Yone Noguchi: Accomplishments & Roles


Review Article

by Hiroaki Sato*



I always notice that when the Japanese expand and even impose ideas on others, it is the time when they have none of them.

Through the Torii, Yone Noguchi


In the past 100 years there have been two Japanese poets who achieved some distinction by writing poems in English: Noguchi Yonejirō or Yone Noguchi (1874-1947) and Nishiwaki Junzaburō (1894-1982). Their books were taken up for review in the countries where they published them, the United States and Britain. Further, in the case of Nishiwaki, Ezra Pound, upon reading his poem, gJanuary in Kyoto,h in 1956, famously wrote, gJunzaburo has a more vital english [sic] than any I have seen for some time,h[1] and followed this pronouncement with a suggestion that Nishiwaki be nominated for the Nobel Prize (as he duly was). As a result, Japanese writers have tended to make extravagant claims for Noguchi and Nishiwaki.

The recent publication, by Associated University Presses, of Selected English Writings of Yone Noguchi, Vol. 1, Poetry, in 1990, and Vol. 2, Prose, in 1992,[2] both edited by Yoshinobu Hakutani, a professor of English at Kent State University, in Ohio, gives us an opportunity to appraise the works of a man who at one time is said to have been counted among gthe three poetic saints of the Orient,h the other two being Nâidu and Tagore.[3]

The two volumes also allow us to consider the kind of gadvertiser of Japanismh (Nihon-shugi no sendensha)[4] that Noguchi was and, although Hakutani virtually ignores this aspect, why Noguchi ended up as gone of the most bitter and shrill exponents of Japanese conquest.h[5] (Nishiwaki, in contrast, became one of a handful of Japanese writers who chose to keep quiet during the war years.)


Reading Noguchifs first two books, Seen & Unseen or, Monologues of a Homeless Snail (1897),[6] and The Voice of the Valley (1897), both published in San Francisco, one thinks not so much of Willa Catherfs comment in her review of them\ghe has more true inspiration, more melody from within than many a great man.h[7] Rather, one recalls Frank Norrisf description, in his novel The Octopus, of ga Japanese youthh


who wore spectacles and a grey flannel shirt and who, at intervals, delivered himself of the most astonishing poems, vague, unrhymed, unmetrical lucubrations, incoherent, bizarre. . . . The Japanese youth, in the silk robes of the Samurai two-sworded nobles, read from his own works\gThe flat-bordered earth, nailed down at night, rusting under the darkness,h gThe brave, upright rains that came down like errands from iron-bodied yore-time.h[8]


The description occurs where Norris lines up a gallery of gfakirsh whom a Mrs. Cedarquist, ga fashionable woman, the president or chairman of a score of clubs,h continually brings to her society\gnow a Russian Countess, with dirty finger nails . . . now an Aesthete who possessed a wonderful collection of topaz gems . . . now a widow of some Mohammedan of Bengal or Rajputana, who had a blue spot in the middle of her forehead . . . now a decayed musician who had been ejected from a young ladiesf musical conservatory of Europe,h and so forth.[9]

But how do we know this Japanese youth is Yone Noguchi? Because the lines quoted are from Seen & Unseen. gThe Invisible Nighth begins:


The flat-boarded[10] earth, nailed down at night, rusting under the darkness:

The Universe grows smaller, palpitating against its destiny:

My chilly soul\center of the world\gives seat to audible tears-the songs of the cricket. . . .


and gThe Brave Upright Rainsh begins:


The brave upright rains come right down like errands from iron-bodied yoretime,[11] never looking back; out of the ever tranquil, ocean-breasted, far high heaven\yet as high but as the gum tree at my cabin window.

Without hesitation, they kill themselves in an instant on the earth, lifting their single-noted chants\O tragedy! Chants? Nay, the clapping sound of earth-lips. . . .


