Tag Archives: Japanese Love

Toyo Shibata – Japan’s bestselling poet at 99

A 99-year-old woman writing about love, dreams and hanging on to hope has touched the hearts of Japanese worn out by years of a lagging economy, propelling her self-published poetry book onto bestseller lists.

Toyo Shibata’s success with her first anthology, titled "Don’t be Too Frustrated," is all the more surprising because she only picked up her pen at the age of 92.

"I’m alive to this age thanks to support from my families, friends, care-givers and doctors and am transforming my gratitude into poetry to tell them, ‘Thank you. I’m really happy,’" said Shibata, who turns 100 in June, in written answers to questions.

Her collection of 42 poems, which include messages such as "Everyone is equally free to dream" and "Don’t try too hard," has been the most popular book on the closely-watched Oricon charts for the last two weeks and was one of the top 10 sellers for 2010, according to Touhan, one of Japan’s biggest publishers.

"Although 98, I still fall in love. I do have dreams; one like riding on a cloud," Shibata confesses in one poem with the title of "Secret."

Read the rest of the story: “Grandma next door” poet a Japan bestseller at 99.