Takamura Kotaro

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The gravesite of Takamura Kôtarô, his father Kôun, and their families, at Somei Cemetery in Tokyo
  • Born: 1883/3/13
  • Died: 1956/4/2
  • Japanese: 高村光太郎 (Takamura Koutarou)

Takamura Kôtarô was a prominent sculptor, poet, and art essayist of the Meiji through early Shôwa eras.

The son of sculptor Takamura Kôun, Kôtarô was born in the Shitaya neighborhood of Tokyo's Asakusa district.

While a student at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts where his father was an instructor, Kôtarô joined a literary circle called Meisei, organized by poet Yosano Tekkan, to which he contributed poems in Chinese-style, tanka, and other forms. He graduated with a degree in sculpture in 1902, and went on to post-graduate work in which he focused on the model of Rodin's work. Completing that program of study in 1905, he re-entered the school, this time in the yôga (Western painting) department.

Kôtarô journeyed to the United States the following year, and then to London the year after that, where he developed relationships with Bernard Leach and Ogiwara Morie. The following year, 1907, he traveled to Paris, a profound experience which he later described as "the place I became an adult." He returned to Japan in 1908, and wrote his famous and influential essay "Midori iro no taiyô" ("The Green Sun"). In 1912, he became one of the co-founders of the Fusain-kai group of artists, alongside Kishida Ryûsei (among others).

He married painter Naganuma Chieko in 1914, and continued his active involvement in painting, sculpture, poetry, translation, and art criticism.

Kôtarô was briefly institutionalized in 1938 for mental illness; his wife died that same year. He moved to Iwate prefecture in 1945 to escape the danger and destruction in Tokyo, but returned to the capital in 1952. He died of tuberculosis in 1956.


  • "Takamura Kôtarô." Asahi Nihon rekishi jinbutsu jiten 朝日日本歴史人物事典. Asahi Shimbun-sha.
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