Literary Monuments in Karuizawa
Karuizawa has long had a connection with literature.
There are also many monuments and statues that tell of the connection with many literary figures, and you can feel the vestiges of these sensitivities everywhere in the town. Let us introduce them to you.
- ～Man’yoshu Poem Monument
- Two poems about the Usui Pass are included in the 20th volume of Japan’s oldest anthology of poetry, Manyoshu. The monument was erected in 1967 by the town of Karuizawa at the viewing platform of the old Usui Pass, inscribed with these two poems. ＜The former is a song about a wife who leaves her husband and crosses the Usuhi Pass, thinking of him. The former is a song about a wife who leaves her husband and crosses the Usui Pass, thinking of him. The latter is a song sung by a husband thinking of his wife as she crosses the Usui Pass. It is estimated that the ancient Higashiyama Road at that time passed near the Iriyama Pass, south of the Nakayama Road route.
- ～Monument at Hitotsuya
- This numerical monument is said to be the monument of one family in the world. It is said that there was a large stone monument by the old Nakasendo road, but it was buried by the Asama eruption in 1783, and later washed away by a flood and lost. It is said that around the end of the Edo period, the head priest of Kumano Shrine in the pass rebuilt the monument at this location, fearing the loss of the song. The shrine is located a short distance downhill from the pass in the direction of Kamishu. ＜The mountain road is cold and lonely.
- ～Basho monument
- This is a monument to a haiku poem by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), a haiku poet of the early Edo period, in his “Sarashina Travels” (1688), titled “Fukitobushi Ishi mo Asama no Nobunikana” (“The stone that blows away is also Asama’s field”). The monument was erected by Shunjuan Ren of Saku in August 1793, the 100th anniversary of Basho’s death, in the precincts of Sengen Shrine in Oiwake. It was written by Chosui Shunjuan. Sarashina Travels” is a travelogue of Basho’s trip to Sarashina, Shinshu, accompanied by his pupil Ochi Etsujin, from Owari to Kiso, where they went to see the moon. There is another Basho monument in the town, located across the road from the Sho monument in old Karuizawa. The haiku is “Horse wo sae namemuru yuki no asatashiya” (Koshi Ginko’s haiku). This monument was erected in 1843 by the Karuizawa haiku poet Kobayashi Tamahogi.
- ～Tagore Memorial Statue
- Tagore (1861-1941), an Indian poet, came to Japan in 1916, visited Karuizawa in August, stayed at the Mitsui residence, and was invited to give a lecture on “Prayer” to the students at a retreat held at Japan Women’s University. In 1980, the 120th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, the Japan Tagore Society and others erected this statue at the gazebo on the mountain pass to commemorate this event. It was created by Hiroatsu Takada. On the wall behind him, his words “Mankind will not fight” are inscribed.
- ～Monument to Mr. and Mrs. Hiroshi Yosano and Akiko Akiko
- In 1921, the poet Hiroshi Yosano (1873-1935) and his wife Akiko (1878-1942) stayed at Hoshino Onsen Meiseikan and left many poems. In 1971, the then head of Hoshino Onsen, Kasuke Hoshino, erected a monument by the Myojyo no Ike pond based on the poems composed at that time. The monument is embossed with a poem by the couple, each in their own handwritten, elegant script. ＜The monument has now been moved to a new location near the Dragonfly Bath.
- ～Monument to the place where Takeo Arishima died
- This monument was built on the site of the villa “Jogetsuan” in Mikasa, where novelist Takeo Arishima and magazine journalist Akiko Hatano died together on June 9, 1923. Erected in the summer of 1951. There is also a “Monument of Friendship to Tilda” (an English letter from Arishima to Tilda) near the monument. In 1989, Jogetsuan was relocated to the Karuizawa Kogenbunko site from Shin-Karuizawa, where it had been moved from Mikasa.
- ～Poetic inscription of Masamune Hakucho
- The monument to Shiratori Masamune, a novelist and critic who had a villa near Roppon Tsuji and loved Karuizawa for a long time, stands quietly on the hillside of Ichimonji Mountain, far behind Futatebashi Bridge. The Greek poem that Shiratori Shiratori loved to sing is engraved in a cross-shaped Swedish black granite stone with Shiratori’s brush. His favorite fountain pen is said to be kept under the stone. After Shiratori’s death, the memorial was erected in July 1965 at the initiative of Fumio Niwa and with contributions from journalism and the literary world. Designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi. ＜The flowers have no flowers, but only thorns.
- ～Kitahara Hakushu Poem Monument
- In August 1921, the poet Kitahara Hakushu (1885-1942) participated as a lecturer at the Summer Seminar for Liberal Education held at Hoshino Onsen, and gave a lecture on free verse for children. The poem “Ochiba-Matsu” is said to have been written during a walk through a forest of fallen pine trees, and was published in the November (first issue) of “Meisei” in 1921. ＜Passing through a forest of Japanese white pine trees. I see the karamatsu with deep emotion. The Karamatsu is desolate. The journey is desolate. ＞(first series) and continues through the eighth series. The monument was erected by the town of Karuizawa in 1969, using natural stone, along the Yugawa River at the entrance to Hoshino Onsen.
- ～Muro Saisei Literary Monument
- Saisei Muroo created his own literary monument in 1960, after winning the Noma Literary Award for “Kagerofu no Nikki Yubun” (“Diary of a Kagerofu”). He chose the poems, designed the monument, and paid for its construction. The location is along the Yagasaki River across the Futate Bridge. The poem is “Kirinaki kouzou zo shiru,” from “Tsuru” (Crane), 1928. Beside the monument, there stand two yongjin, which Saisei sought when he traveled to the northeastern part of China.
- ～The monument to Nakanishi Godo
- This is a monument to Nakanishi Godo (1895-1984), a poet and poet laureate who continued his campaign for nature conservation as a bird researcher, founded the “Wild Bird Society of Japan,” and promoted the bird-loving movement. Nakanishi often held bird-watching parties in Karuizawa and was deeply appreciated and respected by local residents. It was erected in 1979 at the entrance to the Wild Bird Sanctuary. Later, in 1986, a bust of Nakanishi with a small bird perched on his shoulder was added next to the monument.
- ～Nakamura Kusatao’s haiku monument
- In August 2004, a monument to haiku by Nakamura Kusadao (1901-1983), a haiku poet who presided over “Manryoku” and was known as a human explorer, was erected behind St. Paul’s Catholic Church by the Manryoku Doujin-kai. On the reverse side of the natural stone, which is about 80 cm high including the base, is engraved the phrase, “Even in August, the fallen leaves and pine trees are pale. On the surface is a relief of the Virgin and Child. Since 1936, the year after the church was built, he has attended mass every summer under the guidance of his wife.