The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature will be available via subscription on April 26. Visit About to learn more, meet the editorial board, or recommend to your librarian.

Show Summary Details

Page of

 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, LITERATURE ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 April 2018

The Reception of Beat Writers in Japan

Summary and Keywords

The Beat writers, especially Jack Kerouac (1922–1969), William Burroughs (1914–1997), Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), and Gary Snyder (1930–), have been well known in Japan. Though Snyder’s differences from the other three, such as his West Coast background and a reformist and edifying stance, are obvious, here we choose not to be fussy about the application of a name, and simply follow his inclusion as in Ann Charter’s The Penguin Book of the Beats (1992). The Beat writers have been eagerly translated and read in Japan, though they are not a common focus of academic literary study. They exerted influence on writers and artists, in particular in terms of a rebellious attitude toward the conformist society and formalized artistic conventions prevailing in Japan. One conspicuous aspect of their impact is that it is part of the influx of American popular, mainly youth, culture since the 1950s, involving jazz, folk, and rock music, as well as numerous films depicting antiheroes on the road. Some Japanese poets, most notably Shiraishi Kazuko (1931–) and Yoshimasu Gōzō (1939–) were directly inspired by the Beats, and others unwittingly formed parallel developments. Assessing their specific achievements requires considering the historical context of modern Japanese poetry. The Beats, in turn, were attracted by Eastern cultures and religions, especially Buddhism; Snyder through his stay in Japan for the practice and study of Zen Buddhism had direct contact with Japanese poets, academics, and activists. Generally speaking, Japanese today, though they usually have some inkling of what Zen is, are not necessarily aware of the Buddhist heritage informing their basic worldview. Still, literary manifestations of what Alan Watts termed “Beat Zen,” in particular Kerouac’s, are not dissimilar to the religious attitude of many Japanese toward the world, which tends to seek to intuit a sense of enlightenment or salvation here and now, beyond humanly delimited distinctions and preconceptions.

Keywords: Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Beats, reception, Shiraishi Kazuko, Yoshimasu Gōzō, modern Japanese poetry, jazz, Buddhism

The Reception and Its Contexts

The introduction of American literature to Japan included not only translations of the Beat writers but also books and literary magazines’ special issues on them. Japanese literature has been formed through the ongoing process of native traditions’ interactions with Western literature. Compared with French or German or Russian literature, American literature did not occupy a central position in Japan until after World War II. But recently these works are amply translated and keenly studied in Japan.

Thanks to these efforts, the main traits of the Beats’ works and lives are fairly well known, particularly their eventful life stories replete with antisocial or self-destructive behavior. Again, Snyder is different, and more properly not a Beat but rather a San Francisco renaissance poet; as such he was in the Beats’ orbit. Suwa Yū (1929–1992), mainly a translator of Ginsberg and himself a poet, published a general survey of the movement entitled Bīto Jenerēshon [The Beat Generation] in 1965.1 John Tytell’s Naked Angels (1976) became available in Japanese in 1978. So the standard picture of the Beats as rebels against the conformist 1950s U.S. mainstream society and precursors to the 1960s counterculture has been common knowledge for a long time, as in works such as David Halberstam’s The Fifties (1993), itself translated into Japanese in 1997.

The influence of the Beats has been part of the more general influence of American popular culture. Though originally a phenomenon of the 1950s and mainly associated with jazz, Ginsberg is also associated with the 1960s counterculture, and Burroughs became a cultural icon for later radical artists and musicians. In Japan, too, they remain the sort of writers the bookish type of aspiring musicians and artists read.

However, the bohemianism and antisocial tendencies of modern artists at large have been noticed in Japan since the end of the 19th century. The figures of poète maudit and enfant terrible—embodied in Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, and Arthur Rimbaud—became entrenched in the collective imagination, together with their audacious use of language. Since then, various trends deriving directly or indirectly from French symbolism have been introduced to Japan, including Anglo-American modernism. By the middle of the 1930s, important poets such as Hagiwara Sakutarō (1886–1942), Nishiwaki Junzaburō (1894–1982), Miyazawa Kenji (1896–1933), and Nakahara Chūya (1907–1937) had published works that are comparable to those by the representative figures of modernism in terms of imaginative and formal originality.

Therefore, some narratives of Japanese cultural history place misleading emphasis on postwar “Americanization” after the collapse of the Japanese variety of fascism by ignoring its prehistory. Still, the impact of those parts of American culture, especially in music, that came from outside the white Protestant middle-class ethos has been massive, as in many parts of the world.

Though the title here implies the influence of the Beats in Japan, and there were some poets who regarded themselves as Japanese Beats, the following account also takes up other poets who ventured thematic and formal explorations in a manner that were parallel to the Beats and other American experimental poets. How are some Japanese poets who are relatively well-known through overseas activities or associations with American literary figures evaluated in relation to other poets and writers? This article will present more or less consensus views of their estimation. We will also refer to Nakagami Kenji (1946–1992), widely accepted as one of the most important novelists of his generation, whose prose has a feeling of improvisation, since in his youth, the novelist was an avid listener of jazz.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Japanese students protested against the authoritarian mores of society, especially the management of the universities and the conservative government that supported U.S. military operations in the Vietnam War. Though some of the left-wing factions fell into dead-end infightings and terrorism, sometimes political and artistic radicalism converged to produce an atmosphere of creative unrest, which is described for instance by Yoshimasu Gōzō (1939–) in an interview by Onda Aki, included in his book of poems in English translation, Alice Iris Red Horse.2 There he recollects various people active in the fields of dance, theater, photography, avant-garde art, and literature. Besides, among intellectuals, Marxism still had prestige, but other crosscurrents like Existentialism and Structuralism were also attracting attention.

However, these influences from abroad should not obscure the fact that Japan’s modernization in essence has not been a process of “Westernization” as usually understood. The Japanese Christian population to this day remains about 1 percent.3 Japanese religiosity cannot be characterized as exclusively Buddhist, since it includes other elements such as an indigenous animistic worship of nature, the Edo-era Confucianism that prompted rationalism, the modern quasi-monotheistic state religion of the emperor cult, as well as the basic drift of secularization. Still, it can be said that the Beats’ Zen or other Buddhist musings have been met by the latent Buddhist disposition within many of today’s Japanese, though not necessarily self-consciously.

