Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

July 25, 2011

Haiku Stones: Narita City (Mitsuhashi Takajo)

Mitsuhashi Takajo (1899-1972) is one of the most well-known Japanese women haiku poets.

Takajo was born in Narita, in the family of a government official who also wrote tanka. In 1922 she married a dentist and started writing haiku because her husband was fond of that genre. Takajo is often mentioned together with three other women poets of the same generation: Nakamura Teijo, Hoshino Tatsuko and Hashimoto Takako.

[Statue of Mitsuhashi Takajo, Narita City]

if I climb up this tree
I will become a she-devil
red leaves in the evening 
kono ki noboraba | kijo to narubeshi | yuumomiji 
この樹登らば鬼女となるべし夕紅葉
The she-devil is probably a reference to the apparition from the Noh play Momijigari.  
Read more haiku by Mitsuhashi Takajo in Far Beyond the Field, Haiku by Japanese Women, by Makoto Ueda (New York, 2003). 
The statue stands in a mini-park along the road between the station and Shinshoji. The haiku is written on a stone at the foot of the statue.