, Zenshin Akushin) how he had been there when the accident took place. According to him, he had been holding bloody Shiga in his arms after the train had hit Shiga from behind, screaming for help the small amount of people who were around at such late hour. When the situation calmed down and he had got Shiga to hospital, he had wished that the guy actually died but so didn’t happen in the end. This very same work is the one that led Shiga to throw out of train's window the magazine where it was published in 1916. After that, Shiga promptly went to nearest post office to send him a letter with words “You dirty bastard”, nothing else.
- According to his own words, he was a troublemaker and caused troubles to the family when he announced wanting to marry a geisha named Masa. Family wasn’t too happy about the news and the fact how Masa was so close to giving birth to their first child when they were informed of it all. They rejected the idea, but Takeo tried to help out his brother and talk sense to them. Eventually their father slightly warmed up for the idea, after the fresh parents had lost their first daughter a month after her birth. However, the mother of the brothers never acknowledged their marriage.
- He also used to spend notable amount of Yamanouchi family’s money for his own entertainment, which also didn’t please his parents.
- He wasn’t particularly close with his older brother Takeo due to their age difference and the fact how differently they were raised. Their personalities also were so different that in his notable work “The Anjou Brothers” (Anjou-ke no Kyoudai, 1932), that revolves around Takeo’s suicide case and his own women troubles at the time, he bashed the older man for being “too dramatic” and claimed he didn’t know anything about women. Even Shiga had commented that he was too harsh about his own brother. However, previously Ton had always looked up to him and for granted was shocked about the news of the suicide, being unable to talk about it for several years without crying. It's possible that around the time when he wrote “The Anjou Brothers”, he was finally more critical about his brother, who during his lifetime had helped him many times despite how distant they were in fact. Later in his life, many interviews and his talk about Takeo were filled with warmth again, so he very likely didn't hate him at any point.
- In 1922 he met a young prostitute called O-ryou, who ended up as his mistress. This story is told about in “The Anjou Brothers” and few other works how it affected his married life with his wife Masa, who was also later found out for cheating on him. Eventually he got a house for O-ryou, and started living there with her more than with his actual wife and children. His relationship with O-ryou lasted until 1952 when she died of uterine cancer, however Ton never moved back together with Masa who he was still married with, instead living under the care of a young woman who O-ryou had entrusted him to before her death.
- Through Kyouka he met Akutagawa Ryuunosuke and Kume Masao, and later time became good friends with them. According to an interview where he had been asked who he was the most close with beside Shirakaba members, he named the by then late Akutagawa. Together they travelled to Hokkaido in 1927 spring to lecture in various schools. During this trip they became notably close, but it all ended short due to Akutagawa's suicide in July that year.
- Ton, Kume and Yoshii Isamu had a questionable reputation and they were known as “bad boys” or "bad influence friends”. Their friendship deepened especially in early 1919 when Kume felt like that Akutagawa and others were condemning him for his lifestyle of being out late drinking and not getting work done. Kume had also been heartbroken since previous year after Matsuoka Yuzuru married Natsume Souseki's daughter, who he had been in love with. This all led Ton and Yoshii to gather together to drink and have fun often, and late same year they started magazine “Human” (Ningen).
- In 1933 Ton got arrested with Kume for gambling with hanafuda cards after being involved in the “immoral aristocrats incident”. The incident revolved around Yoshii Isamu's wife Yanagiwara Tokuko, who was a count (her grandfather was older brother of Yanagiwara Naruko, the mother of Emperor Taishou). She gave out Ton's name to the police when she herself was caught for introducing women of good background and wealth to a certain famous dancehall's owner, who the man had illict relationships with. The reason why she gave out Ton's name was may have a revenge against all involved, as at times she used to play cards with him and others, and had did so even the night prior the arrest. There were cards lying around at Ton's place when the police came to arrest him.
- Late 1982 onwards he started to have heart troubles. In January 5th the next year he caught high fever, which was in fact pneumonia. Few days later he had to get hospitalised due to his condition worsening and he told his son that his time had come. 20th he was in near comatose state and the following day on 21st when he seemed to be all fine, heart troubles hit him again and he was pronounced dead after two hours of trying to save him. He was 94 years old.
- 里見弴伝 「馬鹿正直」の人生 (Satomi Ton Den “Bakashoujiki” no Jinsei), Kayano Ton, 2008.
- Satomi Ton Episode-1 on Shirakaba no Komichi
- Refining Nature in Modern Japanese Literature - The Life and Art of Shiga Naoya, Nanyan Guo, 2014.
- 森の宿 (Mori no Yado, “The Hut in the Forest”), Agawa Hiroyuki, 2011.
- This incident is big theme in his work “You and Me” (君と私, Kimi to Watashi), but it's also briefly mentioned in “Good Heart, Evil Heart” (善心悪心, Zenshin Akushin).
- “二人の作家 (Futari no Sakka, The Two Authors)” by Satomi Ton in 文豪とアルケミスト文学全集 ("Bungou to Alchemist" Literature Collection), Shinchousha, 2017.
- Modern Japanese Novelists - A Biographical Dictionary, John Lewell, 1993
- The Rhetoric of Confession: Shishosetsu in Early Twentieth-Century Japansese Fiction, Edward Fowler, 1988.
- Divided Self: A Biography of Arishima Takeo, Leith Morton, 1988.
- 里見弴の語る大正・昭和文壇うらばなし (Satomi Ton no Kataru Taishou, Shouwa Bundan Urabanashi), Ishihara Tooru, 2018.
- 講演軍記 (Kouen Gunki, Lecture Chronicles), Akutagawa Ryuunosuke, 1927. Retrieved from Aozora Bunko.
- 良友悪友 (Ryouyuu Akuyuu, “Good Friends and Bad Company”), Kume Masao, 1919. Retrieved from Aozora Bunko.