William Maxwell Bickerton: A NZ Footnote to the History of Haiku in English

By Sandra Simpson


In June 2019 while reading  On Haiku by Hiroko Sato (New Directions, 2018), I came across a brief text mention and footnote for New Zealander William Maxwell (Max) Bickerton who Sato mentioned as one of the few other English-language translators to write haiku in a single line.

Ne narande to yudachi no hyogai kana

Lying in a row, they discuss the distant shower

Issa, tr Max Bickerton 1

Translator’s note: It is summer. The peasants are lying down inside during the midday heat. They hear the distant thunder and discuss together how far away it is, whether it is coming their way, etc. There is a flavour in the use of the word “hyogai” meaning “conference” or deliberation”. For the reason that [Issa] had worked in the fields himself as a child, he knew every detail of farm life. No other Japanese poet wrote so many and such intimate poems about the peasants.

I had never heard of Max Bickerton so my interest was piqued and I turned to the internet to try and find out more. Pickings are relatively slim but one or two people have done some good research and he crops up in the lives of others, such as the English writer William Empson and his South African wife Hetta (later Sir William and Hetta, Lady Empson), and the New Zealand educator in China, Rewi Alley.

Bickerton’s primary work related to haiku – Issa’s Life and Poetry (Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, 1932) – is available online. In this lengthy article, Bickerton has translated 149 haiku by Issa, perhaps the first mass translation of this poet’s work into English. The claim to who translated Issa first is probably a tie as Miyamori Asataro translated into English one of Issa’s haiku, also published in 1932. 2

“He must have had an innate linguistic talent. In short order, he translated Issa and the brilliant but short-lived female writer Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896),” Sato notes in a 2016 Japan Times article about Bickerton (the article’s focus was his later imprisonment and beating in Japan, which we’ll come to). 3

Who was William Maxwell Bickerton?

He was born on July 2, 1901 in the Federative Home commune, started by his grandfather in 1896 and based on Socialist beliefs, at Wainoni, an eastern suburb of Christchurch. His father, William Henry Bickerton, was a professional photographer (although described in British documents in the 1940s as an inventor) but, sadly, his mother, Elizabeth died in 1906. In an essay published in the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies in 2014, 4 Fujio Kano and Maurice Ward say that despite his mother’s death – and his father remarrying three times –  Bickerton’s childhood was a happy one.

See a family tree here.

Saotome ya! Ko no naku ho e uete yuku

See that peasant! She plants towards her crying child

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: Dr Wainright [likely Reverend S H Wainright, DD, president of the Asiatic Society of Japan 1930-31] considers this as perhaps the greatest poem in the Japanese language. It is a scene of the busy transplanting of the young rice plants. Many peasants are working together, but among them is one young mother who has laid her baby down in the grass path between the rice-fields. She is too busy to stop and attend to it, but her anxiety is expressed in the row she has planted, which has become crooked. Off-setting [Issa’s] many poems against step-mothers, there are many like this one about true mother love.  


Inscribed: To Reo [Fortune], in the faith, WMB. Tokyo, September 1924. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library

After attending New Brighton School and Christchurch Boys’ High School, Bickerton studied in the Faculty of Arts, Victoria College, Wellington. Here, he was secretary of a left-wing debating group and active in the movement against the military training of students.

Bickerton’s left-wing ideology was influenced by his  grandfather, Alexander William Bickerton, ‘an eccentric anarchist and a friend of Chropotokin’, according to Kano and Ward. Emigrating to New Zealand in 1874, the older Bickerton was founding professor of Chemistry at Canterbury College where he taught and mentored Ernest Rutherford, later a Nobel prize winner. 5

