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This article is taken from PN Review 160, Volume 31 Number 2, November - December 2004.

C. Hatakeyama [Trans. W.E.] Peter Robinson

On 8 July 1934 William Empson left Tokyo on the NYK line Kashima Maru after spending three years working in Japan. While there, he had corresponded with a teacher at Hirosaki Girls' High School called Chiyoko Hatakeyama (1902-1982). In her early thirties, unmarried partly due to the misfortune of having lost her right arm at eight years old, she had developed an ambition to write poetry in English after studying Anglo-American Literature at Miyagi Jo Gakko, a women's college founded by American missionaries in Sendai. Empson had been asked to brush up her English and comment on the poems by Hiroshi Hirai, a friend of hers and a student of Empson's at Tokyo University. Hatakeyama and Empson had met, briefly, on 26 March 1934 at his home in Shirokane, Sankocho, Tokyo, and then in the Ginza and Ueno on the following day. After his departure from her country, Hatakeyama made efforts to keep in touch with the person she saw as her poetry teacher. `I have only read "Seven Types" by Mr. E', she notes in her diary for 15 May 1935. Given a doubtful address that came to her indirectly from Ralph Hodgson, then teaching at Tohoku University in Sendai, she decided to inquire of the Browning scholar, and old pupil of Edmund Blunden's, Tamotsu Sone in Tokyo - with whom she was not personally acquainted. The reply she records was hardly very illuminating:

Since Mr. E is a ghost I don't know where he ...

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