Machi Tawara, Mount Fuji Tanka Calendar

by Mark McGuinness on 10 January, 2014

Detail from illustration of Mount Fuji as a soda can, with ring-pull and bubbles rising to the top

Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting Machi Tawara when she visited the UK to read at the Ledbury Festival.

She kindly gave us a copy of her latest book Mount Fuji Tanka Calendar – a collection of tanka for children and adults, with illustrations of Mount Fuji by U.G. Sato.

From the publisher’s website:

Twenty-four solar terms originally from Ancient China are still used in daily life Japan to signify the subtle changes of seasons. Mount Fuji, the spiritual home of the Japanese, is the motif of this story. See how its appearance changes along with the time of year! One tanka (a Japanese thirty-one syllable poem) filled with a feeling of stir accompanies twenty-four different Mount Fujis in fantastic illustrations.

It’s a gorgeous book, I hope the photos below do it justice.

Illustration of Mount Fuji as a table laid for dinner

Illustration of Mount Fuji with two kissing dinosaur skeletons inside (yes, really)

Illustration of Mount Fuji with a train made of ladybirds emerging from a tunnel

Illustration of Mount Fuji as a soda can, with ring-pull and bubbles rising to the top

Illustration of Mount Fuji as a chimney, with Santa climbing inside

Illustration of book cover: Mount Fuji covered in a beautiful carpet, unrolled to reveal the top

If only I could read the poems… another incentive to accelerate my Japanese studies.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan Summers June 22, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Wonderful illustrations! Even though it was many years after being a haiku poet that I started to write tanka, and teach it, Machi Tawara’s Salad Anniversary in Japanese and English translation by Jack Stamm, influenced my haiku very much.

I can’t believe I forgot his family name, as Joan Stamm regularly attends haiku conferences, and Jack Stamm helped create Queensland’s paper wasp haiku group! 🙂

warm regards,


Mark McGuinness July 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Thanks Alan, and great to meet you in person the other day.


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