In 1902 Alexander Bickerton dissolved his commune, which had been home to about 30 people, and turned the property, for a few years, into a pleasure park that included a zoo, glasshouses, Punch and Judy show (later in China Max Bickerton would be involved with expat puppet shows), a merry-go-round, a working mechanical model of the universe, and clowns. But the main event was Alexander Bickerton’s pyrotechnic displays, which drew crowds of thousands. He would stage mock naval battles, involving carefully-timed fireworks and dramatic aerial rescues of sailors. For the grand finale, an explosive of his own invention called ‘Splittite’ was thrown into his artificial lake like a grenade, sending up a spout of water some 15m into the air. Bickerton called it the ‘Wainoni Geyser’. 6

Alexander Bickerton died in 1929 aged 87, holding the title of Professor Emeritus of Canterbury College. Bickerton Street in Wainoni is named after him.

Nadeshiko ni nimon ga mizu wo abisikeri

I’ve used a ha’p’orth worth of water on this pink

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: This too expresses the countryman’s disgust at the commercialism of the city. Again, the pink is a treasured potted plant but though today with city water supply it is literally true water costs money, with Issa it is hyperbole, as I imagine wells were free. Who cannot recall having seen, even in Tokyo’s slum districts, men pottering over their precious plants?

Bickerton graduated in 1923 from Victoria College with an MA, described by Tim Beaglehole in the biography of his father, as “sceptical of all accepted dogmas and an unshakable atheist”. 7

He taught at a secondary school in Wairoa (called the “Maori territories” by many of his English contemporaries who wrote about him) for a year and during this time became engaged to a local woman, although he never married – later, in China, he was open about his homosexuality.

Japan, 1924-1934

Ready for change – and perhaps wanting to live true to his nature which may well have been difficult in a New Zealand where everybody knew everybody else and homosexuality was illegal and carried severe penalties, including life imprisonment – Bickerton contacted Rewi Alley, the older brother of a high school classmate, who helped him find a teaching position in Japan. Bickerton arrived in Yokohama in August 1924 and, as far as I am aware, never returned to New Zealand, although stayed in touch with his family here.

In Bickerton’s obituary, 8 Sir Herbert Vere Redman wrote that from the outset Bickerton plunged into Japanese life and studied the language, while at the same time teaching, for the entire 10 years of his stay. Bickerton became fluent in the Japanese language and immersed himself in literature and culture, such as ikebana, tea ceremony, and Noh theatre.

Yoshishige Kozai wrote about his friendship with Bickerton in his article Max Bickerton Kaisō (Memory of Max Bickerton), published in the Japanese Communist magazine Bunka Hyōron (Culture Review) in 1967. One of Bickerton’s closest friends in Japan, Kozai wrote 9

“A few days later [in 1931], I was introduced to Bickerton … at [his] lodging, which was above a sake shop near Surugadai. Bickerton was a handsome man with fair skin who had a sense of humour and wit. He was the same age as me. From the moment we met, there was a sense of instant rapport between us. I was also very impressed by his fluency in Japanese. We talked about American proletarian authors, such as John Reed and Michael Gold. There were copies of the journal Senki piled up in the corner of his room. A few days later I visited Bickerton’s apartment alone. He told me that he had donated money several times to Senkisha [publisher of the journal Senki] anonymously and asked me what else he could do for the activities. I was impressed with his knowledge of Japanese literature. He read the classics, including work of the haiku poet Issa Kobayasi, and proletarian authors, such as Takiji Kobayashi, Yuriko Miyamoto, and Sunao Tokunaga.”

Yugao no hana de hanate kamu o-baba kana

The old woman wipes her nose with a moon-flower

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: [Issa’s] coarseness too, which did not lessen with the years, was part of his peasant heritage. We have already had examples of the coarse type of bathos he delighted in, and some of his glee in spoiling some prized poetic phrase by juxtaposing something very prosaic.

Already well-versed in Socialism, thanks to his grandfather, Bickerton became interested in Japanese left-wing activities and started mixing with young activists, some of whom were his students, as well as translating Japanese proletarian literature into English.

