duration press -- international poetry

Yoshioka Minoru

Yoshioka Minoru was born in 1919 in the Shitamachi district of Tokyo. He received no formal education, but was instead self-taught, and began writing traditional forms of Japanese verse such as waka and haiku during his teens. He was inspired to begin writing himself after reading experimental haiku by Tomisawa Kakio. Later Yoshioka would be greatly influenced by the early Japanese modernists such as Hagiwara Sakutaro and Nakahara Chuya. He was introduced to surrealism through the work of Takahashi Shinkichi, and when drafted into the Emperial Army, carried a translation of the poems of Arthur Rimbaud with him to the recruiting center. (The book was promptly confiscated by the military officer in charge, as all foreign literature by this time had been banned by the militarist government.) Yoshioka was sent to Manchuria for the duration of the war, and spent time in a prisoner of war camp in Siberia after the Emperial Army's final surrender. He published his first book of poems, Seibutsu, in 1955 at the age of 36. Despite his late start in publishing, and his lack of any formal education (rare for a Japanese poet), he soon became a major figure in the avant-garde. Yoshioka has been a major influence on younger poets. Due to his unusual openness in a country where an older poet will often command so much respect as to be virtually unapproachable, he was constantly surrounded by young people during the last years of his life. Yoshioka was excited about new ideas, new forms and experiment to the very end. His influence reached also into other genres through his close friendships with major figures in contemporary Japanese painting and dance. Yoshioka died in May 1990.

Poems:

A Crescent Wave Pattern

Collection of Green Branches

Rooster