Reception of Jack Kerouac

After the success of On the Road (1957), Kerouac’s book, with its idea of “the Beat Generation,” was quickly introduced to Japan. Its translation by Fukuda Minoru was published in 1959.4 Since then, Kerouac’s major novels and collections of poetry have been consistently translated into Japanese. Aoyama Minami published a new translation of On the Road in 2007 as the first volume of a twenty-four-volume Sekai Bungaku Zenshū [World Literature Classics] (actually only of the 20th century) edited by the novelist-critic Ikezawa Natsuki (1945–).Ikezawa had translated, together with Takahashi Yūichirō, Kerouac’s selected poems, mostly from Mexico City Blues (1959), in a bilingual edition entitled Jakku Keruakku Shishū [Poems by Jack Kerouac] in 1991.5 Aoyama also issued a translation of On the Road: The Original Scroll (2007) separately in 2010, and translated Tristessa (1960) in 2013.6

As of November 2016, Aoyama’s translation of On the Road is also available in one of the pocket-size paperback series issued by major publishing houses (bunko in Japanese); The Subterraneans (1958), The Dharma Bums (1958), and Lonesome Traveler (1960) are also included in such series.7 The translator of the last of the three, Nakagami Tetsuo (1939–), has also issued Big Sur (1962) with Watanabe Hiroshi, Desolation Angels (1965), Satori in Paris (1966), and Book of Blues (1995) with Keida Yūsuke.8 Nakagami himself is a poet in a mode obviously influenced by the Beats.

Besides the books by Kerouac, works about him have also been translated, such as Jack’s Book (rev. ed. 2012) by Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee, Carolyn Cassady’s Heart Beat (1976), Edie Kerouac-Parker’s You’ll Be Okay (2007), Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos’s One and Only (2011), John Leland’s Why Kerouac Matters (2008), and also guidebooks like Steve Turner’s Angelheaded Hipster (1996) and Bill Morgan’s The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac’s City (1997). Morgan’s The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Guidebook (2003) has also been published in Japanese.

Though in the field of academic study no major monograph in Japanese on Kerouac has been published, in his four-volume Kōgi Amerika Bungakushi [Lectures on American Literature for Japanese Scholars and Students] (2007–2010), Watanabe Toshio traces how the novelist, though antagonistic to the mainstream U.S. culture, was representative of “the American dream” of freedom and mobility.9 Kerouac’s importance as a creator of a cultural archetype, the antihero on the road, is widely recognized. He is often mentioned in books and articles on the cultural history of the post-World War II United States.

Since the autobiographical/confessional type of novels are common in modern Japanese literature (the so-called I Novel), Kerouac’s mode of storytelling is easily accessible to Japanese readers, and his attempt at jazz-like improvisation in his poems and novels has been noticed and appreciated, as for instance by Takahashi Yūichirō in his afterword to the Jakku Keruakku Shishū [Poems by Jack Kerouac].

Reception of William Burroughs

Burroughs is also a focus of intense interest, translation, and study. Junkie (1953) and Naked Lunch (1959) were published in Japan, in 1969 and 1965 respectively, translated by Ayukawa Nobuo (1920–1986), a poet-critic.10 Ayukawa was one of the prominent figures of the so-called Arechi [The Waste Land] group of poets that led the poetry scene immediately after World War II; he formed his approach through the study of T. S. Eliot’s poetry and criticism. His translations, as revised by Yamagata Hiroo to fit the originals’ recent editions and emend some infelicities, are at present still available in a pocket-size paperback series from a renowned publisher.11 As Yamagata testifies, Ayukawa’s translations are exact and readable.

In the same series are included The Yage Letters Redux (with Allen Ginsberg, 2007) by Yamagata (its earlier 1963 edition had been previously translated by Iida Takaaki and Suwa Yū), and The Soft Machine (1968 ed.), the first novel written with the cut-up method, by Yamagata and Yanashita Kiichirō.12

Most of Burroughs’s other major works also have been published in Japan: Yamagata translated the second cut-up novel Nova Express (1964), The Wild Boys (1971), The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (1975 ed.), Queer (1985) with Yanashita Kiichirō, The Cat Inside (1986), Ghost of Chance (1995), and My Education: Book of Dreams (1995), as well as the resurrected And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks (2008), coauthored by Burroughs and Kerouac.13

Another translator, Iida Takaaki, rendered into Japanese the third cut-up novel The Ticket That Exploded (1967 ed.), and the trilogy The Cities of the Red Night (1981), The Place of Dead Roads (1981), and The Western Lands (1981).14 In addition to various translations of Burroughs’s minor pieces and articles on him in literary magazines’ special numbers, Barry Miles’s biography William Burroughs (1992) was published in 1993.

Burroughs’s notorious life story is not news in Japan. His nightmarish experiences of drug addiction and the grotesque and surreal visions they induced have been relished by those with a taste for the ugly and repellent, even though the cut-up method makes his narratives difficult to read. His obsession with the theme of control and manipulation has also been appreciated.

These and other aspects of Burroughs have been researched thoroughly by Yamagata Hiroo’s 2003 study Takaga Barōzu Bon [It’s Only a Book on Burroughs],with professional exactitude and exhaustiveness.15 Yamagata’s day job is as a research fellow of a major think tank, but besides being a Burroughs geek, he also is a commentator on current intellectual issues. Well known for provocative aggressiveness, his iconoclasm is aimed at not only the old guard but also what he regards as the sloppiness of some of Japan’s postmodern writers and thinkers. So he is quite explicit about the defects of previous translations, except Ayukawa’s, and various critical interpretations of Burroughs. Yamagata, in particular, analyzes the method of cut-up and fold-in as attempts to escape from control and manipulation by resorting to chance, and evaluates their efficacy in producing cool phrases and sentences.

Another Burroughs devotee, Dan Keisuke, whose professional specialization is Latin American literature, wrote a book titled Raitingu Mashīn [Writing Machine] (2010), to explore the details of Burroughs’s search for yage in Columbia and Peru, and the novelist’s personal motives behind his literary mode of “routines.”16

Reception of Allen Ginsberg

Ginsberg has been introduced to Japan mainly through Suwa Yū’s efforts. His translation of “Howl” (1956) appeared in a poetry magazine in 1960; he published an introductory monograph Aren Ginzubāgu [Allen Ginsberg] in 1963; and his Ginzubāgu Shishū [Poems by Ginsberg] issued in 1965 with “Howl” at its center is still available from the poetry publisher Shichōsha. Although his translation is not always accurate, Suwa’s “Howl” gets the bardic, elegiac tone and atmosphere of the poem right, and sounds convincing at least for the first stretch and several others.17

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, many special issues of magazines on the Beats appeared, some of which are mentioned by Yoshimasu, and some Japanese poets were stimulated into their own poetry reading. Ginsberg himself came to Japan on his return trip from India in 1963, to meet Gary Snyder and his Japanese friends in Kyoto, though it was not an occasion for a public poetry reading.

