Chieko Takamura

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Chieko Takamura

Chieko Takamura (高村 智恵子, Takamura Chieko, May 20, 1886 – October 5, 1938) was a Japanese artist.


Chieko and Kōtarō

She was born in the town of Adachi in what is now the city of Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture as Chieko Naganuma, the eldest of six daughters and two sons.

In 1903, she went to the Japan Women's University, the Nihon Joshi Daigaku in Tokyo, and graduated in 1907. She was an oil painter, and made colorful papercuts. She was an early member of the Japanese feminist movement Seitosha, joining in 1911. She made the cover illustration for the first issue of their magazine, "Seitō". It began as a literary outlet for woman writers and quickly turned into a forum for discussing feminist issues. These women were from the upper-middle class and soon were labeled "New Women" because of their views and their lifestyles. In February 1914, she married Kōtarō Takamura, a sculptor and poet, whom she met soon after he had returned from France.

Chieko's memorial monument at her deathplace

Following the breakup of her family home in 1929, she was diagnosed in 1931 with symptoms of schizophrenia – she was hospitalized for that disease in 1935, and remained there until her death from tuberculosis in 1938.[1]

Kōtarō's book of poems about her, Chieko's Sky (智恵子抄, Chiekosho, literally "Selections of Chieko"), is still widely admired and read today. The translated title, "Chieko's Sky", is from one of the poems, "Childlike story" (あどけない話, Adokenai hanashi), where Chieko longs for the sky of her childhood.


  1. ^ Birnbaum, Phyllis (January 22, 2015). Modern Girls, Shining Stars, the Skies of Tokyo: Five Japanese Women. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231500029.