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Ichiyo Higuchi, a female modern Japanese writer with connections to Taito Ward



2021.01.21 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

Have you heard of Ichiyo Higuchi? Ichiyo was a modern Japanese female writer that produced many works of literature. She is also famous for the portrait of her that appears on the Japanese 5000 yen banknote.

Ichiyo Higuchi has an interesting connection with Taito Ward. As a child, Ichiyo grew up in a wealthy family. However, she lost her father at the age of 17 and was forced to support her mother and sister. By the time she was 18, Ichiyo wanted to become a novelist. However, as writing alone could not provide for the family, she started a shop selling sweets and general goods. The shop was located in Ryusenjicho, which is now the Ryusen area of Taito Ward.

One of Ichiyo Higuchi's well-known novels is "Takekurabe." It is said that the novel was greatly influenced by Ichiyo's experiences as a poor shopkeeper in the Ryusenji area. One could say that, without those life experiences, Ichiyo may never have written "Takekurabe."

In 1961, the Ichiyo Memorial Museum was established in Taito Ward by an enthusiastic group of volunteers from Ryusen who wished to continue to communicating and sharing Ichiyo Higuchi's accomplishments. The museum exhibits feature such precious items as the draft manuscript of her novel "Takekurabe" and the desk (replica) that Ichiyo used for her writing.

Address: 3-18-4, Ryusen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
* Due to the influence of COVID-19, the museum is temporarily closed. Please check the official website for museum operation status before visiting.

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