Writer and A-bomb survivor Hiroko Takenishi publishes a book of talks

by Kazunobu Ito, Staff Writer

Hiroko Takenishi, a 78-year-old writer originally from Hiroshima, published her first collection of talks, “Kotoba o Tanomu” (“Resorting to Words”), from Iwanami Publishing. The book contains nine talks she has given at various locations in Japan from 1991 to 2005.

One of these addresses was “My Hiroshima and Literature” which was delivered at Hiroshima Prefectural Women's University in October 1996. Another was “The Evocative Power of Tamiki Hara's ‘Summer Flower'” presented at the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace in downtown Hiroshima in November 2005. This lecture was organized by the Kagenki Society, a local study group on A-bomb poet and novelist Tamiki Hara. In her speech, Ms. Takenishi commented that the appeal of “Summer Flower” is in its evocative power, an important characteristic of outstanding literature.

On the subject of her A-bomb experience and creative activities, Ms. Takenishi explained, “In such a state of shock, I wasn't sure I could maintain my sanity so I resorted to words to restore a sense of serenity.” She has also remarked, “Writing, as well, involves the idea of what not to write.”

Her lectures on the theme of classical Japanese poetry have also been included in the 212-page book with some revision. Two of these are commemorative addresses made on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Basho Museum in Tokyo and at a presentation ceremony of the Yaeko Nogami Award in the city of Oita.

Hiroko Takenishi
Hiroko Takenishi is a distinguished Japanese writer of both creative work and criticism, interested in the range of classical and contemporary literature. One well-known novel is “Kangensai” (“The Orchestral Festival”), a story based on her experience of the A-bomb when she was a student at Hiroshima Prefectural First Girls Middle School. A member of the Japan Art Academy, she currently lives in the city of Kawasaki, near Tokyo.