Wild geese —
between their cries, a slice
of silence ~ Katsura Nobuko (M Ueda, Far Beyond the Field)
Katsura Nobuko was born Niwa Nobuko in Osaka, Japan on November 1, 1914. When she was five, she almost died of acute pneumonia. After graduating from Ootemae Girls’ High School, she began writing haiku when the poems in ‘Kikan’ (The flagship) magazine impressed her with their nontraditional style. She subsequently met the magazine’s editor, Hino Soojoo, and became his protege. Her marriage in 1939 changed her family name to Katsura, but her husband died two years later.
Childless, Nobuko returned to her mother’s home. On March 13, 1945, the home caught fire as the American planes bombed Osaka. Unable to put out the fire she gathered her haiku manuscripts before fleeing barefooted. It is said that when she was reunited with her mother, her mother – weeping – said, “You are safe — that’s all I care.” The rescued manuscripts were later published in her first volume, ‘Gekkoo shoo (Beams of the moon 1949).
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