Ginsberg did a series of poetry readings in Japan in 1988, and Shichōsha’s poetry magazine issued a special number on Ginsberg. In 1989, Tomiyama Hidetoshi published Amerika No Botsuraku [The Fall of America], consisting of a selection from the “The Fall of America” section of The Collected Poems (1985) and two poems from the 1950s, “America” and “Sunflower Sutra.”18 A translation of White Shroud (1986) by Takashima Makoto was published in 1991.19 After the poet’s death, Shichōsha published a special retrospective Allen Ginsberg number in 1997, now available as a regular book, in which along with some translations from his poems and numerous articles on him by many hands, a new version of “Howl” in Japanese by Tomiyama appeared.20

Among 20th-century American poets, Ginsberg and Snyder to this day remain the most well known in Japan, and the June 2016 reading of Ginsberg poems in Tokyo by Patti Smith (1946–) with Philip Glass (1937–), which included their Japanese translation on screen by the novelist Murakami Haruki (1949–) and the prolific translator of American literature Shibata Motoyuki (1954–), was accompanied by publication in the literary magazine Shinchō.21

Within academic literary study, only one monograph, Tanioka Tomomi’s study issued in 2011 tracing the poet’s thematic and formal developments from “Howl” to The Fall of America, has been published; a bilingual anthology of American poetry in a pocket-size paperback series, from the prestigious publisher Iwanami, includes “A Supermarket in California.”22

Suwa’s image of Ginsberg emphasized the poet’s tragic sense of being victimized by the repressive society, and his prophet-like denunciation of its evil. By contrast, Tomiyama, in the afterword to the translation and elsewhere, stressed the poet’s often self-mocking ironical black humor, and how his denunciation of the enormities of the American Empire verges on the masochistic pleasure of being overwhelmed by its absurd sublimity.

As for “Kaddish,” the poet’s doleful elegy to his deceased mother who suffered from mental illness, both Tomiyama, in an article in the 1997 Shichōsha special issue, and Watanabe Toshio in his Kōgi Amerika Bungakushi [Lectures on American Literature for Japanese Scholars and Students] pointed out how within Ginsberg’s enumeration of events and details from the mother’s tragic life, nostalgic and depressing memories gradually merge, to be affirmed and celebrated beyond good and evil.23

Reception of Gary Snyder

In Japan, Gary Snyder has been the most consistently translated among recent and contemporary American poets, which is not unexpected because of his stay in Japan for the practice of Zen Buddhism and other activities (1956–1957, 1959–1964, 1965–1969), and the subsequent personal, artistic, intellectual, and religious exchange between him and his Japanese associates. He practiced Zen under Miura Isshū (1903–1978) at Shōkoku-ji, and later under Oda Sessō (1901–1966) at Daitoku-ji, both in Kyoto.

Snyder also made friends with a number of Japanese poets and intellectuals, mainly those who dared to detach themselves from the hierarchical Japanese society, calling themselves Buzoku [the Tribe]. They were part of the back-to-nature experiment with living in a commune of their own, far from big cities. How Snyder chose to associate with them instead of the Japanese Marxist or existentialist or surrealist intellectuals or literati, whom he considered to be still too square, is narrated in a paper by Yamazato Katsunori, an academic teaching in Okinawa and devoted specialist of Snyder.24

Snyder himself, in a footnote to a 1960 paper on new American poetry, which he originally contributed to the renowned Japanese journal Chūō Kōron, characterized the Japanese urban mainstream intelligentsia as “existentialist Marxists, with a French symbolist aesthetic—an imported mindscape, incompletely assimilated into the just-beginning Japanese industrial renaissance and rising affluence.”25 This observation is shrewd, but among the type of intellectuals Snyder referred to, and their various descendants, the “best minds” tend to become Spinozist or Nietzschean or Deleuzean, or adherents of other schools not congruent with Platonism or Christianity: a phenomenon that might be described as, broadly speaking, the continuation of East Asian Buddhism in other forms.

Among Snyder’s Japanese friends, the most prominent was Sakaki Nanao (1923–2008), who would become known as an international hobo and poet writing in both Japanese and English. His poems in English are now collected in How to Live on the Planet Earth (2013), with a preface by Snyder; those in Japanese in Kokoperi no Ashiato [Footsteps of Kokopelli] (2010), with a brief biography.26 His maverick personality and koan-like epigrams and ditties have impressed many Americans; there is an essay by A. Robert Lee which evaluates his poetry in English.27 Moreover, Snyder met his third wife, Masa, who is Japanese, at the house of a distinguished professor of American poetry, Kanaseki Hisao (1918–1996).

Another important encounter of a different kind was his discovery of the Japanese Buddhist poet and storywriter Miyazawa Kenji: without doubt one of Japan’s greatest, widely recognized for his diversity and depth, along with the countless amazing details in his works.28 Miyazawa’s enormous power to invite responses are attested to by, among innumerable others, Yoshimasu Gōzō reciting Miyazawa’s poems in a CD book, and Trinh T. Minh-ha making a film, Night Passage, from his story “Ginga Tetsudo No Yoru” [“The Night of the Milky Way Railway”].29 One section of Snyder’s book of poetry, The Back Country (1968), was devoted to translations of Miyazawa.