On a sabbatical from June to October 1933, Bickerton went to London via Moscow and Berlin. In London, he gave the English Communist Party articles from the Japanese left-wing journal Senki (Battle Flag) that he’d translated into English, and packed European Communist journals to take back to Japan. He also took manuscripts of his translations of Japanese proletarian stories to a London agent and The Cannery Boat by Takiji Kobayashi and other Japanese Short Stories was published in 1934. 10

Harusame ya! Nezumi no nameru Sumidagawa

Spring rain! A rat licking at the Sumida

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: Here you get the great big river, dirty with garbage no doubt, even in Edo days, and a close-up of a rat on some stones near the water’s edge nibbling at something. The “nameru” [lick] is, I suppose, the poet’s imagination. A monotone – grey rain, grey river, grey rat – but the dynamic element is the scale contrast.

His left-wing activities had come to the attention of the authorities and Bickerton was arrested in Tokyo on March 13, 1934. After 24 days of questioning, which included beatings with a baseball bat, and detention in a “small, filthy cell”, he was allowed bail. 11 He was the first non-Japanese charged under the Peace Preservation Law of 1925, aimed at controlling Communists and anarchists. Bickerton wrote his own account of the detention and beatings.

A newspaper report of 1935 12 records that Bickerton was charged with having financially aided Communists, of having applied for membership in the Japanese Communist party, and of having written and distributed propaganda. Bickerton later said he was arrested following the murder of a police spy by Communists. He admitted having Communist sympathies, but denied active participation.

Shinkoku no matsu wo itoname! Oroshiya-bune

Look to the pines of our godly land! The Oroshiya ships

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: Issa has several poems written after the visit of a Russian ship to Nagasaki. This is one. “Oroshiya” was the old name for Russia. Nippon’s pines are a symbol of her defences. In the first 12 syllables, he warns his people, in the last five, he gives the reason for the warning. 

Police constantly questioned – and beat – Bickerton over the 24 days but when they failed to obtain a confession, altered the charge to one of “harbouring dangerous thoughts”. In the meantime, questions were being asked in Britain’s House of Commons and the British Consul in Japan was actively working for Bickerton’s release.

Released on bail, Bickerton “escaped” on June 8, 1934 on the steamer Empress of Japan, apparently aided by William Empson who was living in Tokyo, also homosexual and also working as a teacher – and who left Japan a few weeks after Bickerton, possibly because of his role in Bickerton’s escape. Bickerton said on his return to London that it was apparent the police wished him to escape, as he boarded the ship almost openly. One report has him pretending to doze on a lounger until the ship was in international waters, whereupon Bickerton identified himself as a stowaway with the means to pay his passage.

Utsukushi ya! Shoji no ana no Ama-no-gawa

How beautiful! The Milky Way through a hole in the shoji

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

During his time in Japan, Bickerton sometimes left the country for a summer holiday, for instance in the summer of 1926 he was in Paris where he spent time with New Zealand-born anthropologist, and friend from Victoria days, Reo Fortune; Fortune’s fellow anthropologist and lover Margaret Mead (who became his wife in 1928); and where they were joined for a short time by Mead’s lesbian lover Ruth Benedict. In the summer of 1930 Bickerton once again visited Fortune, this time in Nebraska where he and Mead were working. 13

Writing to Mead on June 16, 1934, Bickerton revealed that a 1930 letter from Benedict, received before he left the United States, had sealed his fate in Japan. He had kept the letter and when he was arrested it was the comment “Hope you have a happy week among the communists”, which was used as evidence to prove that he had been a committed Communist as early as 1930. 14

A 1941 British secret service file reveals that Bickerton was considered for ‘possible employment in the Far East’ but MI5 categorically rejected his suitability and ‘C.R.’ received information from a ‘highly delicate source’ that between his release and escape from Japan Bickerton ‘was definitely taken on by the Comintern [Communist International organisation] at a monthly stipend for secret work’. 15

