Kubota Mantaro


Kubota Mantaro 久保田万太郎
Mantarō Kubota, Kubota Mantaroo

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Kubota Mantarō, 11 November 1889 - 6 May 1963)
was a Japanese author, playwright and Japanese poet.

He hardly used a haiku, poets name, but in his very early times he used

傘雨 San-U
暮雨 Bo-U

Kubota was born in the plebian Asakusa district of Tokyo, to a clothing merchant family. He became interested in stage plays at an early age, largely through the influence of his grandmother, who also provided financial support for him to attend college. While still a student at Keio University in 1911, he made his literary debut with the short novel Asagao ("Morning Glory", 朝顔) and a stage play Yugi ("Game", 末枯), both of which appeared in the university's journal. Starting from 1919, Kubota taught courses in literature at Keio University.

He went on to write many full-length novels, including Tsuyushiba ("Dew on the Grass"), and Shundei ("Spring Thaw"), which depicted the joys and sorrows and traditional lifestyle of ordinary people in working-class neighborhoods in old pre-war Tokyo.

In the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, his home in the Nippori district of Tokyo burned down, and he relocated to nearby Tabuchi, where he made the acquaintance of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.
In 1926, along with the novelist Masao Kume, he joined the Tokyo Central Broadcasting Station (now NHK), and later headed the drama and music department. He greatly contributed to the development of radio broadcast drama in its early stages.

In 1937, together with Kunio Kishida and Toyoo Iwata, Kubota created the Bungakuza theater company and became a leading figure in the modern theater circles in Japan.

Kubota lived in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture from 1945-1955. He first moved there when an air raid destroyed his Tokyo home. During those ten years, he made the acquaintance with many of the Kamakura literati as chairman of the Kamakura P.E.N. Club.

In the field of haiku poetry, Kubota came to edit the haiku magazine, Shunto. Although haiku remained merely a hobby, as he was more interested in novels and plays, Kubota published several haiku collections.

Kubota died on 6 May 1963 at the age of 73, of food poisoning, after eating an akagai clam at a party held by Ryuzaburo Umehara.
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"Haiku is concerned with nature and humans."
Kubota Mantaro


Mantaroo Ki 万太郎忌 (まんたろうき)
Mantaro Memorial Day

San-u Ki 傘雨忌(さんうき)

kigo for early summer

Memorial Days of Famous People

ajisai no iro ni wa tooshi San-U no Ki

Suzuki Masajo 鈴木真砂女


梅雨明けや さて 女坂 男坂
tsuyu ake ya sate onnna-saka otoko-saka

end of the rainy season -
well, the slope for women
the slope for men

Women's slope (onna-zaka) 女坂

omou sama futte agarishi matsuri kana

as it goes ...
a bit of rain, a bit of shine
the festival

Festival (matsuri 祭り)

kakibune ni mochikomu wakarebanashi kana

talk of separation -
brought all the way to the
oyster ship

Oyster (kaki 牡蠣)

yudoofu ya inochi no hate no usuakari

hot tofu -
at the end of my days,
a faint light

Kubota lost his first wife and his son commited suicide.
Hot tofu (yudoofu 湯豆腐)

hookoo ni yuku darekare ya bai mawashi

someone is leaving
to become an apprentice -
spinning tops

Autumn games and kigo

Yoshiwara no aru hi tsuyukeki tonbo kana
in Yoshiwara
all wet with dew
a dragonfly

Yoshiwara, pleasure quarters of Old Edo


ishikeri no ko ni michi kiku ya Ichiyoo ki
asking the way
from children kicking stones -
Ichiyo memorial day

. . Ichiyoo Ki 一葉忌 (いちようき)
Memorial day of Higuchi Ichiyo


sabishisa wa tsumiki asobi ni tsumoru yuki

this feeling of loneliness -
he plays with his building blocks
as the snow heaps up

He wrote this for his son, who was jsut 3 years old and always playing alone.

. Emotions used in haiku


pan ni bata tappuri tsukete haru oshimu

bread with
a lot of butter ...
lamenting spring

. Bread and Haiku .  


murasaki no sama de kokarazu hana ayame

purple just like that
and not too strong -
this iris

Iris (ayame, shoobu, kakitsubata, airisu)

All haiku translated by Gabi Greve

. Kubota Mantaro, translated by Gabi Greve  


Japanese Reference

久保田万太郎 ( くぼたまんたろう ).

Related words

***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 


1 comment:

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