Since Snyder returned to California with his literary and cultural status established, most of his books have been translated into Japanese. As for his poetry, Turtle Island (1974) was translated by Sakaki, a selection from No Nature: New and Selected Poems (1992) by Kanaseki and the novelist Katō Yukiko, and Mountains and Rivers Without End (1996) by Yamazato and Hara Shigeyoshi.30 Hara published his translation of Danger on Peaks (2004), and recently started to translate Snyder’s earlier poetry systematically. So far, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems (1965) and The Back Country by Hara have appeared.31

These translations have tried to render Snyder’s adroit poetic tactics, such as the imagistic notation of events in nature, conveyed through subtly ambiguous paratactic phrases, and the delicate or witty presentation of nature’s infinitely interconnected processes. Snyder’s citation of the 13th-century Japanese Zen master Dōgen (1200–1253) and his use of the Nō theater form within Mountains and Rivers Without End have drawn much curiosity in Japan. Yamazato contributed an essay on Snyder’s adoption of the Nō to a 2015 book edited by Mark Gonnerman.32

Snyder’s Buddhist environmentalist theoretical essays have been translated into Japanese, and studied among people concerned with the conservation of nature: Earth House Hold (1969), The Practice of the Wild (1990), and A Place in Space (1995) have been published in Japan.33 His status as a pioneer of nature writing and ecocriticism is widely recognized. Yamazato wrote a monograph on Snyder titled Basho O Ikiru [Poetics of Place] (2006), covering both his poetry and environmentalist writings.34 Before that, Snyder’s career was discussed in Kodama Sanehide’s 1984 study American Poetry and Japanese Culture.35 Tanaka Hiroyoshi published a book treating Snyder’s poetry in relation to Zen Buddhism.36

Snyder contributed a preface, now collected in his A Place in Space as “The Old Masters and the Old Women,” to a book titled A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters, compiled and translated by Shigematsu Sōiku, a Zen monk and scholar of American poetry.37 A book of dialogs between Snyder and Yamao Sansei (1938–2001), another member of “the Tribe” and a poet-essayist who practiced living in nature on a small island off Kyūshū, was published in Japanese in 1998, supervised by Yamazato.38 Many articles on Snyder have been published in various academic and general publications. In recent years, Snyder has come to Japan fairly often to read poems, lecture, and receive prizes.

Though some Japanese tend to suppose, rather optimistically and often self-deceptively, that Japanese are nature lovers guided by native reverence, by temporarily forgetting the industrialized environment, Snyder’s well-articulated Buddhist environmentalism, deliberately formulated within the milieu of predominantly monotheistic culture, induces them to rethink their dealings with the land, especially after the nuclear debacle of Fukushima.

The Influence on Japanese Poets: Poetry Reading

For the younger Japanese poets who got interested in the Beats in the 1960s, Ginsberg’s emotional, sweeping expressiveness immediately caught their attention, though other elements of American innovative poetry, such as Snyder’s sensitive maneuvers, were not completely overlooked. Moreover, Kenneth Rexroth (1905–1982) visited Japan for the first time in 1967, commencing a series of stays that resulted in fruitful contact with Japanese culture, recorded and analyzed in Kodama’s book. Among other things in 1967, Rexroth gave a poetry reading with jazz musicians, which had an impact on Japanese poets.

Shiraishi Kazuko (1931–) in the recollection of her poetic career Kuroi Hitsuji No Monogatari [Story of a Black Sheep] (1996) recounts how she and like-minded poets started to experiment with poetry readings, often with jazz musicians.39 The poets included Suwa Yū, the Ginsberg translator; Yagi Chūei (1941–), later an editor of the poetry publisher Shichōsha and chronicler of the poetry scenes; and Yoshimasu Gōzō. Yoshimasu too testifies to how he was strongly impressed by the poetry magazines that featured the Beat poets, especially Ginsberg. But needless to say, for these poets, the influence of the Beats cannot have been the sole influential source for their poetry.

Poetry Reading and Poetic Rhythm

Poetry reading, with or without musicians, is a difficult topic to take up, as until the era of YouTube, there were few accessible audio and visual recordings. For a testimony, Rexroth regarded Shiraishi as “the best poet ever to use the form” of “poetry read to jazz,” in his introduction to her book of poems in English translation.40 Of Shiraishi’s poetry reading, one LP with the jazz saxophonist Sam Rivers centering on her elegy to John Coltrane was reissued on CD in 2004; there also is a CD by the jazz trumpeter Oki Itaru featuring Shiraishi.41

Of Yoshimasu’s work, another Oki Itaru LP featuring him was reissued on CD in 2009, and a 2007 CD presents his collaboration with the free jazz guitarist Takayanagi Masayuki and the bassist Midorikawa Keiki.42 On YouTube now can be found recent videos and earlier audio recordings of their poetry reading, as well as others by Sakaki Nanao, Yagi Chūei, and Nakagami Tetsuo.

Generally speaking, poets’ materials mainly prepared for live performance tend to be lifeless when heard as an autonomous organism from the page, if they are too dependent on extrinsic music. Good poets instinctively work with the rhythms inherent in their native tongue. As for Japanese poetic rhythm, modern Japanese “free verse” naturally has had connections with traditional poetic rhythms and musicality, which of course are grounded on the basic traits of the Japanese language.

There have been a number of theories that characterize and analyze this process, treating the metrical unit of five- or seven-syllable verse as made up of four two-syllable beats. Though for now, even among poetry critics, the idea has not been widely shared, there is one exposition of it available in English, in Kawamoto Kōji’s The Poetics of Japanese Verse. Tomiyama analyzed Snyder’s translation of Miyazawa Kenji in terms of the correlation between two modes of “free verse,” characterizing Miyazawa’s rhythm as an extension of traditional meter.43 Today Japanese “free verse” still means something on the page, but the better poets convey their intrinsic rhythm and musicality.

Poetry, the Jazz Culture, and the Novelist Nakagami Kenji

The impact of Beat poets in Japan overlapped with a part of the long history of the Japanese reception of jazz. For the various contexts of jazz’s reception, appreciation, and creation in Japan, one of the most extensive studies is by an American scholar now writing in Japanese, Michael S. Molasky. His Sengo Nihon No Jazu Bunka [The Jazz Culture in Post-War Japan] (2005) takes up Shiraishi, along with several literary figures, and points out the similarities between her flexible manner of poetry reading not bound by a fixed text, and jazz musicians’ improvisation.44

Yet, generally speaking, the actual collaboration between poets and musicians could be predictable, or at worst trite, as in the case of Kerouac himself on some LPs. Moreover, arguably in this connection, the artistically most important point has been the widespread exposure of Japanese to the rhythm and improvisation of American popular music, mainly of African-American origin, rather than the specific success or failure of the attempts to overtly interact with them.

There are some Japanese novelists, like Miyauchi Katsusuke (1944–), who recollect how they were inspired by the Beats and discuss them in essays and interviews.45 But the relationship between the Beats and Japanese writers need not be considered in terms of direct, acknowledged influence from specific writers. Instead, we can focus on the shared milieu of jazz culture in Molasky’s sense, where one acquires for instance a usable sense of artistic freedom hearing music.