China and Hong Kong, 1938-1952

After his arrival in London Bickerton found a job managing three book shops run by the English Communist Party, but in 1938 went to China to assist Rewi Alley. 16 However, in 1941, at the time of Hong Kong’s fall to the Japanese, he was on the staff of the Colonial Secretariat Staff and on the Stanley Camp lists was recorded as ‘teacher/interpreter LOGHACSS’ (List of Government House and Colonial Secretariat Staff). 17

American writer Emily Hahn writes of the fall of Hong Kong: 18 “One of the results of the surrender was that there was a rush on the part of the leftists, Hilda’s friends [Hilda Selwyn-Clarke, the wife of the Colony’s Director of Medical Services, a well-known ‘leftist’], to save their skins. I suppose I had better not use names. Except for Jim Bertram [a New Zealander], who simply enlisted with the Volunteers and fought, and was captured, and in general behaved well and Max Bickerton, who did his job too and made no attempt to get away, the leftists behaved in a way that made me slightly sick. One after another they came up to [the Queen Mary] hospital with plans for getting into disguise … and shaking with terror. Each one seemed to feel that the Japanese had waged this war with the sole intention of getting hold of him.”

Hana min to itoseba – “shita ni, shita ni” kana

Just bent on viewing cherry trees when – “on your knees, on your knees”

 Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: That is to say, some daimyo [lord] has come riding past and all the common people have had their pleasure interrupted to get down on their knees. There are several variations of this poem.

Hahn also notes in her book that Bickerton was at liberty after others had been interned “because he was connected with the Colonial Secretariat’s office, and this whole staff was being kept out [of Stanley Camp] until special quarters were ready for them”.

As a ‘civilian internee’, Bickerton acted as an interpreter at the Stanley Internment Camp, opened in January 1942 primarily for civilians and eventually holding about 2,300 men, women and children. 19

An internet search turned up this testimonial from an unnamed source. 20 “A letter from ‘One of the POWs’ published in the China Mail on June 8, 1948, expressed disappointment that ‘Official Interpreter’ Max Bickerton was not among those given an award for services in Stanley Camp.”

The writer goes on to say that Bickerton was the Japanese authorities’ preferred translator and as such was called on at all hours of day and night. He also translated Japanese newspapers for the internees, which is how they found out about the fall of Berlin.

“He wasn’t a ‘Hongkongite’ so got no parcels, accepted no favours from the Japanese for his work, and refused to use the black market. He had no shoes in camp either. I cannot help feeling that our safety was very much in his hands. He had to plead with the Japanese on our behalf time and again and risk being ‘slapped’.”

Aki-kaze ya! Mushiritagarishi akai hana

The autumn wind! And the crimson blooms she loved to pluck

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: A beautiful poem. I have been unable to identify these red flowers blooming at the end of July (old calendar) but I suspect they are keito, cockscomb. Issa probably found them growing wild near [his daughter’s] grave. The verb ‘mushiru’, ‘to pluck’, gives perfectly the wanton action of a child., especially if it does mean flaunting bright keito, which invite you to pluck them. Issa wrote other poems in which the keito is specially mentioned, one of which displays his genius at catching the very spirit of different flowers.

Ippon di aki hikukuru keito kana

A single stalk of cockscomb, holding itself responsible for all the autumn

 Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Daisy Sage, known as Day, was 36 and working as an auxiliary nurse in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded, and was eventually taken to Stanley Camp. She ‘looted’ an 8-ft by 7-ft bed sheet from a friend’s flat, obtained a sewing needle ‘from somewhere’, pulled some threads from the sheet and began embroidering to steady herself.

