Akiko Yosano was the pen-name of a Japanese author, poet, pioneering feminist, pacifist, and social reformer, active in late Meiji period, Taisho period and early Showa period Japan. Her real name was Yosano Shiyo. She is one of the most famous, and most controversial, post-classical woman poets of Japan.
Yosano was born into a prosperous merchant family in Sakai, near Osaka. From the age of 11, she was the family member most responsible for running the family business, which produced and sold yokan, or bean candy. From early childhood, she was fond of reading literary works, and read widely in her father's extensive library. When she was a high school student, she began to subscribe to the poetry magazine Myojo (Bright Star), and she became one of its most important contributors. Myojo’s editor, Yosano Tekkan, taught her tanka poetry. They met when he came to Osaka and Sakai to deliver lectures and teach workshops.
Although Tekkan had a common-law wife, Tekkan and Akiko fell in love. Tekkan eventually separated from his common-law wife, and the two poets started a new life together in the suburb of Tokyo. Tekkan and Akiko married in 1901.
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