Mountains and rivers on her desk: novelist Yoshiya Nobuko's Haiku Diary (1944-1973)
This is a video of a talk by Sarah Frederick (Boston University, World Languages and Literatures) for the "Haiku as World Literature: A Celebration of the 150th Birthday of Haiku Poet Masaoka Shiki", which took place on October 12 & 13, 2017 at Barristers Hall, Boston University. Recorded on October 12 by the Geddes Language Center.
Well known as a writer of popular serialized novels, little known is Yoshiya Nobuko (1896-1973)'s deep engagement with haiku, particularly during the Pacific War. Takahama Kyoshi, mentored by Shiki in Matsuyama took over the haiku journal Hototogisu after his death, later moving to Kamakura south of Tokyo. Yoshiya too moved to Kamakura during the war and she came to participate in Kyoshi's ku-kai gatherings there. Once misunderstanding that the meeting was canceled, she showed up in her monpe pantaloons and fire raid safety hat, only to realize she would be a haiku "group" of one that day. By her own account, she found it difficult to write novels near the end of the war and focused on haiku instead, an experience she turned into the novel Kacho (Flowers and Birds, 1948) and a number of biographical sketches of women haiku poets. She also filled many small datebooks with haiku, which I have looked at in her archive and many of which find their way into a posthumous collection edited by her partner. The presentation will discuss materials from Yoshiya's wartime "haiku diary" and relationships among her haiku, novels, and wartime experiences.