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About Kajima Shozo

Poet, Taoist thinker, Bokusai-ga painter, translator

The "Lao-Tzu of Ina Valley" celebrated his 90th birthday in January 2013!

His birthday party and recent book "Ukeireru" (Acceptance) were featured on NHK's Good Morning Japan on January 21, 2013. You can check out a clip on Youtube at http://youtu.be/hpUn4TkICdY (in Japanese).

On behalf of all who have been touched by Kajima Shozo's life and work, we congratulate him on a rich and productive nine decades and hope he will continue to share his insights for many more years to come.

Early Career
Born into a well-to-do merchant family in Tokyo in 1923, Kajima Shozo attended Waseda University and did his graduate studies at Clairmont College in California as a Fulbright scholar. He began his career teaching English in colleges and universities and, over a period of thirty years, translated many great nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels and poems into Japanese, including five major works of William Faulkner and works by Mark Twain, W.B. Yeats, Edgar Allen Poe, and Agatha Christy.

Return to Eastern Roots
In his youth, Kajima was dedicated to introducing the spirit of the West, particularly America, to Japan. It was not until his sixties that he turned to his Eastern heritage as a source of creative and spiritual inspiration. Over time, his art and poetry came to express the Taoist sensibilities of balance and harmony with nature.

Kajima became acquainted with Lao-Tzu not through the original Chinese texts on which earlier Japanese translations had been based, but rather through English versions by Arthur Waley, Lin Yuton, and others. Translating from the English, Kajima was able to create flowing renditions in contemporary Japanese. Their accessibility, along with the beauty of Kajima's poetry, has made his translations Tao Here & Now and Tao-Lao-Tzu long-time sellers in Japan. In the best-selling Motomenai, Kajima reflects on desire and contentment in a direct and compassionate voice of experience that struck a chord with many in Japan. A follow-up volume, Ukeireru (Acceptance), came out in 2012. Kajima considers these books to be his life-work.

Artistic Pursuits
Kajima Shozo began to study calligraphy relatively late in life. He works in the medium of sumi ink (bokusai-ga paintings) and creates paintings as well as scrolls and gasatsu (a type of artist book). Kajima paints landscapes or still-life scenes that include calligraphy poems which can be original compositions, direct quotations, or his own interpretations of Taoist poems in Japanese or English.

Today, Kajima lives at the foot of the Japanese Alps in Nagano, where he finds inspiration in the change of seasons and in the spectacular mountain views from the windows of his home-studio. He lectures frequently, has held numerous solo exhibitions of his artwork in Tokyo, Kyoto and Yokohama, and has been the subject of documentaries and TV programs. An NHK documentary is in production and scheduled to air in fall 2013.

Kajima Shozo's latest books
Ukeireru "Acceptance"(Japanese)

Zen and Tao(Japanese)
Taoist Kajima Shozo and former Soto Zen leader Itabashi Koushu discuss the intersection of Tao and Buddhist spirituality. What is this mysterious Life that transcends the mind? In their talk, Kajima and Itabashi describe how we can return to gentleness and tolerance, to a slower pace of life and a suppleness that brings resilience.

Hitori "Alone"(Japanese)
"Alone but not lonely". 89-year old Kajima Shozo has discovered how to be alone and yet fully alive. Through photos and essays, we follow him through the four seasons in the Ina valley and partake in his daily ritual of hitori-cha, tea for one.

