Araki Yasusada

Kitagawa Fuyuhiko 
Li Chi, C14H 
Talien, Manchuria 249

November 7, 1925

Dear Mr. Kitagawa:

I am a student in Western Literature at Hiroshima University under the
tutelage of Professor Nakano Shigeharu, and I am writing to tell you
that I have greatly admired the new journal A. It has made me think of
poetry in a thoroughly new way, and for this I wish to express my
sincere gratitude to you and Dr. Anzai Fuyue.*

Each time I read Dr. Anzai's poem, "Spring,"

A herring is about to be brought to the table, coming through a subway

I feel renewed and excited, as if I had been woken from a dream by an
Imperial courtesan with the biceps of a wrestler! And your own

There is a naval port inside of its intestines

reveals, if there ever was any doubt, that within a single turnip
there are mountains, rivers, and a whole formation of rubber-capped
subjects swimming across the Hokkaido Strait!

Here, if you'll allow me the indiscretion, are three responses to your
extraordinary "Horse." I offer them in honor of your poem, but should
you find them worthy, I would be deeply honored were any included in a
future issue of A:

	Inside the naval port there are millions of kilometers
	of intestines
	Manchurian Prisoner 
	Inside this teenager I desire, there is a
	mandala of intestines
	Chewing on braised intestine, he becomes a horse,
	chasing its tail just beyond the 				   
	edge of a barbarian scroll

I enclose the requested remittance for a one year subscription.

My esteemed and patriotic greetings,

Araki Yasusada

*[In carbon copy. Kitagawa Fuyuhiko and Anzai Fuyue were founders of the magazine A, one of the central journals in the development of Japanese poetic modernism. The descriptive analogies and three poems that Yasusada offers in praise of the two poets are idiosyncratic, to say the least, and their rhetorical intent is somewhat ambiguous. Our leaning is to read them in the spirit of a youthful but sophisticated stab at the participation (as settlers) of Kitagawa and Anzai in the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. Whatever his intent, Yasusada seems not to have impressed the editors of A, as the poems were never published there, nor is there any record of further communication between Yasusada and Kitagawa. Nevertheless, in 1928, the poem "Translator" appeared (under the pseudonym Iijima Tai) in Shobi.majutsu.gakusetsu [Rose.Magic.Theory], Japan's first magazine of surrealist literature, founded by Kitasono Kasue in 1927. The use of the pseudonym is most certainly due to the increasing repression against unorthodox authors by the militarist government in the late 1920s, which culminated with open censorship and cultural persecution throughout the war years. The poem "Manchurian Prisoner" is circled in ink and noted in Yasusada's script: "Send to Kitasono at VOU," a note that must have been made sometime in the mid to late 1930s. Indeed, there is an undated, handwritten letter from Kitasono in one of the notebooks, expressing effusive admiration for Yasusadaís poetry and indicating a desire to publish "in the close future of a pale fire." On the back of this letter, Yasusada has penned, in English, the following stanza. We do not know if it is of his personal composition, or copied over from another authorship: But all at once it dawned on me that this Was the real point, the contrapuntal theme; Just this: not text, but texture; not the dream But topsy-turvical coincidence, Not flimsy nonsense, but a web of sense. Yes! It sufficed that I in life could find Some kind of link-and-bobolink, some kind Of correlated pattern in the game, Plexed artistry, and something of the same Pleasure in it as they who played it found. We suspect, though we aren't sure, that poems by Yasusada appear in the publication of VOU under pseudonym(s). -- Tosa Motokiyu, Ojiu Norinaga, and Okura Kyojin, Eds.]

Other newly-mined letters from Araki Yasusada at Jacket

Further commentary on Yasusada from Kent Johnson at "read me"

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