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Gōzō Yoshimasu (吉増 剛造|Yoshimasu Gōzō) (born 1939, Tokyo) is a prolific Japanese poet, photographer, artist and filmmaker active since the 1960s. He has received a number of literary and cultural awards, including the Takami Jun Prize (1971), the Rekitei Prize, the Purple Ribbon Medal in 2003 (given by the Government of Japan),[1] the 50th Mainichi Art Award for Poetry (2009),[2] and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays in 2013.[3]

Reading at the Daiwa Foundation (London), 5 July 2013

Major influences include Shinobu Orikuchi, Paul Klee, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, William Blake, John Cage, Patrick Chamoiseau.[1] Many of his poems are multilingual, blending elements of French, English, Chinese, Korean, Gaelic, and more, and feature cross-linguistic and typographic wordplay. His poems rely on intimate experiences with geography and history, layering encounters in the present with a keen awareness of the past. Drawing on multiple translators whose detailed notes appear opposite the translations, helping to elucidate them, Alice Iris Red Horse: Selected Poems of Yoshimasu Gozo, a Book in and on Translation is the most extensive and adventurous attempt at an English translation of Yoshimasu's complex poetry. Yoshimasu's performances often include film, the display of fetish objects, chanting, ritual procedures, and the collaboration of musicians and other artists.[4]

In a 2014 interview by Aki Onda on the MoMA blog "Post," Yoshimasu described the relationship of his poetry to performance by remarking, "My quest is to reclaim the poetry that lies at the root of performing arts."[5]

His visual art has been gaining increased recognition, with the Japan Art Academy awarding him the Imperial Prize and the Japan Art Academy Prize in 2015.[6]



Poetry anthologiesEdit

  • Departure (出発, Shingeijutsusha, 1964)
  • Anthology of Golden Age Poetry (黄金詩篇, Shichosha, 1970)
  • Tower of the Mind (頭脳の塔, Aochisha, 1971)
  • Kingdom (王國, Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1973)
  • Exorcising My Demons (わが悪魔祓い, Seidosha, 1974)
  • I Am a Flaming Mirage (わたしは燃えたつ蜃気楼, Ozawashoten, 1976)
  • River Written in Cursive『草書で書かれた、川』(Shichosha, 1977)
  • Blue Sky『青空』(Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1979)
  • Hot Wind a thousand steps『熱風 a thousand steps』(ChuōKōronsha, 1979)
  • Letter to the Tree Towering next to the Big Hospital 『大病院脇に聳えたつ一本の巨樹への手紙』(ChuōKōronsha, 1983)
  • Osiris, God of Stone『オシリス、石ノ神』(Shichosha, 1984)
  • Helix Songs『螺旋歌』(Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1990)
  • August Sunset, Unicorn『八月の夕暮、一角獣よ』(Chūsekisha, 1992)
  • At the Entrance to the House of Fireworks『花火の家の入口で』(Seidosha, 1995)
  • “The Island of Snow,” or “The Ghost of Emily”『「雪の島」あるいは「エミリーの幽霊」』(Shūeisha, 1998)
  • The Other Voice (Shichosha, 2002)
  • Extended Poem: Goro-Goro『長篇詩 ごろごろ』(Mainichi shimbunsha, 2004)
  • Snake of Heaven, Bloom of Violet 『天上ノ蛇、紫のハナ』(Shūeisha, 2005)
  • Nowhere Tree『何処にもない木』(Shūeisha, 2006)
  • 『表紙 omote‐gami』(Shichosha, 2008)
  • Naked Memo『裸のメモ』(Shoshi Yamada, 2011)

Exclusive anthologiesEdit

A number of major poetry publishers in Japan have published books and issues of journals (such as Gendai-shi Techō) anthologizing Yoshimasu's works. These include:

  • "Yoshimasu Gōzō Anthology"『吉増剛造詩集』(Shichosha・Gendaishibunko, 1971)(ISBN 4783707405)
  • "Yoshimasu Gōzō Anthology 1-5"『吉増剛造詩集 1-5』(Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1977–78)
  • 『続・吉増剛造詩集』(Shichosha・Gendaishibunko, 1994) (ISBN 4783708827)
  • 『続続・吉増剛造詩集』(Shichosha・Gendaishibunko, 1994) (ISBN 4783708835)
  • 『吉増剛造詩集』(KadokawaShunju Jimusho, 1999) (ISBN 4894565706)


  • Morning Letters『朝の手紙』(Ozawa Shoten, 1973)
  • River of the Sun『太陽の川』(Ozawa Shoten, 1978)
  • Imagine a Helix『螺旋形を想像せよ』(Ozawa Shoten, 1981)
  • A Quiet Place『静かな場所』(Ozawa Shoten, 1981)
  • The Penis-Train that Flew to the Sky『そらをとんだちんちんでんしゃ』. Photography by Horiguchi Akira (Shōgakukan, 1982)
  • Time Goes Trembling On『打ち震えていく時間』(Shichosha, 1987)
  • Tōkoku Notes『透谷ノート』(Ozawa Shoten, 1987)
  • Scotland Travels『スコットランド紀行』(Shoshi Yamada, 1989)
  • The Homelands of Words『ことばのふるさと』(Yatate Shuppan, 1992)
  • Death’s Ship『死の舟』(Shoshi Yamada, 1999)
  • A Lifetime’s Path through Dreams: Walking with Orikuchi Shinobu『生涯は夢の中径 - 折口信夫と歩行』(Shichosha, 1999)
  • Hometown of Words, Hometown Fussa 『ことばの古里、ふるさと福生』(矢立出版、2000)
  • The Flaming Movie House『燃えあがる映画小屋』(青土社、2001)
  • The Bared Wildflower: From Poetry to the World『剥きだしの野の花 - 詩から世界へ』(Iwanami Shoten, 2001)
  • Brazil Diaries『ブラジル日記』(Shoshi Yamada, 2002)
  • In Poetry’s Pocket: Journey to My Beloved Poets『詩をポケットに - 愛する詩人たちへの旅』(NHK Publishing, 2003)
  • In Between 11: Yoshimasu Gōzō’s Ireland『In between 11 吉増剛造 アイルランド』(EU・JapanFest, Japan Committee, 2005)
  • Kiseki-gozoCine『キセキ-gozoCine』ISBN 4990123964 (Osiris, 2009)
  • Garden of Gold Gone Blind『盲いた黄金の庭』(Iwanami shoten, 2010) (Photography collection.)
  • Mokpo Correspondence『木浦通信』(Yatate Shuppan, 2010)