Norris probably knew Noguchi in person as well. He was associated with Les Jeunes, a group of literary bohemians (or aesthetes) in San Francisco which was led by Gelett Burgess (1866-1951), and Burgess not only printed some of Noguchifs poems in The Lark, the magazine he edited and published, but also published Seen & Unseen with his own introduction. Burgess was a humorist who invented ggoopsh for his magazine\gcharacters in pictures and text . . . boneless, quasi-human figures divided . . . into two types: sulphites, independent thinkers, and bromides, platitudinous bores.h[12] Indeed, Burgess had, for the outlet for his groupfs writings and drawings, gno more serious intention than to be gayh[13] and shut it down after two years of existence, in 1897, though Norris had high hopes for the group itself.[14]

This bit of background is needed to see what is most likely to have lain behind the publication of the first book of poems written in English by a relatively new user of the language. Even though Noguchi is said to have begun studying English at age eight or nine, it must be assumed that his English was not far advanced when he arrived in San Francisco, in December 1893, at age 19, despite his confidence. As he recalled 20 years later, on the first day of his arrival in that city, gNobody seemed to understand my English, in the ability of which I trusted.h[15] And his English education in the few years that followed does not seem to have been of the kind that would enable a foreigner to master the language quickly.

Noguchifs first (and probably main) associates were Japanese. When he associated with Americans, it was principally as a gschoolboyh (a house boy) at private homes or as a dishwasher at hotels. Though he was taken in by the poet Joaquin Miller (1841?-1913) as a handyman, in 1895, and lived with him for three years, Miller evidently was an anti-intellectual. He did not keep any books except his own, and his own books were gnailed high up near the ceiling,h perhaps gfor decoration.h[16] Furthermore, he told Noguchi that ghe had no lesson or teaching to give [him], or if he had any, it was about the full value of silence.h[17] Clearly, residency with Miller was not conducive to swift, careful acquisition of the English language, either.

This is not to deny that Noguchi wanted to write poems, even if his various later recollections on this score, like most such recollections, cannot be entirely relied upon. In his introduction to Seen & Unseen, Burgess reports finding Noguchi to be ga recluse and a dreamer . . . watching . . . the writers of this new world, to see if the old words can live in the Western civilization; and if the sheeted memories of the Past may be re-embodied in our English tongue.h But his English needed help. Burgess puts it kindly:


In the editing of these poems, I have collaborated with Mr. Porter Garnett,[18] whose sympathetic assistance has lightened a responsibility, that only our regard for Yone Noguchi might authorize; and if our hints and explanations of idiom and diction have aided him and if our hands, laid reverently upon his writings, have in some places cleared a few ambiguous constructions, how generously has he repaid the debt![19]


And what was it that Noguchi gave in return? Exoticism. In truth, much of Burgessf introduction is a gentle\or shall we say, humorous\parody of the novel ideas and expressions that Noguchi struggled to bring forth through gan unfamiliar tongue.h[20]


. . . So much for the subjective aspect of his visions of Nature. . . . But of those dreams within the Dream, of the gBeingh-fruit of his gNothingh orchard, of his rivuletfs unknown chatter,\how many shall understand? For his is the voice of the Occident[21] speaking from the iron-bodied yore-time, where there is place without Place, and though he would give the Word to the word, not less, not more than the Word itself,\these, to many heedless ears, shall be but the unintelligible frogsf rainsongs,\the tear-cries of the crickets on the lean, gray-haired hill. And with his own whimsical despair, we may say, gO Homeless Snail, for my sake, put forth thy honorable horns!h[22]


Here, it is worth recalling that Noguchi grew up in an environment pervaded by Buddhism. His family continued the ancestral tradition of sending at least one son out to be a Buddhist monk, with one of his older brothers having taken tonsure very young. He himself for a while studied at a school sponsored by the Jōdo Shinshū sect. After leaving his home town and arriving in Tokyo, he stayed in a school dormitory of the Zōjō temple. Equally important, one of his maternal uncles was a famous Buddhist scholar monk, Shaku Taishun.[23] In fact, a Buddhist scholar might find mere English renditions of routine Buddhist phrases and expressions where Gelett Burgess and his friend thought Noguchi had glifted the veil of convention and discovered fresh beauties and unexpected charms in our speechh[24]\where, for that matter, Willa Cather found gtrue inspiration.h[25] In the introduction to Seen & Unseen at any rate, one almost sees the amused face of a genial literary con.

In his second book The Voice of the Valley, Noguchifs language is a little less unwieldy. Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909),[26] in his introduction, gamely characterizes it as gthe most literal English that ever was uttered.h[27] Here are lines from gSong of Day in Yosemite Valleyh:


The Shout of Hell wedded to the Silence of Heaven completes the Valley concert, forms the true symphony\

The Female-light kissing the breast of the Male-shadow chants the sacred Union!