So, though not directly stimulated by the Beats, the novelist Nakagami Kenji (1946–1992) testified that he was immersed in jazz music, mostly through LPs, in his youth, and we might be able to hear its repercussions in his later prose’s improvisatory persistence, as Molasky argues. Recently a paperback collection of Nakagami’s essays on jazz was issued.46

Nakagami came from a community historically discriminated against and impoverished, though not ethnically different from other Japanese, and his novels narrate the troubled, irregular lives of its people modeled on his own family, in a way reminiscent of William Faulkner’s saga. In English, there are a volume of translations from his novellas and a study, both by Eve Zimmerman.47

Shiraishi Kazuko in the History of Modern Japanese Poetry

Among the poets influenced by the Beats, the most notable have been Shiraishi and Yoshimasu. In the field of contemporary poetry, which enjoys a far smaller audience than novels, both have been visible presences for general readers. In particular, Shiraishi attracted people’s attention, partly through her flamboyant behavior considered at that time to be scandalous, such as dating African Americans. But her artistic adventurousness itself was appreciated by perceptive people, among them Kenneth Rexroth.

Her book of poems in English translation from the 1960s and 1970s, Seasons of Sacred Lust, was published by New Directions in 1975, with a preface by Rexroth. Her later collections of poems have been issued by the same publisher: Let Those Who Appear in 2002 and My Floating Mother, City in 2009.48

The impact of the Beats on Japanese poets, though surely recognizable, should be set within the context of the history of modern Japanese poetry to more adequately evaluate each poet. Thematically, Shiraishi in the 1960s was a pioneer in the self-expression of new feminine sensibility, sensuality, and sexuality.

But, for example, her often anthologized poem “Penis” is not erotic in the usual sense (four English versions available, such as in the New Direction Season of Sacred Lust with the title “The Man Root”; in Leith Morton’s personal anthology of sixteen modern Japanese poets; in 101 Modern Japanese Poems, of fifty-five poets, originally compiled by Ōoka Makoto; and in The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature with the title “The Phallus”).49 Rather it sets forth the thing in question as embodying both life’s energy and its utter oddness, wittily treating the penis as a birthday present to her girlfriend. The poem’s effects come from various grammatical, semantic, and pragmatic twists which displace idiomatic expectations and the societal common sense behind them.

Shiraishi herself explains, in her poetic autobiography Kuroi Hitsuji No Monogatari, where she picked up these tricks. She did her poetic apprenticeship in post-World War II Japan joining a group led by Kitazono Katsue (the standard alphabetical transcription of his name, though he himself signed “Katue Kitasono”). Kitazono was active in the 1920s and early 1930s in the revolt against old-style lyricism, and promoted various poetic experiments.

In the late 1930s he collaborated with the cultural politics of the Japanese brand of fascism, but after the war he resumed his role and engaged in, among other things, concrete poetry and nonverbal poetry using visual figures. Kitazono is also known for his correspondence with Ezra Pound.50 Incidentally, the American scholar John Solt has done the most comprehensive study of Kitazono’s life and works.51

However, with due acknowledgment to Kitazono’s role in transmitting defamiliarizing poetic devices, and to Solt’s scholarly accomplishment, we cannot disregard the fact that Kitazono as a poet in his own right, compared with other major figures, has not attracted much attention, quite justifiably as many readers of modern and contemporary Japanese poetry see it.52 Moreover, Solt’s ascription of importance to Kitazono’s introduction of foreign writers, and his schematic division between traditional lyricism and poetic innovation are not truly convincing.

As a matter of fact, the translation of Arthur Rimbaud in the early 1930s by Kobayashi Hideo (1902–1983), one of Japan’s most important literary critics, had a greater impact on generations of poetry readers; and the poetry of Nakahara Chūya, Kobayashi’s literary ally, superbly fused traditional Japanese metrical lyricism with French symbolism, in a way not bound by narrow aestheticist norms but imbued with his personal reception of Dadaism as an inkling of “the World before Names.”53

In her memoir, Shiraishi also mentions the influence from Nishiwaki Junzaburō, a far more substantial poet than Kitazono. He was a pioneer, introducing modernism and surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s, including as a translator of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (but no adherent to Eliot’s Christian classicism). In the 1950s and 1960s, contemporaneously with younger poets, Nishiwaki wrote a series of remarkable, freewheeling long poems filled with witty verbal defamiliarization. They cite various names and topics from the West and the East, the primitive and the cultured, on a plane of all-inclusive pathos where these distinctions lose meaning.54

As for the history of the post-World War II poetry, it is common to start with the Arechi [The Waste Land] group, whose leading figure Ayukawa was a Burroughs translator, and continue with various subsequent writers and schools.55 But, generally speaking, a story of procession of different schools and viewpoints, supposed to reflect the general drift of history, often does not cohere, and proves rather ephemeral. Still, one such informative narrative about post-World War II poetry by Yagi Chūei is included as “Introduction” to 101 Modern Japanese Poems.56

Yoshimasu Gōzō and His Contemporaries

In the early 1960s, Yoshimasu got wide notice among poetry readers through the sheer brilliance of his talent. Along with Shiraishi, he remains another relatively well-known Japanese poet abroad, through collections, such as Thousand Steps . . . and More (1987), Osiris, the God of Stone (1989), and most recently Alice Iris Red Horse (2016), which collects his poems since the late 1990s.57

If poetry on the page should convey its intrinsic rhythmical organization, Yoshimasu’s poems are quite satisfying. His splendid talent turns out shapely phrases and sentences, with supple rhythmical variety. As he studied Japanese literature at university, its classical themes and phrases are often incorporated into his poetry. Influenced by Ginsberg’s sweeping gestures, Yoshimasu’s early poems often stage a knowingly histrionic search for some mystical experience or mythic encounter within today’s cityscape, yet are frequently accompanied by an ironical admission of inadequacy or impossibility (not unlike Ginsberg’s typical poems, actually).58 One short early representative poem “Burning” is included in both 101 Modern Japanese Poems and his collection Thousand Steps . . . and More. The latter contains many poems from the 1960s and later periods.

Contemporary poets Suzuki Shirōyasu (1935–) and Amazawa Taijirō (1936–) wrote in the 1960s with an intensity and audacity comparable to Yoshimasu’s. Though not directly related to the influence of the Beats, their poetry suggests other embodiments of the zeitgeist. Suzuki wrote a group of poems exposing his own erotic obsessions and fantasies, in a way both grotesque and hilarious, steeped in the pathos of men and women caged within big apartment complexes.

