Contemprary Tanka Poet Mariko Kitakubo.

Mariko Kitakubo Profile

Mariko Kitakubo

Born in Tokyo.
Living in Mitaka-city, Tokyo
Membership
Japan Writers' Association,
Japan PEN Club,
Association of Contemporary Tanka Poets,
Japan Tanka Poets' Society,
Kokoro-No-Hana,
Tanka Online Project,
Tanka Society of America.

Contemprary Tanka Poet Mariko Kitakubo. Article details.

Monthly magazine "CHICHI" posted my interview article

Monthly magazine "CHICHI" posted my interview article in its 2018 April issue.

2018_03_01_01.jpg
2018_03_01_02.jpg 2018_03_01_03.jpg 2018_03_01_04.jpg 

========================================
WISH TO INTORDUCE THE BEAUTY OF TANKA TO ALL OVER THE WORLD
        Mariko Kitakubo
========================================

I started studying Tanka about 25 years ago when I was in the thirties. Now I travel around the world as a poet & tanka-reading performer, I cannot help but feel the wonder of life. Thanks to many people’s help and assistance, I have been able to present 145 times of reading performance in 34 cities in the world to date, and I composed about 8,000 pieces of tanka.

The reason that I started composing poems was I wanted to send a message to my father from whom I was parted when I was small. However, I found out he had had passed away when I was a highschool student. I completely lost a way to tell my gratitude or apology directly to him. Tanka was one way to express my emotion which had nowhere to go.

Although tanka cannot deliver a lot of things because it is composed of only 31 syllables, it is easy to write down no matter where I was. Because of this, I was able to compose tanka while doing housework and childcare. Literally, tanka came in to my life.

 

A MEMORY NOW,
MY SON’S
SOPRANO VOICE,
LIKE THE MYTH
OF THE STARS

I wrote about my son’s growth with his changing voice. When I wrote about how I felt while raising my son, toughness and joy, I still remember I was very much relieved.

Being different from sports or study, Tanka does not have a clear-cut method to master the technique. Read as many tanka as possible, and experience the emotion by oneself - this is the only way to improve poet's skill. Luckily enough, I had an opportunity to be under Mr. Yukitsuna Sasaki’s tutelage. Mr. Sasaki preside over “Kokoro-no-hana”, a tanka organization with more than 110 years of history. His tanka is filled with masculinity and strength. I learned a lot from his works – energy, sensitivity, and so on.

In 2002, one of my fellow tanka poets invited me to a tanka-reading event, “Marathon Reading”. After this, I went into tanka - both writing and performing reading - more and more.

I happened suddenly. My mother passes away in the following year. I fell into deep sorrow because I was not able to share my feeling with anyone else - most of my relatives were deceased and I was a only child in the family.

Again, it was tanka which supported me in those days. While I write tanka, I felt being relieved of my worries. It was like passing my sorrow and trouble from deep inside my heart to poem I create. Let me introduce you the pieces I wrote in those days.

 

I’M WAITING
AT EMERGENCY OUTPATIENTS,
WHERE THE BLUE
OF THE BLUE SKY
SEEMS SO FAR AWA

AH, THERE’S NOTHING
IN PARTICULAR
I WANT TO TALK
WITH MOTHER ABOUT …
AND YET, AND YET

Although I was temporary suffered from taste disorder due to overfatigue and severe stress after my mother’s death, I had kept writing tanka as if breathing, and I was able to overcome dysgeusia without any medication and regained mental vitality. I, myself, both physically and mentally, experienced the healing power that tanka has.

I published an anthology, “WILL”, which is composed of the pieces with my affection to my mother. In 2005, an Australian writer, who empathized for “WILL”, translated my tanka into English. She invited me to her publication party, where I was given an opportunity to perform tanka reading. It was my first reading performance overseas. The emotion we experience at death of the parent is universal. We all share the same feeling no matter where we are born. I received many comments with empathy.

At the same time, I found out that there are many non-Japanese people who learn tanka without experiencing 5-7-5 meter. I wanted to deliver the beauty of tanka as many people as possible. This is the reason why I started bilingual tanka reading performance. In those days, there was no Japanese person doing this kind of activity overseas, therefore, everything was try and error.

I was able to make myself understood in English at that time, however, I faced a lot of difficulties because of the language barrier. American English, British English, and unique pronunciation or phrases in different areas, and so on. The purpose of my activity is to deliver the undulation of emotion in tanka through my reading performance. Therefore, I have always been trying to find the best way to communicate with the people wherever I went.

Language was not the only barrier I faced. Two years ago, I was scheduled to perform tanka reading at an event in an African University. However, I arrived there only to find the cancellation of the event. “Well, having been in Africa anyway, there should be something I can do,” I thought. Luckily, I was introduced to two professors there, and had given opportunities to perform bilingual tanka reading in their faculties – two times in total!

If the event have had taken place as scheduled, I would have had perform reading only one time. And, I had no idea how many people would come to the event. My action led me to the better result. When facing a difficulty, even if the situation seems to unfavorable, a step move forward may turn out to be favorable outcome. I believe in it from the bottom of my heart.

Tanka reading performance is fascinating because the emotion seeded in tanka is released to the venue and touches the heartstrings of the people, who all share the same emotion. In order to better express the atmosphere that each piece of tanka has, I use some unique musical instruments such as rain sticks, which makes a rain-like sound, and Hamon - an iron-made percussion instrument – that makes beautiful sound. I am gladly tell you that some of the audience told me, “I do not understand the language, but your performance moved my soul very much.”

Being a tanka poet and a performer of tanka reading is a worthwhile job, and I wish I could have the same job if I reborn in the life to come. The lifetime of a human is a lot shorter than that of tanka, therefore, I would like to deliver the beauty of tanka as many people as possible as long as I am able to continue this activity.

Tanka has been helping me to live my life peacefully without suffering from any sever illness. I would like to strive for my activity even more from now on so that I can return favor to tanka for its support to me.

========================================

To move to Monthly "CHICHI" magazine, click the link below.
http://www.chichi.co.jp/