Tanaka Kentaro

Tanaka Kentaro



Born in 1963 and raised up in Japan, a member of Japan Poets Club and PEN Japan.

Working in administration of the University of Toyama since April 2016, before having current position, officer in the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japanese Government. Mainly in charge of International affairs.

Speak Japanese (mother language) , English and French.

Interested in Fine Arts, Modern Art and Japanese craft works.

A tenor in some classical choir groups since 1996

Collected poems:

In Japanese :“Mancho-ji” (Time of high tide (1984)),“Hai-iro no Chichi” (The gray farther (1991)), “Shinkai-Tansaku-Tei (Deep-sea submersible (2007), and “Inu-Kugi” (Dog Spike (2013))

In English:“Giraffes at the Harbor” (2016)

In Spanish: “Sakura y otrospoemas” (2016)

Collected Essay in Japanese:

“TabiyukuHitogata (Travelling Human-shape 2017)

Participated in the XI Buenos Aires International Poetry Festival (2016)


Giraffes at the Harbor




Stand like a forest

At the harbor.


Height 50 meters.

Weight 30 tons.


Each one faces the water,

Along the carved-out contours of the shore.


Gantry cranes


Your bodies are hollow.

Seabirds and balloons escaping children’s hands

Fly through.


But the skeleton is your own nature.

Whatever the weight,

You raise the ships’ cargoes.


Painted in red and white


When no ships arrive

You giraffes of the harbor stand alone all day

Without exchanging a single word.


The real giraffes are

Blown by the wind from the savanna

And gaze at faraway places.

They don’t know about you giraffes of the harbor.

But if they could know that machines created only to be useful

Were shaped just like them,

They would feel proud.


Giraffes at the harbor

May not be giving it conscious thought,

But this morning, when they lifted a load that came from Africa,

They gripped the load with their voices pitched deeper than usual.





Sakura:  Cherry Blossoms



Trees planted along the road by young daddies

Became a tunnel of cherry blossoms.

“This is our new home!” they proclaimed.


Events of all kinds occurred in their families

Before the first flowers bloomed.


People race around completing task after task

During the brief period of flowering.


The pavement is littered with

All words spoken

During the time between

A petal’s falling from the branch and landing on the ground.


Sakura cake,

Sakura tea and

Sakura bread

All appear only in the spring season.


Children who were born

Since somebody first named this flower “sakura”

Until today

Are biting their nails,

Showing their lack of satisfaction.


No one looks up at cherry trees

Once their leaves appear,

But the trees are watching we human beings

Every moment without rest.





Bonsho:  Bells in a Buddhist Temple



The young doctor said to a man,

“I opened and closed your belly,

But there was nothing I could do.”

It was the patient himself who said,

“Don’t worry!” to the doctor,

Smiling and patting his white back.


Don’t count the errors you have made.

Let us throw to the sky

Our unforgettable hurts

Each time we hear a far bell ringing.


Bathing in the light splashing through the leaves,

After climbing a steep pilgrim road,

I clung to a megalith on the mountainside.


I will leave nothing behind in this world.

The least flow of life allowed to me,

I myself will dare to cut it off

As a tiny repayment

For my birth on this earth.


A mountain temple bell rings.

If yours be an incurable disease,

May the agony be less!

If yours be an irremediable pain,

May you forget it in an instant.


I woke up to the sound

Of my lover cooking.

If I could live even for one more second,

In that second I would find an infinite future.

A temple bell, sounding its prayer, echoes in the mountains.




If All Were Lost



If I lost everything,

I would paint the sky a yellow color.


Losing everything was no one’s fault.

No one stole a thing.


In the yellow-colored sky

I would paint a very large square in caramel color.


I would stand only seeing the hazy square,

The kind that Mark Rothko used to paint.

He knew sorrow more intimately than others.


I could not rescue anybody.

I could not save even one.




No one came to the rescue.

There was no salvation.

Life was not possible.

There was no awakening.

I had gone,

Without a word of farewell.


The hand—bereft of everything—

Grips a very large brush.


I would stand only seeing the hazy square

Floating in the sky.




The Ocean’s Memory



The ocean has no will of its own.

The ocean does not watch over human affairs.


It is too big to ask it for help.

It is too strong to cling to for support.


The ocean is Earth

The ocean is Universe.



Crowned with blessings,

We and our tiny lives

Are children of that ocean.


The ocean, when it is still,

Reflects the sky,

Retaining all its brilliance within itself.


The ocean, when on a rampage—

No one can stand up to such an ocean.

All we can do is make ourselves smaller still

And wait for dawn.


We call the ocean an entity to be feared and respected,

We humans, born to our stupidity.


We cannot record the ocean

Because it is already, in and of itself, a gigantesque memory.