An intellectual with profoundly creative vicissitudes, the literary arts soon were established in Takahama’s heart as a deeply rooted passion. In his early adulthood, Takahama, through an acquaintance, met the Japanese literary giant Masaoka Shiki, who would become his friend and literary mentor. Seemingly heated by the ardent objective of a career in letters, in a fit of audacity and restlessness, Takahama – dutifully ignoring Shiki’s advice – quit school in 1894, to pursue his dream to study Edo period Japanese literature in Tokyo.
The following year, Takahama took a seat at Waseda University – then called Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō – but soon, as his prestige and pursuits prospered, he abandoned it to take up a position as editor and literary critic in Nihonjin magazine. In 1898, at the age of only 24, he took over the board of the literary magazine Hototogisu, previously edited by Shiki, and moved the office from Matsuyama to Tokyo, establishing a new chapter to the enterprise.
At first, he took a modernist approach to haiku, developing a brave and fearless trend of experimentalism, whose main characteristic was the irregular number of syllables. Unexpectedly, in taking over the editorial command of the literary magazine Hototogisu, he curiously adopted a more conservative approach to haiku, rejecting the form established by a literary school known as Hekigo, which did not follow the pattern of seventeen syllables. In addition, he began to emphasize "kigo" (a word referring to some season of the year), and did his best to completely exclude the more modern tendency of non-seasonal haiku.
Bearing an exceedingly creative and restless mind, Takahama had a rich and eventful life, as well as an extraordinary career in letters and a lasting impact on his country’s literary scene. It is speculated that Takahama wrote between 40,000 and 50,000 haiku in the course of his long, fruitful and productive career (although some sources openly say this number is vastly underrated). He also deeply encouraged his daughter – who had inherited her father’s literary talent – to start her own poetry magazine. In 1954, Takahama received the award of the Order of Culture from the Japanese government, in recognition of his distinguished work and contribution to Japanese literature. Posthumously, Takahama was bestowed by the Japanese government with the Order of the Sacred Treasury, 1st Class.
Extremely versatile as a writer, Takahama wrote in a number of genres: a prolific writer of haiku and short stories, he also wrote novels, dramas and essays. Envisioning some sort of artistic evolution in the literary field ahead of him, Takahama ambitioned the excellence of creativity perfectly combined with a strict and disciplined adherence to form, something he masterly accomplished during the course of his literary journey.
Takahama died 85 years old, in 8 April 1959, in Kamakura. Unfortunately, like most Japanese writers, he is little known in the western world.