Takeo Arishima (1878-1923) was born on March 4, 1878 to a wealthy family in Tokyo, Japan. He was a Japanese novelist, short-story writer and essayist during the late Meiji and Taishō periods. He was educated at a mission school in Yokohama, where he learned English. After an attempted suicide, Arishima became a Christian in 1901. After a mandatory stint in the Imperial Japanese Army, Arishima took English lessons from Mary Elkinton Nitobe, Inazo Nitobe's wife, and in July 1903, he obtained a position as a foreign correspondent in the United States for the Mainichi Shimbun. In the United States he enrolled at Haverford College and later Harvard University. After graduation, he briefly worked in an insane asylum operated by the Quaker sect. He recorded his experiences from his journey to America in his diary.
During his time in America, he became critical towards Christianity, attracted to socialism, and influenced by the works of writers such as Walt Whitman, Henrik Ibsen, and Peter Kropotkin. His time and experiences in America and subsequent year in Europe also profoundly influenced his writing style and his outlook on the world, resulting in feelings of alienation from Japanese society.
After he returned to Japan in 1907, he re-entered the army briefly before becoming an English and ethics teacher in 1909 at his alma mater. He died on June 9, 1923.