Motomenai - Ohne Verlangen [Perfect Paperback](German)

1923 Born in Kanda, Tokyo
1941 (Age 18) Enters Waseda University, English Literature Department
1943 Drafted into the Japanese army
1945 World War II Ends
1947 (Age 24) Graduates Waseda University
Joins "Arechi", a poetic society inspired by T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland
1949 (Age 26) First of his more than 100 translations of English literature published
1953 (Age 30) Studies at Clairmont College under Fulbright fellowship
1955 (Age 32) Joins Shinshu National University Faculty of Education
1964 (Age 41) Translates William Faulkner's Light in August
1967 (Age 44) Joins as Professor at Yokohama National University,
Faculty of Education
1971 (Age 48) Translates William Faulkner's Sanctuary and The Wild Palms
1972 (Age 49) Co-edits/translates Post-War Japanese Poetry (Penguin Books)
1972 ~1975 Studies Calligraphy
1973 (Age 50) Builds cottage in Ina Valley, Central Japanese Alps
1975 (Age 52) Exhibits artwork in group show at Yurindo, Yokohama
1976 (Age 53) Publishes study of the English dictionary
1981 (Age 58) Poetry published in magazine Doujidai "Our Age"
1985 (Age 62) Publishes first book of poems Bansei (Shichosha); English version published in 1994 by Viz Media under the title Evening Clearing
1986 (Age 63) Joins faculty at Aoyama Gakuin Women's Junior College
Becomes acquainted with Arthur Waley's English translation of Chinese Poems, leading to an interest in Chinese poetry
1988 (Age 65) First solo exhibition held at gallery in Shibuya, Tokyo. Since then, holds yearly solo exhibition at galleries in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Yokohama
1990 (Age 67) Houkou "Wandering", collection of original poetry
1993 (Age 70) Tao Here & Now, a translation of Lao-Tzu into contemporary Japanese free verse (PARCO)
Collection of translations of twentieth-century English poems
1995 (Age 72 ) The Tao of Ina Valley (Tanko-sha)
Moves to Ina Valley to live alone
1997 (Age 74) Rishi "Longing", collection of original poetry (Shichosha)
Exhibition of corresponding artwork held in Matsumoto, Nagano
2000 (Age 77) Tao-Roshi, a revised version of Tao, Here & Now (Chikuma Shobo)
Appears in NHK television documentary, Age of the Heart
2001 (Age 78) Living in the Now (Iwanami bunko)
2002 (Age 79) NHK documentary introducing his life as a contemporary Taoist aired throughout Japan
2003 (Age 80) Collection of translations of Chinese poems
Collected poems of Shozo Kajima (Shicho-sha)
Song of the Great Valley, a collection of art and poems (Ribun Shuppan)
TAO-Lao-Tzu, documentary, issued on DVD by Pioneer
Solo exhibition at Komagane Art Museum
Tao ni tsunagaru "Connecting with Tao" (Asahi bunko)
2004 (Age 81) Tao of Ina Valley (Asahi bunko)
2005 (Age 82) Tao and the Valley (Kairyusha)
Tao and Me (Nihon Kyoubun-sha)
Kikoku "Homecoming", collection of poems
Essential Tao (Kodansha)
2006 (Age 83) Living with Tao (Chikuma bunko)
Chuang-Tzu Here & Now (PARCO)
2007 (Age 84) Words of Lao-Tzu to Soothe the Soul (Nigensha)
The Path to Tao (Asahi bunko)
Motomenai (Shogakukan)
Returning to Stillness, dialogue with Dr. Obitsu Ryoichi, pioneer of holistic medicine in Japan (Fuun-sha)
Life, poetry and essays (PARCO)
2008 (Age 85) Hara (Asahi bunko)
2009 (Age 86) My Tao: The Path to Gentleness (Chikuma Shobo)
2010 (Age 87) The Energy of Beauty, book of paintings and poetry (Nigensha)
Chiisaki hana "The Smallest Flower" (Shogakukan)
2011 (Age 88) Watashi ga jinsei ni kataru nara "On Living" (Poplar)
Yasashisa to yawarakasa to-Roshi no kotoba "Kindness and Gentleness-Words of Lao-Tzu"
(Media Factory)
2012 (Age 89) Zen and Tao, talk with former leader of Soto Zen (Kosei Publishing)
Hitori "Alone" (Tanko-sha)
Ukeireru "Acceptance" (Shogakukan)


E-mail : kajima@kajimashozo.com

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