1921 (Taisho 10) Saturday, August 20 Yanagihara Byakuren published “Byakuren Jissen Kashu” (Collection of Selected Poems by Byakuren), in which she selected her poems. Byakuren’s real name is Akiko. She is the second daughter of Count Sakimitsu Yanagiwara, a venerable court noble. She was born in Tokyo as Yanagihara Akiko on October 15, 1885. Her father named Akiko after the gorgeous appearance of National Dance hall, Rokumeikan. Yanagihara Naruko is one of her aunt. Naruko is mother of Emperor Taisho so Byakuren and Emperor Taisho were cousins.
Akiko entered Kazoku Jogakko (now Gakushuin Girls’ Junior High School) at the age of 13, but at the age of 15 she married Suketake KITAKOJI, who was 7 years older than Akiko, and immediately after that she gave birth to her first son at the age of 15, but they divorced. In 1908 (Meiji 41), at the age of 23, she transferred to Toyo Eiwa Girls’ School (now Toyo Eiwa Girls’ Gakuin High School), where she lived in a dormitory. His friendship with Muraoka Hanako, who later became his translator, was depicted in the NHK TV serial novel “Hanako and Ann” published in 2014.
In 1910 (Meiji 43) Akiko remarried Ito Denemon, a coal miner in Kyushu. However, their marriage soon fell apart, and Akiko, who was living alone in the Ito family in Fukuoka, began to express her feelings in her tanka. Therefore, he began to use the pen name “Byakuren” and was called Ito Byakuren. A collection of tanka poems called “Toe,” about his naked life, gained popularity, and in December of 1919, he published a play called “Shimangedo” in the 1919 magazine “Liberation,” where he met Ryusuke MIYAZAKI, who was 7 years younger and the chief editor of the magazine “Liberation,” and they fell in love and began to meet each other.
100 years ago today, Itoh Byakuren published “Byakuren Jissen Kashu” (Collection of Selected Poems by Byakuren), at which time in Kyoto Byakuren hid his eldest son, Miyazaki Kaori, who was born the following year and the son of Ryusuke. It was around this time that Byakuren decided to leave her husband Ito Denemon and began preparing to run away from home with Ryusuke.