Amazawa’s poems in the 1960s experimented with a sheer flow of language that is almost incomprehensible, yet it is imbued with visceral sensuality and sustained by a persistent rhythm derived from Miyazawa’s verse. Two poems each by Suzuki and Amazawa are included in 101 Modern Japanese Poems.

To grasp the more or less consensus estimations of various contemporary poets, look at how the poetry publisher Shichōsha (not of one coterie) issues selected poems in a paperback series, Gendaishi Bunko [Contemporary Poets Series]. Highly evaluated poets get their work published early in their careers, and possibly a couple of times as they evolve. Here is a list about the poets mentioned in this article: Shiraishi (1931–) in 1968, 1978, and 1994; Suzuki (1935–) in 1969, 1980, and 1994; Amazawa (1936–) in 1968, 1980, and two in 1993; Yoshimasu (1939–)in 1971, 1978, and two in 1994; whereas with Suwa (1929–1992) in 1981; Nakagami Tetsuo (1939–) in 2015; Yagi (1941–) in 1996; and as for Sakaki (1923–2008) and Yamao (1938–2001), so far none.

Buddhism: American and Japanese

Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums has two Japanese translations: the first one by Ohara Hirotada in 1973 with a Japanese title meaning “Zen Hippie,” the second by Nakai Yoshiyuki in 1982 with another title meaning “The Japhy Ryder Story,” which was republished in 2007 with the English title transliterated into Japanese, Za Daruma Bamuzu.59

Its presentation of American Zen Buddhist meditations, however, has not been extensively discussed in Japan, although the afterwords to the editions referred to it, and Ikezawa Natsuki in his afterword to Keruakku Shishū [Poems by Kerouac] stressed the importance of the American’s exploration of the Buddhist truth of “emptiness,” within the cultural/religious context thoroughly dominated by the metaphysics/theology of “the Supreme Presence.”

Today not many Japanese are sure what Zen is. Zen is only a current within the multiple and often contradictory elements of Japanese Buddhism, and the actual practice of Zen has remained a concern for the few. Not only the Zen master Dōgen (1200–1253), but also Shinran (1173–1262) and Nichiren (1222–1282), great religious thinkers and founders of their respective Buddhist schools, have been studied and reinterpreted in modern Japan, exerting immense influence. Moreover, Japanese Buddhism has not been so exclusively “square” as Alan Watts’s famous essay “Beat Zen, Square Zen and Zen” might suggest.60

So in the face of passages by Kerouac in The Dharma Bums such as “Raindrops are ecstasy, raindrops are not different from ecstasy, neither is ecstasy different from raindrops, yea, ecstasy is raindrops, rain on, O cloud!”61 what responds within the mind of many Japanese might be the premonition that if there should be such a thing as religious salvation or justification, it cannot be different from the intuition of “the law” of interdependent beings and processes of the world. That intuition is grounded on a trust in Nature to surpass humanly delimited understanding, rather than in some supposedly revealed plot with a beginning and an end.

Further Reading

In Japan, the interest in post-World War II American poetry is not of course limited to the Beats; many poets in various schools have been introduced, translated, and studied. To cite notable bilingual editions in recent decades: the Iwanami Bunko anthology America Meishi Sen contains poems by, besides Ginsberg and Snyder, Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Richard Wilbur, Louis Simpson, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, and Sylvia Plath; Shichōsha’s “Series of Contemporary American Poetry” includes selected poems of, besides Kerouac already mentioned, Charles Olson (tr. Kitamura Tarō and Hara Shigeyoshi, 1992), Rich (tr. Shiraishi Kazuko and Watanabe Momoko, 1993), Ashbery (tr. Ōoka Makoto and Iino Tomoyuki, 1993), and Bly (tr. Tanikawa Shuntarō and Kanaseki Hisao, 1993).

Notable translations in recent decades: of 101 contemporary poets (ed. D. W. Wright, tr. Sawasaki Jun-nosuke, Mori Kunio and Eda Takaomi, Amerika Gendaishi 101 Ninshū, Shichōsha, 1999); of Roethke (tr. Matsuda Yukio, Seadō Retokī Shishū, Tokyo: Sairyūsha, 2009); of Bishop (tr. Koguchi Michi, Erizabesu Bishoppu Shishū, Tokyo: Doyō Bijutsusha, 2001); of Plath (tr. Yoshihara Sachiko and Minami Akira, Siruvia Purasu Shishū, Shichōsha, 1995; tr. Takata Noriko and Kokue Haruko, Kosui O Watatte, Shichōsha, 2001); of W. D. Snodgrass (tr. Niikura Toshikazu and Nishihara Katsumasa, W. D. Sunoddogurasu Shishū, Kamakura: Minato No Hito, 2010); of Raymond Carver (tr. Murakami Haruki, Mizu To Mizu No Deau Tokoro; Urutoramarīn, Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1997); of Paul Auster (tr. Iino Tomoyuki, Shōshitsu, Shichōsha, 1992; Kabe No Moji, Tokyo: TO Bukkusu, 2005); of Charles Simic (tr. Shibata Motoyuki, Sekai Wa Owaranai, Tokyo: Shinshokan, 2002); of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (tr. Ikeuchi Yasuko, Dikute, Tokyo: Seidosha, 2003); of Michael Palmer (tr. Yamauchi Kōichirō, Ryūshi No Bara, Shichōsha, 2004); of the whole three books of James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover (tr. Shimura Masao, Īfureimu No Sho, Tokyo: Shoshi Yamada, 2000; Pējento No Daihon, 2005; Miraberu No Kazu No Sho, 2008); of the whole of Olson’s Maximum Poems (tr. Hirano Yorio, Makushimasu Shihen, Tokyo: Nan-undō, 2012).

Notable monographs: on Plath by Inoue Fumiko (Shiruvia Purasu No Ai To Shi, Nan-undō, 2004) and Kimura Keiko (Shiruvia Purasu, Tokyo: Suiseisha, 2005); on Ashbery by Iino Tomoyuki (Jon Asshuberī, Tokyo: Kenkyūsha, 2005); on Palmer by Yamauchi Kōichirō (Maikeru Pāmā, Shichōsha, 2015).


(1.) Suwa Yū, Bīto Jenerēshon (Tokyo: Kinokuniya Shoten, 1965).

(2.) Yoshimasu Gōzō, Alice Iris Red Horse (New York: New Directions, 2016). Originally an interview in Japanese on October 1, 2012, available online.

(3.) See an estimate by Tokyo Christian University in 2014:"JMR調査レポート."

