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An attractive artist who perpetually has a gentle smile on his face. Although he is most active in the literary world as a poet, he possesses multiple talents which include carving and painting, as well as calligraphy. Even though he is well-versed in martial arts, due to the fact that he finds war to be a harbinger of sorrow, he feels a little complicated when he has no choice but to fight against taints. He gets tunnel vision when he sees wood that is suitable for carving.


  • Was the first son of the famous sculptor Takamura Kōun (1852-1934).
  • Takamura Kōtarō trained as a sculpturer under his father, before joining the Tokyo University of Fine Arts.
  • After graduating in 1902, he went abroad to further complete his studies: first in New York, then London and finally in Paris.
  • In Paris, he saw The Thinker by the sculptor Auguste Rodin for the first time; Takamura's response to this work was so intense he claimed that he could never look at art the same way again. He began to experiment with his own style, adopting a new approach to both his sculptures and his poetry.[1]
  • He was also a translator and writer of many books and articles on Rodin's artistic career, and realized many tributes to the french artist. [1][2]
  • When he returned from Europe, he was estranged from his family; and entered upon a decadent lifestyle, vigorously opposing social conventions of every kind. [3]
  • He joined a poetry circle called Shinshisha (New Poetry Society), publishing his works to the literary magazine Subaru.
  • In 1910 he published Midori iro no taiyô (Green Sun), an essay in wich he argued for the right of an artist to absolute freedom of self-expression; Midori iro no taiyô is still considered as one of the most influential "art-critical" texts in the country.[1]
  • He frequently drank with other Pan no Kai members, but he was also know to abandon such meetings halfway.
    After a particular meeting broke up one night in 1910, he drunkenly went to observe some of the girls in the red-light district. He was attracted by the hair style and features of one girl in particular, whom he sketched on a pad that he kept in the breast of his kimono.[3]
  • In 1911 he met Nagamuna Chieko (1886-1938) another painter and a member of Seitō-sha, a group for women's liberation. Takamura shared her anti-conformist and progressive aspirations, and the two got married in December 1914.
  • The same year, he published his first poetry book Dōtei (Journey).
  • In 1912 he founded the Fusain-Kai with other painters and sculptors of the time; the first and only exhibition was held in the Ginza at the Yomiuri Shinbun building and displayed the artists interpretations of various styles associated with European post-impressionism.[5]
  • He and Kusano Shinpei were the first critics to take notice of Miyazawa Kenji's self -pulished books in 1924, both of them admired his writing and they introduced him to the literary world, pushing for a wider acknowledgement of his children stories.[6]
  • In 1941 he published the book Chiekoshō, a collection of romantic poetry that he wrote about his life with Chieko, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1931 and died of tuberculosis in 1938.
  • A movie based on Chiekoshō was made in 1967, and got nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.
  • In 1951 Takamura received the 2nd Yomiuri Prize.
  • Takamura retired from public life during the war; as a self recluse he began making wood carving of animals and wrote the poetry collection A Brief History of Imbecility.[7]
  • He died at age 73 due to pulmonary tuberculosis.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Takamura Koun and Takamura Kotaro: On being a Sculptor, Christine Guth, 2004
  2. Paris in Japan: The Japanese encounter with European painting, J. Thomas Rimer, Gerald D. Bolas, Takashina Shuji, 1987
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Singing Heart: An Anthology of Japanese Poems, Kenkichi Yamamoto, 2006
  4. Being Modern in Japan: Culture and Society from the 1910s to the 1930s, Elise K. Tipton and John Clark, 2000
  5. MAVO: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1905-1931, Gennifer Weisenfeld, 2001
  6. Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan Gen Itasaka, 1983
  7. A Brief History of Imbecility: Poetry and Prose of Takamura Kōtarō, Hiroaki Sato, 1992