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Harukichi Shimoi

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Died  1954
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Harukichi Shimoi (下位春吉 Shimoi Harukichi) (Fukuoka, October 20, 1883 – December, 1954) was a Japanese poet and writer.



Born Harukichi Inoue, he adopted the surname of his wife when they married in 1907. After finishing his studies in Japan, when he met and was influenced by Bin Ueda, Shimoi moved to Italy to study Dante. He consequently became a Japanese teacher at the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples.

In 1917, during World War I he enlisted in the Italian army, committed to fight against the Central Powers, and became an Ardito, teaching his fellow soldiers the art of karate.

Using his diplomatic passport that allowed him great freedom of movement, after the war Shimoi acted as a liaison for secret mails between Gabriele D'Annunzio, regent of Fiume and Benito Mussolini, at the time the head of the Italian Fasci di Combattimento and editor of Il Popolo d'Italia. Shimoi was, among other things, among those who first entered the Fiume Endevour of the Italian poet. D'Annunzio dubbed Shimoi "comrade Samurai" and "the Samurai of Fiume". Together they promoted and organized the legendary Rome-Tokyo flight performed by pioneer aviator Arturo Ferrarin.

Returning back to Naples in 1920, he founded the Japanese literature magazine Sakura, which will be published until March of the following year, for a total of five issues. In 1934 he served as an interpreter to the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano, while he was staying in Italy. The translated interviews given by Kano were a mainspring for the development of this discipline in Italy.

Returning to his homeland, Shimoi helped the Italian Embassy in Tokyo stop the activities pro-Ethiopia of the Japanese right associations during the war in Ethiopia. Shimoi was one of the best known Japanese supporters of fascism, seeing the analogy between the fascist principles and the values typical of the Japanese culture, in particular the Bushido. He argued that fascism was a natural consequence of the risorgimento, and that his role was to be a "spiritual movement" that would make Italians united in their nation. Supporter of Italian fascism, Shimoi never became a fascist within Japan, considering the movement as a purely Italian cultural phenomenon.

After the second World War Shimoi met and became a friend with Indro Montanelli, who arrived in Japan to work on a series of reportages. Shimoi became his guide around the country.

Literary work

Shimoi translated numerous works from Japanese to Italian and vice versa. Translated from the Japanese among others poets Akiko Yosano and Matsuo Basho, while among Italians authors he translated are included D'Annunzio and Dante. Shimoi even promoted in 1920 even the construction of a temple dedicated to him in Tokyo. Some of his work comprehend Shinto Ponpeo or tou tame ni (1926), dedicated to the ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii and The Italian war seen by a Japanese (1919).


Harukichi Shimoi Wikipedia

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