(4.) Rojō (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1959).

(5.) Sekai Bungaku Zenshū 1-01 (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 2007); Jakku Keruakku Shishū (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1991).

(6.) On Za Rōdo: Sukurōru Ban (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 2010); Torisutessa (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 2013).

(7.) On Za Rōdo (Tokyo: Kawade Bunko, 2010); Chikagai No Hitobito, tr. Masaki Yoshihiro (Tokyo: Shinchō Bunko, 1997); Za Daruma Bamuzu, tr. Nakai Yoshiyuki (Tokyo: Kōdansha Bungei Bunko, 2007); Kodoku Na Tabibito, tr. Nakagami Tetsuo (Tokyo: Kawade Bunko, 2004).

(8.) Biggu Sā (Tokyo: Shinjuku Shobō, 1994); Koryō Tenshitachi, 2 vols. (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1994); Pari No Satori (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2004); Jakku Keruakku No Burūsu Shishū (Tokyo: Shinjuku Shobō, 1998).

(9.) Watanabe Toshio, Kōgi Amerika Bungakushi: Dai 3 Kan (Tokyo: Kenkyūsha, 2007).

(10.) Jankī (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1969); Hadaka No Ranchi (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1965).

(11.) Jankī (Tokyo: Kawade Bunko, 2003); Hadaka No Ranchi (Tokyo: Kawade Bunko, 2003).

(12.) Mayaku Shokan Saigen Ban (Tokyo: Kawade Bunko, 2007); Mayaku Shokan (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1986); Sofuto Mashīn (Tokyo: Kawade Bunko, 2004).

(13.) Noba Kyūhō (Tokyo: Peyotoru Kōbō, 1995); Wairudo Bōizu: Shisha No Sho (Tokyo: Peyotoru Kōbō, 1990); Dacchi Shurutsu Saigo No Kotoba (Tokyo: Hakusuisha, 1992); Okama (Tokyo: Peyotoru Kōbō, 1988); Uchinaru Neko (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1994); Gōsuto (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1996); Yume No Sho: Waga Kyōiku (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1998); Soshite Kabatachi Wa Tanku De Yudejini (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 2010).

(14.) Bakuhatsushita Kippu (Tokyo: Sanrio, 1979); Shitīzu Obu Za Reddo Naito (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1988); Deddo Rōdo (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1990); Uesutan Rando (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1991).

(15.) Yamagata Hiroo, Takaga Barōzu Bon (Tokyo: Ōmura Shoten, 2003).

(16.) Dan Keisuke, Raitingu Mashīn (Tokyo: Insukuriputo, 2010).

(17.) Suwa Yū, Aren Ginzubāgu (Tokyo: Doin’ Gurūpu, 1963); Ginzubāgu Shishū (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1965).

(18.) Amerika No Botsuraku (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1989).

(19.) Shiroi Katabira (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1991).

(20.) Gendaishi Techō Tokushūhan: Sōtokushū Aren Ginzubāgu [Cahier of Contemporary Poetry: Special Retrospective Ginsberg Number] (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1997).

(21.) Shinchō (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 2016).

(22.) Tanioka Tomomi, Aren Ginzubāgu (Tokyo: Eihōsha, 2011); Kamei Shunsuke and Kawamoto Kōji, ed. Amerika Meishi Sen [An Anthology of American Poetry] (Tokyo: Iwanami Bunko, 1993).

(23.) Watanabe Toshio, Kōgi Amerika Bungakushi: Hoihan (Tokyo: Kenkyūsha, 2010).

(24.) Yamazato Katsunori, “Snyder, Sakaki and the Tribe,” in Gary Snyder: Dimensions of a Life, ed. John Halper (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1991).

(25.) Gary Snyder, A Place in Space (Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1995), 18.

(26.) Sakaki Nanao, How to Live on the Planet Earth (Nobleboro, ME: Blackberry Books, 2013); Kokoperi no Ashiato (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2010).

(27.) A. Robert Lee, “Japan Beat: Nanao Sakaki,” in The Transnational Beat Generation, ed. Nancy M. Grace and Jennie Skerl (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

(28.) For the translations in English, see Once and Forever: The Tales of Kenji Miyazawa, tr. John Bester (Tokyo: Kōdansha International, 1993); Miyazawa Kenji: Selections, ed. and tr. Satō Hiroaki (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007); Strong in the Rain: Selected Poems, tr. Roger Pulvers (Highgreen, Tarset, Northumberland: Bloodaxe, 2008). The connection between Miyazawa and Snyder was discussed in essays by Kanaseki (in Amerika Gendaishi Nōto [Notes on Modern American Poetry], Tokyo: Kenkyūsha, 1977); and Shimura Masao (in Shinpishugi To Amerika Bungaku [Mysticism and American Literature], Tokyo: Kenkyūsha, 1998).

(29.) Hayashi Hikaru, ed., Kenji No Ongakushitsu [The Music Room of Kenji] (Tokyo: Shōgakukan, 2000); and Trinh T. Minh-ha and Jean-Paul Bourdier, Night Passage (2004).

(30.) Kame No Shima (Tokyo: Kame No Shima O Hakkōsuru Kai, 1978); Nō Nēchā: Sunaidā Shishū (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1996); Owari Naki Sanga (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2002).

(31.) Zecchō No Ayausa (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2007); Rippurappu To Kanzanshi (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2011); Oku No Kuni (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2015).

(32.) Yamazato Katsunori, “Mountains and Rivers Without End and Japanese Nō Theater,” in A Sense of the Whole: Reading Gary Snyder’s Mountains and Rivers Without End, ed. Mark Gonnerman (Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2015).

(33.) Chikyū No Ie O Tamotsuniwa, tr. Katagiri Yuzuru (Tokyo: Shakai Shisōsha, 1975); Yasei No Jissen, tr. Shigematsu Sōiku and Hara Shigeyoshi (Tokyo: Tokyo Shoseki, 1994); Wakusei No Mirai O Sōzōsuru Monotachi E, tr. Yamazato Katsunori, Tanaka Hiroyoshi and Akamine Reiko (Tokyo: Yama To Keikokusha, 2000).

(34.) Yamazato Katsunori, Basho O Ikiru (Tokyo: Yama To Keikokusha, 2006).

(35.) Kodama Sanehide, American Poetry and Japanese Culture (Hamden, CT: Archon Bks, 1984).

