Robin D. Gill

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Robin Dallas Gill, born in 1951 at Miami Beach, Florida, USA, and brought up on the island of Key Biscayne in the Florida Keys, is a bilingual author in Japanese and English, as well as a nature writer, maverick authority on the history of stereotypes of Japanese identity[1] and prolific translator of, and commentator on Japanese poetry, especially haiku and senryū. He writes haiku in Japanese under the haigō (haikai pen-name) Keigu (敬愚).

Academic and work curriculum[edit]

On completing High School, Gill spent a year in Mexico City in 1968 learning etching and Spanish, before proceeding to Georgetown University to study International Politics at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He graduated in 1976, and spent the following two academic years doing graduate work in Honolulu at the Department of Far Eastern Languages, University of Hawaii. He worked at the Japan Translation Center from 1978 to 1980. He then was employed as Acquisitions Editor, translation checker and foreign secretary for the Tokyo publishing firm Kōsakusha. From 1990, he simultaneously worked for a new publishing house, editions Papyrus. He returned to the United States in 1998, and after an interlude of several months in the following year researching, among other things, Luís Fróis at the British Library,[2] he returned to the United States and set up his own publishing company. He is now producing a long sequence of books that endeavour to travel over, in thematic sequences, the highways and byways of Japanese poetry.[3]

Recent work[edit]

Gill's recent work focuses on kigo or seasonal keyword thematics in traditional Japanese poetry, ranging widely over haiku, senryū, waka and kyōka (狂歌:crazy poems), concentrating in each successive book on sub-themes. For example, the sea-cucumber, namako, ignored in the standard histories of the genre, nonetheless attracted numerous poets and Gill provides the reader with several hundred examples, glossing each with erudite annotations on the cultural setting and natural history of the humble namako,[4] He has done similar delvings into the extensive poetic sub-culture built over centuries on the Japanese fly (hae).[5] His most recent books explore the more familiar world of the cherry tree (sakura) and the ritual cherry blossom viewing (hanami). In his books, the poems are arranged in thematic chains, with multiple translations that enable the reader to see the variety of potential readings to be elicited from an otherwise simple, straightforward set of verses. His translations are accompanied by the original Japanese texts, with transliterations into Roman characters.

List of works[edit]


  1. ^ cf.Yoshio Sugimoto, Ross E.Mouer, Constructs for Understanding Japan , Kegan Paul International, London and New York 1989 p.2
  2. ^ Topsy-Turvy 1585 : a translation and explication of Luis Frois S.J.'s Tratado:611 ways Europeans and Japanese were contrary, Paraverse Press, Florida 2004
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rise, Ye Sea Slugs! 1,000 holothurian haiku, Paraverse Press, Florida 2003, ISBN 0-9742618-0-7
  5. ^ Fly-ku! to swat or not to swat , Paraverse Press, Florida 2004, ISBN 978-0-9742618-4-3