I, a muse from the Orient, where is revealed the light of dawn,

Hearken to the welcome strains of genii from the heart of the great Sierras\

I repose under the forest-boughs that invoke the Deityfs hymn from the Nothing-air.[28]


And lines from gI Hail Myself as I Do Homerh:


O Poet, begin thy flight by singing of the hidden soul in vaporous harmony;

Startle thy lazy noon drowsing in the full-flowing tide of the sunbeams nailing thy chants in Eternity!

The melody breathing peace in the name of Spring, calms tear to smile, envy to rest.

Ah thou, world of this day, sigh not of the poets who have deserted thee\aye, I hail myself as I do Homer!


Of course, asked to write an introduction, most of us strain to praise. Yet, one wonders why Stoddard, an accomplished poet and writer, went as far as calling Noguchi ga word-builder of startling originality and power.h[29]


With his third book, From the Eastern Sea, published in London and Tokyo, in 1903, Noguchifs language becomes remarkably conventional, accessible, and varied, suggesting a skilled editorial hand, perhaps that of Léonie Gilmour, the mother of his future American son, Isamu. Even so, Nitobe Inazō (1862-1933), a Japanese-born educator and a greatly more experienced user of the English language, had to refer, in his introduction, to the fact that Noguchi was writing gin a foreign tongueh and ascribe the causes of his occasional ginarticulatenessh and gincoherenciesh partially\he was kind\to it.[30]

     Noguchifs incomplete mastery of English\which under normal circumstances is to be expected with practically all users of a foreign language[31]\most likely persisted to the end. William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), apparently the last non-Japanese asked to contribute an introduction or an afterword to Noguchifs poems, said of The Pilgrimage, published in Japan, in 1909: gHe has progressed very considerably in the use of the English language, approximately as an Englishman or an American would use it.h[32] This was not exactly a wholehearted affirmation of Noguchi as an English poet.

It was another Japanese, the geologist and world-traveler Shiga Shigetaka (1863-1927), who dropped all flattery and pretension and made the most astute assessment. Writing the afterword to the Japanese edition of From the Eastern Sea, he observed:


It appears that your name is extremely well-known in Europe and the United States. Nonetheless, it is not because you are thoroughly familiar with the English language, nor because you are skilled in English poems. The truth is that you particularly catch the eyes and ears of Westerners, first, because you, a Japanese, compose poems in English and, second, because in doing so you express the Oriental sentiments most notable in Kumoi Tatsuo in the mannerisms of Whitman. In brief, your English poems are found to be novel among Westerners because of their racial novelty and the novelty of the sentiments expressed. . . .


Kumoi Tatsuo (1844-70) was a chauvinist samurai, who was beheaded when he tried to topple the Meiji government to restore the old regime, failed, and was captured. A friend of Noguchifs uncle, Shaku Taishun, Kumoi wrote kanshi, poems in Chinese\a common practice among the educated Japanese in those days.

     Shiga concluded his words with a warning:


You are only twenty-seven or -eight of age and your future is greatly promising. Above all, you must aim to be a great man in maturity and, without becoming content with temporary honor, work hard from this moment, striving to leave a name imperishable for a thousand years in the history of English literature. [Kumoi] Tatsuo . . . has left nothing for the history of Japan, let alone for the history of the world. It is merely that because his poems are inept (they are, yes, inept when viewed in Chinese literature), because they meet the taste of those without a discerning eye as readers, a handful of students, who just want to feel good, recite them. You must draw your own conclusion from Tatsuofs example.


     Kamei Shunsuke, a knowledgeable student of Noguchi who quotes this afterword in his book,[33] reports that From the Eastern Sea caused a gsensationh in London.[34] It may indeed have. Still, it is highly doubtful that this and the two earlier books were the kind of books for which Kaneko Mitsuharu made this claim: g[Noguchifs] pieces were epocally new types of poems even in England and the United States. Many appreciate him as the forerunner of free-verse poets, and not a few English and American writers opened new ways [of writing] because of him.h[35]

Even if you forget for the moment that Kaneko was speaking of his former professor, this particular claim is puzzling because he lived in foreign countries for extensive periods himself and knew the difficulty of mastering foreign languages. Unfortunately, similarly unthinking comments continue to be made.