She managed to smuggle the sheet and needle into Stanley Camp and also got it out with her she was one of 11 nurses transferred to another camp. The sheet was eventually covered with 1100 names, signs, symbols and figures of those in the camp. Around the two vertical edges of the sheet is a patchwork of coloured material, taken from prisoners’ clothing and representing that person or an event. A terracotta piece ‘is’ Max Bickerton and closest to the red tie he wore, she said. 21

After the armistice on August 17, 1945 most civilian internees at Stanley camp remained there. The Japanese guards, who then kept to themselves, did not interfere with their liberty and supplied them with large quantities of food. At the end of August a British naval squadron arrived, and evacuation began. 22

Bickerton remained in Hong Kong before joining Rewi Alley in China to work for the Chinese Industrial Co-operation (CIC) in Shanghai. The CIC had been set up to support victims of the Sino-Japanese War and received aid from overseas countries, including sheep from New Zealand.

Jubako no zeni shigomon ya! Yushigure

Four or five coppers in his box! The evening drizzle

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: Bald in translation and balder still in the original. There is no syntax; there is very little syntax ever in haikai. But with an effort you can get a “perfectly rounded-off psychological representation”, and you do feel their misery. No Japanese cameraman has ever tried to film haikai, but such a haikai as this positively invites the camera. The absence of the beggar too, a usual device with Issa, is in line with modern cinematography where the focus would be on the box and at most the beggar’s knees would appear.

A February 1948 US newspaper article describes Bickerton as the acting executive secretary of Indusco, a series of industrial co-operatives scattered throughout China (at the time numbering 316) and one of Alley’s brainchilds. Bickerton was seeking donations, describing Indusco as “broke”. 23

In Beijing Bickerton re-encountered William Empson, now married to Hetta, with whom Max became close friends.

“Hetta’s foray into revolutionary theatre started with a Punch and Judy show,” Hetta’s son Jacob Empson wrote in his memoir of his parents’ unconventional marriage. 24 “It turned out Max had an accomplishment in puppetry, part of his background as an assistant in his father’s fairground in Christchurch, New Zealand.”

In a letter to friends dated December 27, 1949, Hetta laments that the show didn’t go over  well. “… some of the little ones were carried away screaming, and sad Mrs Kandel looked at me regretfully with her great cow eyes and said gloomily, ‘We thought it would be something jolly’… It was all a lot of crap because it was a lovely show. Max made the Doctor say to Punch, ‘I can’t waste my time on lower middle class cases like yours’ so Punch poked him in his lower middle until he was dead.”

One of their puppet shows, made to entertain the expatriate community, was Under the Shadow of the Bomb, which celebrated the victory of Communism and lampooned US General Douglas MacArthur and the ‘imperialists’. It so polarised one audience it ended in a punch-up, involving not only Bickerton but also Hetta’s husband, William Empson. 25

“Fune ga suite soro” – to hagu futon kana

“Sir, the boat is here” – and off come the bed clothes

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: At Hakkeiya, Osaka. This was the name of an inn in Osaka, evidently near the wharf from which some early morning boat starts. The subjective and objective clash very effectively.  The whole rhythm is quick.

Bickerton’s support for Communism remained as strong as ever and John Minford recalls, “Hetta, Max and I got to know them [missionaries John and Jean Stewart] when we were cycling round Peking in 1949 soliciting signatures for a telegram to be sent to the British Government urging them to recognize the newly established People’s Republic”. 26

But in 1952 Bickerton’s life in China was in turmoil – the Communists threw him out of his job at a Beijing university and out of his room on the campus, allegedly because of his homosexuality (a crime in the new People’s Republic of China that could result in being sent to prison or receiving ‘treatment’). Rewi Alley biographer Anne-Marie Brady offers some background: 27 “Former CIC worker Max Bickerton, who took up a job teaching English at Peking University, was asked to leave China because of his homosexual activities. Yet a few other foreign gay men were allowed to stay on, perhaps because they were more discreet than Bickerton …. just before liberation, Alley called a meeting of men who were gay at Shandan, mostly Europeans, and told them to be a  little more circumspect because, he said, the Red Army was very puritanical about sex.”

