Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Alba Amoia; Bettina L.Knapp | Go to book overview

HORIGUCHI DAIGAKU

(1892-1981)

Ikuko Sagiyama


BIOGRAPHY

The first child of Horiguchi Kumaichi and Masa was named Daigaku (literally, “University”) because he was born when his father was still a law student at Tokyo's Imperial University and the family lived directly opposite its main entrance. Proficient in languages and a lover of literature, especially of his own poetry, Daigaku's father, a career diplomat, was a constant guide in his son's development. When he was assigned to Korea in 1893, the family moved to Nagaoka in the prefecture of Niigata (Japan), where Daigaku's mother died, leaving her three-year-old son in the care of his grandmother. His father remarried in 1899, taking a Belgian wife. Obtaining his high-school diploma in 1909, Daigaku returned to Tokyo, where his passion for literature prompted him to join the Shinshisha (New Poetry Society), the stronghold of Japanese Romantic poetry, headed by Yosano Tekkan and his wife, Akiko. Here Daigaku met Satō Haruo (1892-1964), another future poet and prose writer, with whom he formed a fast friendship that lasted until the latter's death. The following year Daigaku enrolled at the University of Keiō and began publishing his poems in Subaru and Mita Bungaku, reviews of decadent trend in reaction to the Naturalism then in vogue.

After joining his father in Mexico in 1911, he deepened his studies of French and, under his father's guidance, read the works of Maupassant, the Parnassian poets, and Verlaine. Depending on his father's diplomatic assignments, he lived in Belgium, Spain, Brazil, and Romania, with short stays in Switzerland and in Paris. His discovery of Remy de Gourmont's poetry in 1913 was decisive in fostering his “admiration for Symbolism”: “I believe that the intellectual euphoria Gourmont produced in me will remain the greatest spiritual event of my life” (Horiguchi Daigaku Zenshū, 6:366-67). In Spain the following year he met the French painter Marie Laurencin, who introduced him to the poetry of Guillaume

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