The last poem Noguchi wrote in English may have been the one called gTwo Thousand in the Valley of Death.h It was the translation of the poem he wrote on May 30, 1943, at the news of the annihilation of Japanese soldiers on the Aleutian island of Attu and he did the translation at the request of the news service Domei for worldwide broadcasting.[36] For this essay I was unable to obtain either the translation or the original, but the poem was one of the many he wrote to gsupport and glorify the warh and in tone and spirit must resemble gSlaughter the U.K., U.S.: They Are Our Enemies,h one of the few such poems I have managed to read. It may be translated:


gSlaughter the U.K., U.S.: They Are Our Enemiesh fills the town,

and I shout it myself, shout it till I become hoarse, shout it, crying, in tears.

Because they are the countries that nurtured me for twelve years of my youth.

An ungrateful act you say, but I must choose the fate of my country;

the flourishing of the past is a dream for the moment.

The U.K. and U.S. of the old days were countries of justice,

the country of Whitman,

the country of Browning;

but now they are licentious countries fallen into the trap of wealth,

immoral countries indulging in dreams they shouldnft see. . . .

Some say heaven is punishing their lawlessness, we arenft slaughtering the truthful U.K., U.S.

Some say, in my U.K., U.S. days I made many friends,

and some, now dead, didnft have to hear my gSlaughter fEm.h

You donft know what a happiness this happiness is for you.

My friends who are still alive will say to me,

This is a war between nations; our friendships are too sacred to be torn apart. . . .

Donft be a fool, the hundred-million-with-one-heart[37] doesnft approve of such a prayer, you have to be thorough, be thorough,

Ifll slaughter you with a single stroke, along with all the friendships![38]


Written in January 1942, when Japan was agog with victories in initial battles against the United States and Great Britain, this poem, awkward in diction and syntax and altogether infantile in content, comes with Noguchifs own preface called gDeclaration of Warh:


Life is an eternal declaration of war.

I hear that Mohammed held a sword in one hand and a twig of roses in the other. Now Japan, the hundred-million-with-one-heart, relying on a death-defying commandofs resolve and fervor, is ready to break through and conquer the thorns of reality in its mighty dash toward the perfection of an ideal. Upholding the divine rescript from the genealogical line unbroken for ten thousand generations, eternal as heaven and earth, Japan is trying to share its future prosperity with all the races of Asia, an act of which those with no poetry in their hearts and no understanding of nature, the beauty of human sentiments, and justice are incapable.

War and peace are one and the same thing. I have devoted my entire life to poetry, but why I, faced with the grave crisis of my country, support and glorify the war is self-evident. My joy of having been given life in Japan and witnessing todayfs incomparable grandeur\I cannot express my gratitude for it without tears.[39]


As a result of his fervid support of the war, Noguchi was put on the list of writers charged with gwar responsibilityh that was printed in Shin Nihon Bungaku, the magazine founded to promote a gdemocratich and gprogressiveh literature.[40] Following the charge, the sculptor-poet Takamura Kōtarō (1883-1956), for one, gexiledh himself internally, and Noguchi himself admitted to his son, Isamu, that he ghad made a terrible mistake in supporting his country during the war.h[41]

Although the question of gwar responsibilityh fizzled in the end perhaps because the aim of this literary indictment was too amorphous and sweeping, Noguchifs active support of Japanese military causes should not be ignored. Not that most of us today, for one reason or another, forget or neglect to look into the overt and covert maneuverings that went on among Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan for preserving or expanding ginterestsh in China before the Pacific War. Rather, Noguchifs action constituted an important aspect of his promotion of gJapanism.h It is in this that Yoshinobu Hakutanifs two-volume assemblage leaves much to be desired.[42]

Noguchi, who arrived in San Francisco in December 1893, headed back to Japan in September 1904[43] (for several months from the end of 1902 to early 1903 he was a visitor in London). The ostensible reason for the return was to report on the Russo-Japanese War then under way for the New York daily Globe, but the inner reasons were not immediately clear. In the United States he had had some literary successes if only as ga beautiful Japanese boy who wrote quaint Englishh;[44] also he had left an American woman, Léonie Gilmour, pregnant.[45] Yet, instead of returning to the States when the war was over,[46] he settled down in his homeland, marrying a Japanese woman in 1906 and becoming later that year the dean of the English Department newly created at Keiō University. The next time he left Japan in any case, it was as a full-fledged gadvertiser of Japanism.h In October 1913 he went to London at the invitation of Oxford University to give a series of lectures.

