Takizawa Bakin

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  • Born: 1767/6/9
  • Died: 1848/11/6
  • Other Names: 曲亭馬琴 (Kyokutei Bakin), 興邦 (Okikuni)
  • Japanese: 滝沢馬琴 (Takizawa Bakin)

Takizawa Bakin was a prominent writer of Edo period fiction. His most popular works include Nansô satomi hakkenden (1814-1842), and Chinsetsu yumihari tsuki (1807-1811, a tale of Minamoto no Tametomo).[1]

Bakin was born on 1767/6/9 in the Edo mansion of hatamoto Matsudaira Nobunari; he was the fifth son of a low-ranking yônin official who served under Nobunari. His father died when Bakin was nine years old, in 1775. He remained in the Matsudaira house for a time, as a playmate to Nobunari's grandchildren, but left the house in 1780 at the age of 14, taking up a residence in the Edo neighborhood of Monzen-nakachô. Ten years later, in 1790, he became a student of the author Santô Kyôden, publishing his first kibyôshi novel, Tsukaihotashite nibu kyôgen the following year under the name Taiei Sanjin.

He continued writing in a number of genres, primarily yomihon novels, until his eyes grew bad in the 1830s, after which he continued to compose novels, dictating them to scribes or by other methods. According to some counts, he may have authored as many as 470 works.

One of his many famous and significant works was the first widely distributed Japanese-language version of the Suikoden, published serially from 1805 to 1835, with illustrations by Katsushika Hokusai.

He kept an extensive diary, which has been transcribed and published several times.[2]


  • Plaque on site at Birthplace of Takizawa Bakin, 1-7 Hirano, Kôtô-ku, Tokyo.[1]
  1. William Fleming, “The World Beyond the Walls: Morishima Chūryō (1756-1810) and the Development of Late Edo Fiction,” PhD dissertation, Harvard University (2011), 96.
  2. Shibata Mitsuhiko 柴田光彦 (ed.), Kyokutei Bakin nikki 曲亭馬琴日記, four volumes, Tokyo: Chuo koron shinsha (2009).