Mi’te Press is the publisher of Mi’Te, a Japanese-language journal of poetry and literary criticism dedicated to the anarchic spirit of experimentalism and multiculturalism. First issued in June 1998, Mi’Te has maintained a steady stream of publication, albeit with several form changes along the way. Over 100 past issues exist.
Mi’Te is a serial journal. This format allows the writers to follow a set theme, with the emphasis firmly set on continuity. While the initial seven journals were issued quarterly, journals #8 to #100 came out monthly, with a return to quarterly publication thereafter. The magazine has had a variety of serial writers, with the current crew consisting of Inan Oener, Kimie Maeda, Kenji Kitano, Yoshizumi Higuchi, Jeffrey Angles, Goro Takano, and Takako Arai.
Inan Oener translates mainly Turkish poetry from the tempestuous 50s and 60s, using a vivid Japanese style which follows the original Turkish language rhythm. Kimie Maeda’s translations are of Ahmad Shamlu, Iranian poet and candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Maeda maintains the fine subtleties and condensed nature of the original.
Kenji Kitano’s field is art and picture criticism, written in a unique, casually fragmented style. Yoshizumi Higuchi presents reviews of Nobuo Ayukawa, renowned as a prominent contemporary poet. Reexamining Ayukawa’s main ideologies regarding the Cold and post-World War II periods, Higuchi’s reviews provide stimulating insight for the modern era.
Although he is not a native speaker of Japanese, Jeffrey Angles has been writing poetry in Japanese for some time. Drawing upon his experiences traveling back and forth between his native America and Japan, he writes poetry that is rich with thought and speculation. Goro Takano usually writes poetry in English only mainly to dismantle/reconstruct his (Japanese) self as a poet, as well as to show his works even to as many non-Japanese readers as he can.
For long-standing editor Takako Arai, poetry presents a challenge to develop her own native language. Arai also writes the Sakutaro Hagiwara Memorandums, taking on modern and post-modern poetry and exploring the crossroads between standard Japanese and dialectal and novel variants.
Additionally, Mi’Te seeks poem contributions from a variety of guests in each edition. While the pages may be physically small, ample room is made to accommodate poetry. Mi’Te will continue to develop exciting forms of poetry, incorporate a variety of elements, and maintain accord with the times.
One particular characteristic of Mi’Te that cannot be overlooked is its simple state: a mere collection of A4 paper folded in half. No staples, no glue – this basic form of binding acts as the base for continuation. It is not the form, but the ceaseless effort of the writers that keeps this journal’s pages tied together.
Previous editions have featured poetry and report serials from the likes of Sinan Oener, Wataru Miki, Shigeru Matsui, Sadakazu Fujii, Kyong-Mi Park, Divna Trickovic, Yuji Takahashi and Ayako Sakawa. Mi’Te has also branched out into Kii’Te, a poetry recital, and Katat’Te, a poetic discourse event.
Mi’Te Press is of course held together by the personal relationships that exist between its contemporaries. Among its peers within the Japanese poetry publishing world, Mi’Te Press stands out as one of the most steadfast and long standing, continuing to enthrall its readers through a variety of designs.
Boasting its international network as a significant strength, Mi’Te Press participated in the Tokyo Poetry Festival 2008 & 2011, an international poetry exhibit. Mi'Te Press worked to invite poets from Turkey, America and Australia.
Keep an eye out for future developments.
Translated by Benjamin Robinson
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