     Years later, Noguchi suggested in various articles that his early resolve to posit Japanese gspiritualismh against the overwhelming material wealth of the United States (or gthe Westh as symbolized by it) had to do with his decision to go back to Japan. Once he made that resolve, the constant need to gcontrast [himself] with the Westernersh in a foreign country became oppressive.[47] In Geijutsu no Tôyô-shugi, published in 1927, he explains the origins of his spiritual conflicts:


I crossed over to a foreign country at a time when Japan, unlike today, was not regarded by various foreign countries as strong and powerful. The Westerners in those days did not even know the difference between Japan and China, at times thinking that Japan and Korea were the same country. I was laughed at, cursed at, and even beaten up by them in their land.[48] As a representative of the Japanese, I tasted the pain and climbed their gallows. Their world was a world of material prosperity. I decided that it was entirely natural that materially destitute human beings were despised in such a world. I must compete and fight with them. . . . If so, with what kind of weapon should I war with them? I would never be able to hope to win if I competed with material. I would have to challenge their material with spirit. It wouldnft work unless I extolled our spiritual life, struck at their weak point, and defeated them. That was my strategic plan. Thus was born my Orientalism in the United States.[49]


Whether or not such recollections were to be believed, his strategy, if his modus operandi was based on it, was flawed.

To be sure, one set of cultural manifestations can sometimes dominate another; but it must certainly be doubted whether such dominance can be attained by setting up spiritualism as the antithesis of materialism. It would be like pitting Zen meditation against a fleet of bombers. More important, the kind of spiritualism\Japanism, Orientalism\that Noguchi envisioned to find upon his return to Japan he found only in things that were all too conventionally Japanese: the hokku (haiku), Nō, ukiyo-e, and even geisha.[50] And he had to establish spiritualism in them in a hurry, for before he ventured out to the United States at age 19, his knowledge of them was either negligible or non-existent. In that hurry he often failed to achieve a full understanding even though he seems to have found gsimplicityh and other catchy things convenient for gadvertisement.h

Of the reams of writings he did on ukiyo-e, his son Isamu had this to say, correctly: gIfve found it difficult to read [them] because he tries to be a poet or literary man discussing something else. Ifm, therefore, not much interested in his writing on art in the descriptive sense.h[51] Here, let us look at the way he presented the hokku to Westerners.

Hakutanifs selections include basically two articles Noguchi wrote on hokku: gWhat Is a Hokku Poem?h which was originally published in the London magazine Rhythm in January 1913[52] and later used, with some added paragraphs, as the preface to Japanese Hokkus that was dedicated to William Butler Yeats[53] and gThe Japanese Hokku Poetry,h his lecture at Magdalen College in January 1914 that was later included in The Spirit of Japanese Poetry.[54] In both instances, what comes across is Noguchifs eagerness to contrast Japanese poetry with Western poetry. Most of his observations on the hokku are misguided or misleading.

In gWhat Is a Hokku Poem?h he cites a famous piece by Hattori Ransetsu (1654-1707): Ume ichirin ichirin hodo no atatakasa, gOne plum blossom, and another: warmer that much,h[55] and says: gI declare myself to be an adherent of this ehokkuf poem in whose gem-small form of utterance our Japanese poets were able to express their understanding of Nature, better than that, to sing or chant their longing or wonder or adoration toward Mother Nature.h In this piece Ransetsu surely shows a gentle sensitivity to a seasonal change, but in the haikai (humor) canon, its merit lies in the seeming minuteness of the attention given.[56]

The claim for gadoration toward Mother Natureh is similarly dubious with the second piece cited in the article, which is by Takarai (or Enomoto) Kikaku (1661-1707): Meigetsu ya tatami no ue ni matsu no kage, gFull moon: on the straw mat the shadow of a pine.h[57] Recalling his gsilenth encounter with Kikakufs descendant on a moonlit night when he was young, Noguchi says this hokku spurred his gpoetical development,h adding rhapsodically: gReally it was my first opportunity to observe the full beauty of the light and shadow, more the beauty of the shadow in fact, far more luminous than the light itself, with such a decorativeness, particularly when it stamped the dustless mats as a dragon-shaped ageless pine-tree.h Noguchi is not entirely wrong, but again the haikai merit of this piece lies in its artistry: pointing to a shadow to praise a full moon.

