Arai, Takako

Arai, Takako (c) Mizuho Fukahori

Takako Arai, born in 1966 in Kiryū, Japan, grew up in Gunma Prefecture, which was known for its textile production. Her family owned a weaving mill there. The lives of working women who were affected by globalization and economic decline are the main theme of her poems. They were translated into German for the first time for the 24th poesiefestival berlin. A selection of poems have been translated into American English by Jeffrey Angles and Sawako Nakayasu, among others: “Soul Dance” (Mi’Te Press 2008) and “Factory Girls” (Action Books 2019).

Festival Content

POETRY TALK: Takako Arai

Spitting Out Silk Forever

Clubraum 7/5€ | Tickets


In her work, Takako Arai (born in Kiryū, Japan, in 1966) explores Japan’s history in the age of globalization and neoliberalism. Some of her best-known poems depict the textile industry’s decline in Gunma Prefecture, where her father owned an old-fashioned weaving mill. The women workers employed at the mill form the core of her avant-garde, politically engaged poems. Arai is famous for her bold, sometimes disturbing imagery, which critics have described as “wormlike.” In her poems, she skillfully uses different registers, rewriting familiar children’s songs or writing in phonetically-transcribed dialect. Takako Arai will speak about her work and read poems translated especially for the event.


Arai, Takako


Night Of Poetry

Großes Parkett | 14/9€ inkl. Anthologie Tickets


Weltklang – Night of Poetry is poesiefestival berlin’s prismatic and panoramic opening. Poets will read, sing, and perform in their source languages, demonstrating the full spectrum of contemporary poetry: its power, its diversity of approaches and styles. Just for the event, an anthology will be published in German and English so that audience members can read along with the poems presented onstage.


Aftab, AroojArai, TakakoBarskova, PolinaBrolaski, Julian TalamantezFabias, RadnaKandasamy, MeenaKunial, Zaffar