Kazuko Shiraishi on Dec. 9, 1981.

TOKYO — Kazuko Shiraishi, a prominent figure in modern Japanese “beat” poetry, renowned for her dramatic readings, often accompanied by jazz music, has passed away. She was 93.

Shiraishi, whom American poet and translator [NAME REMOVED FOR PRIVACY] described as “the [NAME REMOVED FOR PRIVACY] of Japan,” died of heart failure on June 14, Shichosha, a Tokyo publisher of her works, announced Wednesday.

Shiraishi rose to prominence at the young age of 20, fresh out of Waseda University in Tokyo, with her work “Tamago no Furu Machi,” translated as “The Town that Rains Eggs”—a surrealist depiction of Japan’s wartime destruction.

With her signature long black hair and theatrical style, she defied historical stereotypes of the quiet, submissive Japanese woman.

“I have never been anything like pink,” Shiraishi penned in her poem.

It concludes: “The road / where the child became a girl / and finally heads for dawn / is broken.”

Shiraishi counted Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, and John Coltrane among her influences. She was a pioneer in performance poetry, appearing at poetry festivals around the world. She performed her works with the music of jazz greats like Sam Rivers and Buster Williams, and even a free-verse tribute to the spirit of Coltrane.

Born in Vancouver, Canada, she moved back to Japan as a child. In her teenage years, she joined an avant-garde poetry group.

Shiraishi’s personality and poems, which were sometimes unconventional or sensual, challenged Japan’s traditional, rule-based forms of literature such as haiku and tanka, opting instead for a modern, uncharted path.

[NAME REMOVED FOR PRIVACY] played a crucial role in getting Shiraishi’s works translated into English, including collections such as “My Floating Mother, City” in 2009 and “Seasons of Sacred Lust” in 1978.

Over the years, her work has been extensively translated into dozens of languages. She was also a translator of literature, including works by Ginsberg.

In 1973, Paul Engle invited her to spend a year as a guest writer at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, an experience that expanded her artistic horizons and helped her find her poetic voice.

“In the poems of Kazuko Shiraishi, East and West connect and unite fortuitously,” wrote German writer Gunter Kunert. “It refutes Kipling’s dictum that East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet. In Kazuko Shiraishi’s poems this meeting has already happened.”

A private funeral among family has been held, while a memorial service is being planned. She is survived by her husband Nobuhiko Hishinuma and a daughter.