And this from Foreigners and Foreign Institutions in Republican China: 28 “According to Peter Townsend, who worked with him in the 1940s, Bickerton was very blatant about his sexual preferences; he would go out in the evenings dressed up in lipstick and makeup and boast to [a female co-worker] about his sexual exploits.”

His expulsion from the university might not be as precipitous as it appears, for in a letter dated October 2, 1951 Hetta Empson wrote to English friends in China that “Max was canned [sic, caned] for an obscure reason out of his past which we hope will be cleared up in time. Meanwhile he is living in No. 3 and knitting gloves waiting for an answer from the Min. of Education. He was rather sad but is bearing up now.” 29 Was the caning an un-ignorable warning regarding his sexual activities?

Empson biographer John Haffenden 30 notes that when the Communists threw Bickerton out of his job and accommodation, Hetta was the only person in the foreign community who stepped in to house and feed him.

Ariaka ya! Asama no kiri ga zen wo hau

Dawn! Asama’s mist crawls up on the tray

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: The tray is his breakfast tray as he sits before it in some inn, looking at the volcano [Mt Asama]. He is to make an early start and the clearing, trailing mist comes in through the window right up to him. Such daring personification as ‘crawl’ is one of Issa’s characteristics. The montage is [a] contrast of the homely foot-square tray and the wraith-like limitless mist.

London, 1952-1966

Jacob Empson writes 31 that Bickerton raised the fare for his passage from Beijing to London by selling his Phillips bicycle. However, it was only enough for steerage between Hanoi and Marseille, a class he shared with demoralised French Foreign Legionnaires returning to Europe after defeat in Vietnam. “They were all seasick for much of the time, so Max was in charge of the food and wine, lowered down to them from the decks above [he also managed to infiltrate the upper decks for some decent food]. Max had a long history of seducing the military. In China he had been famous for persisting with his reckless seduction of soldiery even after the decadent KMT were replaced by the straitlaced PLA.” Perhaps this is another clue to the reason for his caning and subsequent job loss.

Back in London Bickerton started a private English-language school, later teaching at Holborn College, all the while maintaining his study of Japan and China with university courses. Living in Studio House, Hampstead, owned by the Empsons, and home to a number of lodgers, Bickerton died there from a heart attack on November 20, 1966. The Empsons made his funeral arrangements.

Ie no susu haku mane wo shite okinikeri

Making a gesture of sweeping the cobwebs, I leave it at that

Issa, tr Max Bickerton

Translator’s note: When not living with friends, Issa seems to have rented cottages … and kept them as untidy as bachelors usually do. Countless poems testify to his carelessness, not to say sloth.

“We see then a man serving in an unspectacular way the purposes to which our Society is dedicated,” Vere Redman wrote in his obituary for Bickerton published in the journal of The Japan Society of London. “But his service was always subjected to the limitations imposed by his scrupulously critical assessment of his capacities and his horror at any form of exploitation, this last the product to some extent of Marxian idealism under the influence of which he came during his stay in Japan.

“Few scholars are disposed to exploit their fellow men in the accepted economic sense of the word. Max Bickerton went further than that; he was always consciously anxious not to exploit his learning. He felt – mistakenly, I believe – that he had no important contribution to make to oriental studies and that led him to avoid what he regarded as ‘facile exposition of the second-rate’. His was an exacting scholastic conscience. But it bears the hallmark of an integrity almost frightening to many of us.”


1: All haiku are from Issa’s Life and Poetry by W M Bickerton (Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, 1932). Accessed June 26, 2019.

2: katatsuburi sorosoro nobore fuji no yama

A simple snail making its way up … the tallest mountain in Japan!

Issa, tr Asataro Miyamori

From the Anthology of Haiku, Ancient and Modern (Maruzen, 1932). Information supplied by David Lanoue in an email to the author, June 29, 2019.

3: Undergoing the third degree in prewar Japan by Hiroaki Sato, The Japan Times, Feb 26, 2016. Accessed June 24, 2019.

