Tanaka had unwanted sexual experiences in his teens. He turned to creativity to tell his story and to help himself - and others - heal.

photo of Tanaka speaking


Poet, performer, playwright, activist.

Tanaka Mhishi is a poet, playwright, survivor and performer who makes issue based work.

With a record of creating pieces that handle 'tricky' topics like sexual violence, masculinity, biphobia, and race, he takes a bespoke, whole community approach; helping audiences have vital, difficult conversations one piece of art at a time.

Tanaka works as a facilitator with several organisations on issues surrounding consent and sexual violence, with a particular interest in how we can bring creativity to these complex subjects.

He has run consent and intersectionality workshops for young people of all ages, from top 20 universities to secondary schools and colleges. He appears regularly in How to be Good in Bed,  the consent and relationships panel show from the Consent Collective where he is poet-in-residence. Currently, he is facilitating On Road Media’s peer support network for young people from migrant backgrounds who are engaging with the media. 

He currently teaches part-time at the University of Brighton, where he specializes in supporting students as they develop writing on sensitive issues. He collaborates with other writers and theatremakers as a script consultant and dramaturg. 

Tanaka has also been involved with 1in6.uk creating films that tackle complicated subject matter for survivors, including self-harm and sleep. He also featured in a 1in6uk commissioned film in conversation with another survivor, playwright and trustee of Mankind, Patrick Sandford.

Tanaka is also involved as an advocate of the Brave Movement and recently recorded – with others – a film to demand that leaders of the G7 summit put childhood sexual abuse on the agenda at the recent summit.