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1882 - 1945

Noguchi was born in Isohara, Ibaraki prefecture in 1882. In 1901 he entered Tokyo Senmon Gakko (now Waseda University), where he studied under novelist Tsubouchi Shoyo and became acquainted with Ogawa Mimei among others. He left Waseda one year later. He was influenced by Christianity and socialism as advocated by Uchimura Kanzo and Kotoku Shusui. He became acquainted with many poets and published his poetry. He also began writing fairy tales and short children's stories. In 1904 he returned home to take over the household after the death of his father. (He later lived in Karafuto (Sakhalin) and then Hokkaido, working as a newspaper reporter.) His first collection of poems, "Karekusa" [Dry Grass], was published in 1905, and in 1907 he began publishing a monthly pamphlet collection of folk songs, Asabana yobana [Morning Flowers, Evening Flowers]. In 1920 he was put in charge of the critique and selection of poems submitted by readers for children's songs column of Kin no fune [The Golden Ship, later Kin no hoshi (The Golden Star)]. In 1921, the song "Sendo kouta" [The Boatman's Ballad], put to music by Nakayama Shinpei, came out and became popular throughout the country. He started publishing lyrics for children's songs in the Kodomo no Kuni[Children's Land] and Kin no fune magazines. Together with Kitahara Hakushu and Saijo Yaso, he is said to have laid the foundations of modern Japanese children's songs. He produced many lyrics which, later put to music, were and still are widely sung, including "Nanatsu no ko" [The Crow's Seven Chicks], "Aoi me no ningyo" [Blue-eyed Dolls], "Akai kutsu" [Red Shoes], and "Shojoji no tanuki bayashi" [Raccoon Dogs Dancing at Shojoji Temple]. He contributed to Kodomo no kuni [Children's Land] from its inaugural issue in 1922 to the November issue in 1934.