Tawara Machi’s Bisymmetrical Self

How to Cite

Patzner, C. (2022). Tawara Machi’s Bisymmetrical Self. The Columbia Journal of Asia, 1(2), 52–57. https://doi.org/10.52214/cja.v1i2.10137


Tawara Machi is one of the most famous contemporary Japanese poets after the success of her collection of poetry titled Salad Anniversary. This collection of poetry utilized vivid imagery of everyday activities and revitalized the traditional Japanese tanka poetic form. While literary critics often view her poetry as anti-feminist writing that relies heavily on the “waiting woman” trope popularized by early tanka poetry, I argue that her work is multi-dimensional and expands on this trope. Although her writing involves more passive feminism than famous Japanese feminist poets such as Hiromi Itō, it should not be dismissed as docile or unprogressive. Critics also claim her poetry is flat and one note, likely due to its accessible language and short format. However, I believe that her poems are more layered than one might think and that critics should re-examine her work, despite its overwhelming mainstream popularity. In this short essay, I analyze a selection of Tawara’s poems from her collection Salad Anniversary and prove their duality and nuance.