Literary figures from the Meiji and Taisho periods
Since 1886 (Meiji 19), more than 120 years have passed since Karuizawa was discovered as a summer resort on a plateau at an altitude of 1,000 m. During this period, numerous literary figures have visited Karuizawa and engaged in creative activities, fostering a unique literary climate.
Here we introduce some of the literary figures closely associated with Karuizawa.
In the early days, Mori Ogai, Masaoka Shiki, and others visited Karuizawa on foot or by horse-drawn railroad, climbing the Usui Pass and leaving their impressions of the area.
In 1893, when the difficult construction of the Usui Line Uptight Railway (electric locomotive) between Yokogawa and Karuizawa was completed, many literary scholars began to come to Karuizawa.
Tokutomi Roka, Ozaki Koyo, Kojima Kosui, Tayama Hanabukuro, Shiga Naoya, Satomi Tonon, Koda Rohan, Wakayama Makisui, Toki Zenmaro, Shimagi Akihiko, Kitahara Hakushu, and many others. They stayed mainly as travelers. They stayed there mainly as tourists and described the scenery in their essays and travelogues.
In the 1910s, during the Taisho Period (1912-1926), more and more literary figures began to visit Karuizawa.
Masamune Hakucho and Natsume Soseki first visited Karuizawa in 1912, Takeo Arishima and Tagore in 1916, and Saisei Muroo in 1920.
Other notable names include Miekichi Suzuki, Sakutaro Hagiwara, Toson Shimazaki, Kanzo Uchimura, Tekkan Yosano and his wife Akiko, Hiroko Katayama, Tatsuo Hori, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Yuuzo Yamamoto, Junichiro Tanizaki, Yuuzo Yamamoto, Tatsuo Doi, Hiroko Katayama, Tatsuo Hori, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Yuzo Doi, Yuzo Tanizaki, Yuzo Yamamoto, and Yuko Doi. Tatsuo Hori, Tatsuo Hori, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Bansui Doi, Junichiro Tanizaki, Yuzo Yamamoto, Genjiro Yoshida, Akira Maruoka, and others followed.
They stayed at the Karuizawa Hotel (no longer in existence), Mampei Hotel, Tsuruya Ryokan, Mikasa Hotel, Hoshino Onsen, and Aburaya Ryokan, or rented a villa to spend the summer, leaving behind works set in Karuizawa. Karuizawa’s cool, refreshing air, its salon-like atmosphere, and the different atmosphere of a cosmopolitan summer resort stimulated the creativity of these literary figures.
Literary and artistic figures such as Takeo Arishima, Kanae Yamamoto, and Iwasaburo Okino-who had villas in Karuizawa-also began to appear around this time.
Literary figures of the Showa Era
From the 1920s to the 1930s and into the early Showa period, more and more literary figures began to build their own villas or purchase villas owned by foreigners.
For example, in 1931, Saisei Muroo built a new villa on Mount Otsuka, where he spent about two months every summer until the year before his death.
Yasunari Kawabata first visited Karuizawa in 1931, and in 1937 he purchased a foreign missionary’s cottage in Sakura-no-sawa, where he spent summers and autumns after World War II.
In 1941, he purchased an American villa in Kamanosawa, and after a decade of illness, he passed away in Karuizawa in May 1953.
そのほか、第二次大戦前では、小杉天外(こすぎてんがい)、寺田寅彦(てらだとらひこ)、松根東洋城(まつねとうようじょう)、斎藤茂吉(さいとうもきち)、野村胡堂(のむらこどう)、長谷川伸(はせがわしん)、野上弥生子(のがみやえこ)、杉浦翠子(すぎうらすいこ)、折口 Nobuo Orikuchi, Kunio Kishida, Eiji Yoshikawa, Kihachi Ozaki, Fuyuji Tanaka, Masajiro Kojima, Teppei Kataoka, Rokuro Asahara, Kojiro Serizawa, Gisaburo Juichiya, Toshikazu Yokomitsu, Shiro Ozaki, Masuji Ibushi, Kaoru Maruyama, Jun Ishikawa, Tatsuji Miyoshi, Tetsutaro Kawakami, Kiyoshi Jinzai, Tetsutaro Kuso, Juran Hisao, Tetsutaro Kawakami, Kiyoshi Jinzai, Tatsuji Miyoshi, Tetsutaro Kawakami, Kiyoshi Jinzai, Hisao Juran, Tomoji Abe, Kusatao Nakamura, Kotaro Jinbo, Fumiko Enchi, Shuson Kato, Nobuo Tsumura, Hago Ishida, Michizo Tachihara, Hideo Nomura, Shinichiro Nakamura, Shuichi Kato, and many other literary figures (in order of birth) visited Karuizawa and left works set in this area.
During World War II, some literary figures avoided the ravages of war or suffered damage at home and evacuated to Karuizawa and the Asama Mountains. These included Shiratori Masamune, Saisei Muroo, Fumiko Enchi, Yayoko Nogami (in Kita-Karuizawa), Kunio Kishida (in Iida later), and Toshihiko Katayama (in Asashina later). Other works depicting life in evacuation include “Sanso Ki” by Nogami Yayoko, “Saku no Kusabue” by Sato Haruo (Yokone), and “Komoro Zakki” by Takahama Kyoshi (Komoro).
Literary figures from postwar to present
After World War II, more literary figures than ever before began to have their summer homes in Karuizawa, where they continue to this day. In addition to the literary figures mentioned above, there are many others such as Hachijo Saijo, Nobuko Yoshiya, Yoshiko Yuasa, Shigeji Tsuboi and his wife Sakae, Matsutaro Kawaguchi, Shigeru Goto and his wife Miyoko, Yojiro Ishizaka, Yojiro Ami, Yukiko Yuki, Shigeji Tsuboi and his wife Sakae, Shigetaro Kawaguchi, Shigeru Goto and his wife Miyoko, Yojiro Ishizaka, and many others. Kiku Ami, Shigeko Yuki, Itoko Koyama, Shigeharu Nakano, Seishi Yokomizo, Fumio Niwa, Tsuneo Tomita, Inako Satai, Tatsuzo Ishikawa, Chikao Tanaka and Sumie Sumie, and their husbands, Chikao Tanaka and Sumie Tanaka. Sumie and her husband, Shizuka Yamamuro, Yasushi Inoue, Taeko Kuzuhara, Akira Nogami, Tsuneko Nakazato, Masako Shirasu, Tomie Ohara, Kenichi Yoshida, Yoshida Kenichi, Genji Keita, Yoshiko Shibaiki Yoshiko Shibaki, Nobuo Kojima, Renzaburo Shibata, Tomiko Asabuki, Yoshie Hotta, Makoto Hojo, Takehiko Fukunaga, Michio Kato, Tsutomu Mizukami, Hiroyuki Agawa, Hiroyuki Agawa Hiroyuki Agawa, Hiroshi Akutagawa, Shusaku Endo, Kobo Abe, Kunio Tsuji, Shunzo Miyawaki, Kita Morio, Seiichi Yashiro, Hajime Kijima, Otohiko Kaga, Eriko Kishida, Inada Nada, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Sachiko Yoshihara, Akio Goto, Kenzaburo Oe, Yoko Mori, Katsura Morimura, Teru Miyamoto, Minae Mizumura ) and many other literary figures (in chronological order of birth) had villas in the area, and many literary works were produced there.
Today, thanks to the development of communication methods and high-speed transportation networks, an increasing number of literary figures (including Yasuo Uchida, Yoshinaga Fujita, Mariko Koike, and Megumi Tadokawa) have settled in the area.