4: From Socialism is a Mission: Max Bickerton’s involvement with the Japanese Communist Party and translation of Japanese proletarian literature in the 1930s by Fujio Kano & Maurice Ward (New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 16, 2 December 2014). Accessed June 24, 2019.

5: Ibid.

6: Professor Alexander William Bickerton by Petrus van der Velden, Christchurch Art Gallery. Accessed June 29, 2019.

7: A Life of J. C. Beaglehole: New Zealand Scholar by Tim Beaglehole (Victoria University Press, 2006). Accessed June 29, 2019.

8: Obituary: William Maxwell Bickerton (The Japan Society of London, Bulletin 51, Feb 1967). Accessed June 28, 2019.

9: Socialism is a Mission.

10: Ibid.

11: Ibid.

12: The Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, Feb 23, 1935. Accessed June 24, 2019.

13: Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Their Circle by Lois W. Banner (Knopf Doubleday, 2010). Each time Banner mentions Bickerton she describes him as “Reo’s homosexual friend”.

14: The Sorcerers’ Apprentice: A Life of Reo Franklin Fortune, Anthropologist by Caroline Thomas (PhD Thesis, University of Waikato, 2011).

15: Japanese Translator Heroes: Max Bickerton, a March 15, 2013 post by Morgan Giles on her website All Wrongs Reversed. Accessed June 27, 2019. Includes his own account of his arrest and escape from Japan.

16: Socialism is a Mission.

17: Hong Kong War Diary website. Accessed June 20, 2019.

18: The Early Years: China to Me by Emily Hahn (Open Road Media, 2018). Accessed June 29, 2019.

19: Obituary / Hong War Diary website. Accessed June 28, 2019.

20: Comment posted to the website Gwulo: Old Hong Kong. Accessed June 29, 2019.

21: Cultural Heritage and Prisoners of War: Creativity Behind Barbed Wire, edited by Gilly Carr and Harold Mytum (Taylor & Francis, 2012).

22: Prisoners of War by W Wynne Mason (Historical Publications Branch, 1954). Information from Chapter 12. Accessed June 30, 2019 (NZETC).

23: Newark Advocate Newspaper Archives. Accessed June 30, 2019.

24: Hetta and William: A Memoir of a Bohemian Marriage by Jacob Empson (AuthorHouse, 2012). Accessed June 29, 2019.

25: Review of A Birthday Book for Brother Stone: for David Hawkes, at Eighty, editors Rachel May and John Minford (The Chinese University Press, 2003). Accessed June 29, 2019.

26: Style, Wit and Word-Play: Essays in Translation Studies in Memory of David Hawkes, edited by Tao Tao Liu, Laurence K. P. Wong and Chan Sin-wai (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012). Accessed June 28, 2019.

27: West Meets East: Rewi Alley and Changing Attitudes towards Homosexuality in China  by Anne-Marie Brady (Journal of East Asian History, number 9, June 1995). Accessed June 25, 2019.

28: Foreigners and Foreign Institutions in Republican China, edited by Anne-Marie Brady and Douglas Brown (Routledge, 2013). Accessed June 25, 2019.

29: Correspondence and other papers of Sir William Empson (1906-1984) and Hetta, Lady Empson, (1915-1996). Index accessed June 28, 2019. Digital view of relevant passage supplied by the University of Sheffield by email to the author, June 29, 2019.

30: William Empson, Volume II : Against the Christians by John Haffenden (Oxford University Press, 2006). Accessed June 25, 2019.

31: Hetta and William: A Memoir of a Bohemian Marriage. Accessed June 28, 2019.

Editor’s note: Sandra Simpson lives and works in Tauranga. She is editor of Haiku NewZ, Red Moon Anthology editor for the South Pacific and Africa, secretary of the Katikati Haiku Pathway committee and co-editor of number eight wire (2019), the fourth NZ haiku anthology.

She blogs about haiku at breath, the title of her first collection of work published in 2011.