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9 February 1904|
|Died||26 October 1985
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
Kawakami Kikuko was born in Shizuoka Prefecture. She graduated from Heijo Higher Girls' School and from the vocational course at Yamawaki Higher Girls’ School. In 1924 she accompanied her husband to Korea, then under Japanese rule, and lived there until 1931.
After her return to Japan in 1931, she and her retired husband moved to Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture, so that she could receive medical treatment for an illness contracted in Korea. She continued to live in Kamakura until her death in 1985.
While living in Kamakura, she had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of some of the Kamakura literati, including Hayashi Fusao, Kawabata Yasunari and Yosano Akiko (who taught her tanka). Some of her poems were accepted by the literary journal Myōjō.
In 1936, Hayashi and Kawabata encouraged Kawakami to publish Fuyubi no Kage ("Shadow of a Winter's Day"), Saigetsu ("Time and Tide"), and Metsubo no Mon ("Gate of Ruin") in Bungakukai, a major monthly literary magazine. All three stories were acclaimed by literary critics, and Metsubo no Mon was awarded the eleventh Bungakukai Prize, and was nominated for the 4th Akutagawa Prize.
Following this recognition, Kawakami wrote a number of novels in quick succession, including Hikari Honokanari ("Faint Light"), Biko ("Dim Light"), and Hanazono no Shosoku, published in Bungakukai. Her style was objective and unemotional, and she depicted the ever-increasing oppression under Japan's growing militarism.
After World War II, Kawakami withdrew from literary activity, but in her later years published Kagero no Banka ("Elegy on Mirage").