Toyo Shibata

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Toyo Shibata (柴田 トヨ, Shibata Toyo, June 26, 1911 – January 20, 2013)[1] was a bestselling Japanese poet; her first anthology Kujikenaide (″Don't lose heart″), published in 2009, sold 1.58 million copies.[2] In comparison, poetry book sales of 10,000 are considered successful in Japan.[2][3] Her anthology also topped Japan's Oricon bestseller chart.[4] It was originally self-published, but upon seeing its success the publisher Asuka Shinsha reissued it, with new artwork, in 2010.[2] It contains 42 poems.[2] After back pain forced Shibata to give up her hobby of classical Japanese dance, she turned to writing poetry at the age of 92, at the suggestion of her son Kenichi.[3] As of 2011 she was writing poems for a second anthology,[3] lived alone in the Tokyo suburbs, and was a widow.[3]

There was a TV documentary about Shibata in December 2010.[2]

Shibata died on January 20, 2013 in a nursing home in Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo. She was 101.


  1. ^ "Granny poet marks 100th birthday with verse for victims". Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e Justin McCurry in Tokyo (2011-01-26). "Japanese woman is bestselling poet – aged 99 | World news". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  3. ^ a b c d Oh, Hyun (2011-01-25). "Grandma next door poet a Japan bestseller at 99". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  4. ^ "John Lundberg: Toyo Shibata, Japanese Grandma, Is Bestselling Author At 99". 2011-01-30. Retrieved 2011-11-12.