In gThe Japanese Hokku Poetry,h Noguchi shifts his focus, turning his attention to the gwistfulness and delicacy [of hokku] not to be met with in the general run of English poetry.h[58] But one of the hokku he cites to demonstrate this, which is by Yosa Buson (1715-83)\Kindachi ni kitsune baketari yoi no haru, gA fox transmogrified as a noble this spring duskh[59]\is surely out of place, and another, by Matsuo Bashō (1644-94) \Furuike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto, gAn old pond: a frog jumps in the water the soundh[60]\does not draw ga picture of an autumnal desolation reigning on an ancient temple pond whose world-old silence is now broken by a leaping frog.h[61] Bashōfs piece, like Busonfs, describes a vernal scene.

gHokku poems are,h Noguchi says, gunlike the majority of English poems, the expression of the moods or forces of the writerfs poetic exertion, and their aim, if aim they have, is hardly connected with the thing or matter actually stated.h (Whatever happened to the gadoration toward Mother Natureh?) And if unintelligibility occurs as a result, gpoetic unintelligibility is certainly better than the imbecility or vulgarity of which examples abound, permit me to say, in English poetry.h[62]

In the expanded version of gWhat Is a Hokku Poem?h Noguchi says: gwhat our Hokku aims at is, like the haori or silk or crepe, a usefulness of uselessness, not what it expresses but how it expresses spiritually.h[63] This emphasis on spirituality is inevitably extended to the assertion: gJapanese poetry, at least in the old Japanese poetry, is different from Western poetry in the same way as silence is different from a voiceh[64]\like ga silent bell of a Buddhist temple,h[65] preferably. It is said that when in one talk in London, he picked up a poem by a Miss Lizette Woolworth Reese and proposed that he, geas a Japanese poet,f would sacrifice the first three [of the four] stanzas to make the last sparkle fully,h[66] one in the audience rose to say that if Noguchifs dictum had been followed, England would not have Milton or Shakespeare, and Noguchi remained silent.[67]

Reading the arguments on hokku that Noguchi made in the belief that gJapan can do something towards the reformation or advancement of the Western poetry,h[68] one canft help remembering what Gelette Burgess had said in his introduction to Seen & Unseen. One might illustrate the gintangible delicacyh of Noguchifs poems, he said,


by one of the Ho-kufs or ginspirationsh of his own ghigh qualifiedh Ba-sho, meaningless but wisdom-wreathed syllables, \elusive phrases, \like opiate vapors changing to the changing mood.


gAlas, lonesome road,

Deserted by wayfarers,

This autumn evening!h[69]


As an gadvertiserh of Japanese poetry, Noguchi was flawed because he was trying to sell an ill-digested notion. Hokku are neither nature poems (whatever the term may mean) nor silent (of course not). That Noguchifs understanding of the genre was inadequate for the task he set for himself is clear in a series of 84 ghokkush he presented to Yeats: most of them do not have the faintest resemblance to the classical hokku he promoted.[70] Worse, he did not practice what he preached: most of his poems, in English or in Japanese, were as verbose as the Western poems he condemned.[71]

As various of his writings show, Noguchi was perfectly aware of these contradictions. Nevertheless, he persisted in the dichotomous world view that he had adopted early on, in the end gladly throwing himself into the infantile world of war propaganda.


* Director, Research & Planning, JETRO NEW YORK.

[1] A fuller quotation from Poundfs letter to his translator Iwasaki Ryōzō appears in Hosea Hiratafs book, The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburō (Princeton University Press, 1993), p. xvii.

[2] Hereafter these volumes will be referred to simply as Poetry and Prose.

