Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Takizawa Bakin

(1767-1848). Also known as Bakin and as Kyokutei Bakin. Scholar, novelist critic, diarist, and haiku poet. Real name Takizawa Okikuni. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), he was the fifth son of a low-ranking samurai. Misery, suffering, and the death of family members filled his youth. After a period of drifting, he gave up his samurai status in 1789 and lived as a townsman, depending almost entirely on writing for his livelihood. He wrote kusazōshi ("chapbooks") and yomihon ("reading books"), two popular genres of Edo period (1600-1868) prose fiction, and is most famous for his historical romance Nansō Satomi Hakkenden (1814-42, Satomi and the Eight "Dogs"). Loyalty, filial piety, and the restoration of samurai families like his own were his main themes. Bakin remains one of the giants of Japanese literature. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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