Co-authored worksEdit

  • Bones of the Tree with Kido Shuri『木の骨』 (Yatate Shuppan, 1993)
  • Sea of Melted Snow: Tampopo and Tampupu 『はるみずのうみ - たんぽぽとたんぷぷ』ISBN 4946350527 (Yatate Shuppan, 1999)
  • Dolce/Sweetly: A New Encounter with Image and Word『ドルチェ-優しく―映像と言語、新たな出会い』with Aleksandr Nikolayevich Sokurov, Shimao Miho. ISBN 4000241192 (Iwanami Shoten, 2001)
  • Words that Quake to the Loom 『機―ともに震える言葉』関口涼子 ISBN 4879956805 (Shoshi Yamada, 2006)


Yoshimasu has often had dialogues with creators from Japan and around the world. These include:

  • Ocean in a Boardgame, Cosmos in a Poem『盤上の海、詩の宇宙』ISBN 4309263194 (Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1997) Conversations with Yoshiharu Habu
  • At the Edge of this Era『この時代の縁で』ISBN 4582829236 (Heibonsha, 1998) 市村弘正との対談
  • On the Shores of "Asia"『「アジア」の渚で』ISBN 4894344521(Fujiwara Shoten, 2005) Dialogue with / co-authored by Korean poet Ko Un
  • To the World as Archipelago『アーキペラゴ―群島としての世界へ』ISBN 4000220314 (Iwanami Shoten, 2006) Dialogue / epistolary exchange with Ryuta Imafuku, Professor of Anthropology and Communication at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

Translations into FrenchEdit

  • "Osiris: Dieu de pierre". Tr. Claude Mouchard and Makiko Ueda. Circé, 1989.
  • Ex-Voto, a thousand steps and more, translated by Ryoko Sekiguchi, Éditions Les petits matins October 2009.
  • The Other Voice, translated by Ryoko Sekiguchi, preface by Michel Deguy Éditions Caedere 2004.
  • Antique observatoire, translated by Claude Mouchard and Masatsugu Ono, illustrations by Daniel Pommereulle, Collection R / Avant post, 2001.

Translations into EnglishEdit

  • Devil’s Wind: A Thousand Steps or More. Ed./trans. Brenda Barrows, Thomas Fitzsimmons. Oakland University Press, 1980.
  • Osiris: The God of Stone. Tr. Hiroaki Sato. St. Andrew's Press, 1989.
  • "at the side (côtés) of poetry." Tr. Jeffrey Angles. Guernica, 5 Nov. 2012.[7]
  • "火・Fire: To Adonis...". Tr. Jordan A. Yamaji Smith. Poetry Review, Vol. 103. No. 2 (Summer 2013), pp. 60–61.
  • ed. Forrest Gander. Alice, Iris, Red Horse: Selected Poems of Gozo Yoshimasu: a Book in and on Translation. Translated by Hiroaki Sato, Jeffrey Angles, Sawako Nakayasu, Jordan A. Yamaji Smith, Richard Arno, Auston Stewart, Eric Selland, Sayuri Okamoto & Derek Gromadzki. New Directions, 2016. [1]


  1. ^ a b Lee Yew Leong and Sayuri Okamoto. "Naked Memos followed by a Q&A with the author Gozo Yoshimasu". Asymptote. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Professor Yoshimasu Gozo Receives 50th Mainichi Art Award". Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Mugen wo motomete, mae-he, mae-he". Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  4. ^ Pattillo, Mia. "Gozo Yoshimasu Performs Personal, Unique Poetry". The Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  5. ^ Onda, Aki. "Interview with Yoshimasu Gozo". Post: Notes on Modern & Contemporary Art Around the Globe. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Japan Art Academy Prizes". Japan Art Academy. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  7. ^ Angles, Jeffrey. "at the side (côtés) of poetry". Guernica: A Magazine of Art & Politics. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  • "Professor Yoshimasu Gozo Receives 50th Mainichi Art Award" [2]
  • Lee Yew Leong and Sayuri Okamoto, "Naked Memos followed by a Q&A with the author Gozo Yoshimasu" [3]
  • Jeffrey Angles, "at the side (côtés) of poetry" [4]
  • Encyclopedia Larousse, "Yoshimasu Gozo." [5]
  • Location One: Poetic Spectrum: Images, Objects and Words of Gozo Yoshimasu [6]
  • The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature: Volume 2 (eds. J. Thomas Rimer, Van C. Gessel). New York: Columbia, 2007. pp. 742–4.
  • Havens, Thomas R. H. Radicals and Realists in the Japanese Nonverbal Arts: The Avant Garde Rejection of Modernism. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006. pp. 73, 132, 148.