[3] Hazumi Fuitsu, Rondon no Kiri Egaki / Ushinawareta Nihon no Geijutsu Seishin (Rokuyūkan, 1992), p. 9. Sarojinï Nâidu (1879-1949), accorded the sobriquet gthe Indian Nightingale,h was also a prominent politician. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) became, in 1913, the first Asian to receive the Nobel Prize. The Japanese for gpoetic sainth is shisei. I do not know whether grouping these three poets as stated was something that only the Japanese did or something people of the Occident did.

[4] The characterization Noguchi gave himself in an article, Geijutsu no Tōyō-shugi. Quoted almost in its entirety in Hazumi, pp. 106-113. Noguchi seems to have used the words Nihon-shugi and Tōyō-shugi, gOrientalism,h interchangeably throughout his life.

[5] Dore Ashton, Noguchi: East and West (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), p. 12. The book is about his famous son, the sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

[6] Some say this book was published toward the end of the previous year, 1896. Here I follow Hakutanifs dating.

[7] Her review is reprinted in full in The World and the Parish, Volume Two: Willa Catherfs Articles and Reviews, 1893-1902 (University of Nebraska Press, 1970), pp. 579-580. The review appeared in the February 8, 1898 issue of Courier.

[8] Frank Norris, Novels and Essays (The Library of America, 1986), p. 825. I was led to this passage by the entry on Noguchi in The Oxford Companion to American Literature: Fifth Edition, edited by James D. Harris.

[9] Ibid., pp. 824-825.

[10] Norris says gflat-bordered,h instead of gflat-boarded.h

[11] Norris puts a comma after gbrave,h says gcameh instead of gcome,h omits gright,h and hyphenates gyoretime.h

[12] The entry on ggoopsh in The Oxford Companion to American Literature.

[13] The entry on gThe Larkh in The Oxford Companion.

[14] In a short essay entitled gAn Opening for Novelists,h he said, geThe Larkf was delightful\delightful, fooling, but therefs a graver note and a more virile to be sounded. Les Jeunes can do better than eThe Lark.fh Norris, pp. 1113.

[15] The Story of Yone Noguchi in Prose, p. 214.

[16] Ibid., p. 230.

[17] Ibid., p. 219.

[18] Unlike Burgess, Garnett no longer seems to merit encyclopedic mention. He, along with Burgess, published Seen & Unseen.

[19] Poetry, p. 57.

[20] Ibid., p. 57.

[21] Did Burgess mean to say gthe Orienth?

[22] Ibid., p. 58. The poem gLike a Paper Lanternh has a line: gO for my sake, put forth thy honorable horns!h

[23] Kamei Shunsuke, Nationalism no Bungaku (Kōdansha, 1988), pp. 210-211.

[24] Poetry, p. 57.

[25] Kamei, for example, has taken a look at the first line of gWhere Is the Poet?h and spotted what must be a direct translation of a Japanese phrase. The line\very long, yes\reads: gThe inky-garmented, truth-dead Cloud\woven by dumb ghost alone in the darkness of phantasmal mountain-mouth\kidnapped the maiden Moon, silence-faced, love-mannered, mirroring her golden breast in silvery rivulets.h The phrase ginky-garmentedh has to be, as Kamei suggests, a translation of sumizome, the dark robe worn by a Buddhist monk or for mourning. Kamei, p. 234.

[26] Though Hakutani provides no notes or dates, I assume this Stoddard is the one who wrote books such as Poems, edited by Bret Harte, Mashallah!, and A Cruise Under the Crescent, although when Hakutani says Noguchi met him, he may not have been living in California.

[27] Poetry, p. 77.

[28] Here, Noguchi may have had in mind the Japanese word kokū, gvoid.h

[29] Ibid., p. 77.

[30] Ibid., p. 90.

[31] Modern exceptions such as Vladimir Nabokov and George Steiner were brought up in strictly bilingual or trilingual circumstances.

[32] Poetry, p. 161. The Pilgrimage was Noguchifs fifth book of poems.

[33] Kamei, pp. 237-238. In addition to a chapter in this book, called gYone Noguchi no Nihon-shugi,h Kamei has written an article on the relationship between Noguchi and American poets, as well as a booklet entitled Yone Noguchi, An English Poet of Japan. For this essay I was unable to obtain either the article or the booklet.

[34] Ibid., p. 236.

