“Takamura Kotaro: (1883-1956): Japanese poet and sculptor. Son of the noted traditionalist sculptor Takamura Koun (1852-1934), Takamura was a pioneering modernist in both art and literature, having spent years studying in Europe and the U.S. His sculpture reflected a passion for the work of Rodin, but his is best known as a poet. His 1914 collection Dotei (Journey) ranks as Japan’s first anthology of free verse in the colloquial language, anticipating the work of Hagiwara Sakutaro. Takamura’s most celebrated work is Chieko-sho (1941; tr Chieko’s Sky, 1978), a stunning verse record of the slow descent into madness of his wife, the painter Naganuma Chieko (1886-1838). Takamura’s reputation was tarnished by his unabashedly patriotic wartime poetry.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
“Protagonist: (Greek ‘first combatant’) The first actor in a play; thence the principal actor or character. In Greek tragedy the playwright was limited to the protagonist (first actor), deuteragonist (second actor) and tritagonist (third actor). It is probable that in the first place Greek drama consisted of a Chorus and the leader of the Chorus. Thespis (6th century BC) is believed to have added the first actor to give greater variety to the dialogue and action. The second and third were added by Aeschylus and Sophocles respectively. The protagonist has come to be the equivalent of the hero.”
Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.