(36.) Tanaka Hiroyoshi, Gērī Sunaidā No Aigo [Gary Snyder’s Loving Words] (Tokyo: Eichōsha, 1992).

(37.) Shigematsu Sōiku, ed., A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters (Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1981).

(38.) Gary Snyder and Yamao Sansei, Seinaru Chikyū No Tsudoi Kana [Great Earth Sangha] (Tokyo: Yama To Keikokusha, 1998).

(39.) Shiraishi Kazuko, Kuroi Hitsuji No Monogatari (Tokyo: Jinmon Shoin, 1996).

(40.) Kenneth Rexroth, “Introduction,” in Seasons of Sacred Lust, ed. Shiraishi Kazuko, tr. Atsumi Ikuko, John Solt, Carol Tinker, Morita Yasuyo, and Kenneth Rexroth (New York: New Directions, 1978), vi.

(41.) Shiraishi Kazuko, Dedicated to the Late John Coltrane and Other Jazz Poems (Tokyo: Independent Label, 2004); and Oki Itaru, Hitoka No Kuma [A Bear of the Human Family] (Osaka: Ōrai Rekōdo, 2003).

(42.) Oki Itaru, Gensō Nōto [Notes of Fantasy] (Tokyo: Doubtmusic, 2009); and Yoshimasu Gōzō, Takayanagi Masayuki, and Midorikawa Keiki, Shibito [The Dead] (Tokyo: Jinya Disc, 2007).

(43.) Kawamoto Kōji, The Poetics of Japanese Verse (Tokyo: Univ. of Tokyo Pr., 2000); Tomiyama Hidetoshi, “Miyazawa Kenji and Gary Snyder—An Encounter of Similar Poetics?” in Gengo Bunka [Language and Culture], vol. 31 (Tokyo: Meiji Gakuin University Institute of Language and Culture, 2014). Available online.

(44.) Michael S. Molasky, Sengo Nihon No Jazu Bunka (Tokyo: Seidosha, 2005).

(45.) One instance is Miyauchi’s discussion with Hara Shigeyoshi and Satō Yoshiaki in Gendaishi Techō Tokushūhan: Sōtokushū Aren Ginzubāgu [Cahier of Contemporary Poetry: Special Retrospective Ginsberg Number] (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 1997).

(46.) Rojō No Jazu [Jazz on the Road] (Tokyo: Chūkō Bunko, 2016).

(47.) Nakagami Kenji, The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese Ghetto, tr. Eve Zimmerman (Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press, 1999); and Eve Zimmerman, Out of the Alleyway: Nakagami Kenji and the Poetics of Outcaste Fiction (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).

(48.) Let Those Who Appear, tr. Tsumura Yumiko and Samuel Grolmes (New York: New Directions, 2002); My Floating Mother, City, tr. Tsumura Yumiko, Samuel Grolmes, Endō Tomoyuki, Forrest Gander, and Allen Ginsberg (New York: New Directions, 2009).

(49.) Leith Morton, ed. and trans., An Anthology of Contemporary Japanese Poetry (New York and London: Garland, 1993); Ōoka Makoto, ed., 101 Modern Japanese Poems, trans. Paul McCarthy, with “Translator’s Note” by McCarthy, and “Introduction” by Yagi Chūei (London: Thames River Press, 2012); and Tr. Satō Hiroaki, in The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature, vol. 2, eds. Thomas Rimer and Van C. Gessel (New York: Columbia University, 2007).

(50.) See Ezra Pound and Japan: Letters and Essays, ed. Kodama Sanehide (Reading Ridge, CT: Black Swan, 1987).

(51.) John Solt, Shredding the Tapestry of Meaning (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999); Japanese trans. Kitazono Katsue No Shi To Shigaku [The Poetry and Poetics of Kitazono Katsue], tr. Taguchi Tetsuya et al. (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2010).

(52.) Mainly there have been two books on him: a biography by Fujitomi Yasuo, Hyōden Kitazono Katsue [Kitazono Katsue: a Biography] (Tokyo: Chūsekisha, 2003), and a study by Kanazawa Kazushi, Kitazono Katsue No Shi [The Poetry of Kitazono Katsue] (Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2010). For more opinions sympathetic to Kitazono and his connections, see Yarita Misako, Bīto To Āto To Etosetora [The Beats and Art and Et Cetera] (Tokyo: Suiseisha, 2006); and Taguchi Tetsuya, Kenesu Rekkusurosu Chūshin No Gendai Taikō Bunka [Contemporary Counterculture Centered on Kenneth Rexroth] (Tokyo: Kokubunsha, 2015).

(53.) Still available as Jigoku No Kisetsu [A Season in Hell] (Tokyo: Iwanami Bunko, 1938). Kobayashi’s critical works in English translation are collected in Literature of the Lost Home, ed. and tr. Paul Anderer (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000). See The Poems of Nakahara Chūya, tr. Paul MacKintosh and Sugiyama Maki (Leominster, Herefordshire: Gracewing Books, 1993); Poems of the Goat, tr. Ry Beville (Richmond, VA: The American Book Company, 2002).

(54.) See The Modern Fable, tr. Satō Hiroaki (Los Angeles, CA: Green Integer Books, 2007).

(55.) For Ayukawa’s poetry, see America and Other Poems, tr. Oketani Shōgo and Leza Lowitz (New York: Kaya Press, 2008).

(56.) Yagi Chūei, “Introduction,” in 101 Modern Japanese Poems, xv–xxiv.

(57.) Yoshimasu Gōzō, Thousand Steps . . . and More, tr. Richard Arno, Brenda Barrows, and Takako Lento (Rochester, MI: Katydid Books, 1987); Osiris, the God of Stone, tr. Satō Hiroaki (Laurinburg, NC: Saint Andrews Press, 1989).

(58.) The connection between the Beats, especially Ginsberg, and Yoshimasu was taken up in an essay by Niikura Toshikazu in Amerika Shiron [Essays in American Poetry] (Tokyo: Shinozaki Shorin, 1975).

(59.) Zen Hippī (Tokyo: Taiyōsha, 1973); Jefī Raidā Monogatari (Tokyo: Kōdansha Bunko, 1982); Za Daruma Bamuzu (Tokyo: Kōdansha Bungei Bunko, 2007).

(60.) Alan Watts, “Beat Zen, Square Zen and Zen,” in The Penguin Book of the Beats, ed. Ann Charters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992).

(61.) Jack Kerouac, Road Novels 1957–1960 (New York: The Library of America, 2007), 382.