[35] Noguchi Yonejirô, Kawaji Ryūkō, Senke Motomaro, Satō Sōnosuke, edited by Kaneko Mitsuharu et al. (Shinchōsha, 1969), p. 18.

[36] See Hazumi Fuitsufs book cited earlier, p. 202.

[37] A slogan. As is often pointed out, the Japanese population at the time was 70 million.

[38] Included in Hazumi, pp. 181-182. The ellipses are part of the original.

[39] Ibid., pp. 180-181.

[40] Odagiri Hideofs explanation of the charge is printed in full in Hazumi, pp. 178-180.

[41] Isamu Noguchifs remark, Poetry, p. 42. Sotoyama Uzaburō, editor of collections of essays on Noguchi, tells the apocryphal story that General MacArthur was a lover of Noguchifs poems and sought to meet him, but Noguchi declined. Hazumi, p. 183. Faubion Bowers, who was aide-de-camp to MacArthur for the first two years of the Occupation, thinks thatfs well-nigh impossible. There were a legion of Japanese who sought to meet MacArthur, but MacArthur did not really try to meet any Japanese, except perhaps the emperor.

[42] Anyone who does not know anything about Noguchifs role during the war is likely to be surprised by his son Isamufs comment quoted in the preceding paragraph.

[43] A different chronology says 1905 but I have chosen this year on account of the reference to the Russo-Japanese war that follows.

[44] Ashton, p. 12.

[45] Is it possible that he left the United States because of anti-miscegenation laws? If Noguchi ever made reference to it, I havenft seen it. None of the authors I have consulted suggests that as a reason.

[46] One can imagine Noguchi doing so in 1905 to report on President Theodore Roosevelt officiating the peace treaty between Russia and Japan at Portsmouth\say, for a Japanese paper.

[47] Geijutsu no Nihon-shugi, quoted in Hazumi, p. 113.

[48] In Hakutanifs selections, one such incident is described which occurred on his first day in San Francisco: gI was standing before a certain show window (I believe it was on Market Street), the beauty of which doubtless surprised me; I was suddenly struck by a hard hand from behind, and found a large, red-faced fellow, somewhat smiling in scorn, who, seeing my face, exclaimed, gHello, Jap!h I was terribly indignant to be addressed in such a fashion; my indignation increased when he ran away, after spitting on my face.h Prose, pp. 213-214.

[49] Quoted in Kamei, p. 221.

[50] In The Pilgrimage he has a poem called gKyoto,h which is about maiko. Poetry, pp. 148-149.

[51] Poetry, p. 44.

[52] Prose, pp. 99-105.

[53] Poetry, pp. 165-171.

[54] Prose, pp. 67-78.

[55] Noguchifs translation: gOne blossom of the plum\ / Yes, as much as that one blossom, every day, / Have we of Springfs warmth.h Prose, p. 100. Some interpreters object to putting this piece in the category of spring because Ransetsufs own headnote says it describes gplum blossoms in winter.h

[56] So some commentators find this piece artificial and vulgar.

[57] Noguchifs translation: gAutumnfs full moon: / Lo, the shadows of a pine-tree / Upon the mats!h Prose, p. 102.

[58] Prose, p. 69.

[59] Noguchifs translation: gPrince young, gallant, a masquerading fox goes this spring eve.h

[60] Noguchifs translation: (gThe old pond! / A frog leapt into\ / List, the water sound!h). The parentheses are part of the translation.

[61] Prose, p. 74.

[62] Ibid., p. 73.

[63] Poetry, p. 165.

[64] gJapanese Poetry,h Prose, p. 59.

[65] Ibid., p. 73.

[66] Ibid., p. 61. This talk is gJapanese Poetry,h cited earlier.

[67] Hazumi, p. 160. I should note that Hazumifs judgment is that Noguchi was right in responding with silence.

[68] Prose, p. 59.

[69] Poetry, p. 58. The original: Kono michi ya yuku hito nashi ni aki no kure, which may be translated: gThis road: no one taking it as autumn ends.h

[70] And he mixes in translations of classical tanka without saying so.

[71] He began his speech, gJapanese Poetry,h by saying: gI come always to the conclusion that the English poets waste too much energy in ewords, words, words.fh Prose, p. 57.