Yasuhiro Yotsumoto — A Portfolio of Poetry —translated from the Japanese by Takako Lento

Editor’s note: Although he was writing poetry in his teens, it was paradoxically only after Yasuhiro Yotsumoto moved to the USA in 1986 as a business expatriate that he started fully engaging himself in writing poetry in his native Japanese language. His first collection of poetry A Laughing Bug (『笑うバグ』), was based partly on his studies in the MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and employed financial and accounting theories as a framework for his portrait of Japanese society in the post-Cold War, bubble-economy era. An anthologist and essayist, Yotsumoto is also an accomplished photographer.


Yasuhiro Yotsumoto (b. 1959, Osaka, Japan, raised in Hiroshima) is the author of fifteen books of poetry, two novels, and six volumes of poetry translation, most recently Dante meets Li Po, an anthology of world poetry rendered in Japanese. He currently writes a weekly essay, In Search of Poetry, for the Nippon Keizai Shinbun financial newspaper. After spending 34 years in the US and Germany, Yasuhiro returned to Japan in 2020, where he lectures at several universities and organizes the event, Poetry Talks Live,at the Hikari no uma venue in Tokyo.

Takako Lento  translates American writers into Japanese, and modern Japanese poetry into English. Her The Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson (a collaboration with W. S. Merwin) received the prestigious Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize in 2013-2014, which she was awarded again in 2018–19 for her translations of Kaneko Mitsuharu in Pioneers of Modern Japanese Poetry, a bilingual collection of four major poets with introductory and critical essays. Her other work includes World Without Words by Tamura Ryuichi; The Colors of Poetry: Essays in Classic Japanese Verse by Makoto Ōoka (with Thomas V. Lento); Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life and Work of a 20th Century Master (with Wayne Miller); and Tanikawa Shuntarō: The Art of Being Alone, Poems 1952–2009. She holds an MFA in poetry and translation from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.