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Thousand Strands of Black Hair

Thousand Strands of Black Hair

By Seiko Tanabe, Translated by Meredith McKinney

This book tells the story of the turbulent lives of Akiko Yosano (1878–1942) and Tekkan Yosano (1873–1935), two poets who sparked a revolution in the world of Japanese classical poetry.

Hardback, 283 Pages

ISBN:9780857282460

January 2012

£19.99, $34.95

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  • About This Book
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About This Book

This book examines and re-imagines the turbulent and intertwined lives of Akiko Yosano (1878–1942) and Tekkan Yosano (1873–1935), two poets who sparked a revolution in the world of Japanese ‘tanka’ (short-verse classical poetry).

Born in provincial Sakai, in the Osaka prefecture, the young Akiko defied expectation to become a female poet, a calling through which she met Tekkan Yosano, the figurehead poet of the iconic literary journal 'Myojo' and who would eventually become her husband. The author explores the effect of their passionate and at times tormented relationship on their hugely influential work, as well as describing each of their childhoods, as she uses documentary sources along with her storytelling abilities in order to evoke the intimate details of their lives, together and apart. The story of these two poets is interwoven with those of the other poets and family who surrounded them, while these personal stories are also situated within their wider historical context.

Sensitively and beautifully translated by Meredith McKinney, this is an intimate and personal exploration of the compelling lives of these two Japanese poets, in what the author calls 'a love letter' to their memories.

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Author Information

Seiko Tanabe is a fiction writer and the winner of the Akutagawa Prize for her 1964 novel ‘Senchimentaru jani’ (Sentimental Journey).

Meredith McKinney is currently a visiting fellow at the Japan Centre, Australian National University, and works as a freelance translator.

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