Mizuta Masahide


Mizuta Masahide 水田 正秀(みずた まさひで)


His grave in Otsu Town at the
Graveyard for Haiku Poets

© yamasiro-m
LINK with more grave photos.


The following was compiled by Larry Bole

Seishuu, also Masahide (1657-1723). Surname Mizuta.
Born at Zeze in Oomi, he is variously described as having been a samurai or a merchant and later a physician. While young, he practiced waka. He had the Nameless Hermitage (Mumyooan 無名庵) made for Basho to stay at Gichuu Temple (or Yoshinakadera 【義仲寺】 .. ぎちゅうじ(義仲寺)) in Oomi, and assisted Basho in other ways. The two participated with others in an eight-person kasen while Basho was staying with him in 1691.
His hokku are included in 'Sarumino' [The Monkey's Straw Raincoat], [and] a stanza is also in [the kasen] 'Ume Wakana' [Plum Blossoms and Fresh Shoots].

Quote from
"The Monkey's Straw Raincoat: and Other Poetry of the Basho School,"
introduced and translated by Earl Miner and Hiroko Odagiri
(hereafter referred to as
EM & HO), Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1981

Blyth says of Masahide's "storehouse" haiku:

Masahide is famous for a very pretentious verse approved by Basho:

蔵焼けて 障るものなき 月見哉
kura yakete sawaru mono naki tsukimi kana

My storehouse burnt down,
There is nothing to obstruct
The moon-view.

trans. Blyth

Now that my storehouse
has burned down, nothing
conceals the moon.

trans. Yoel Hoffmann

Hoffmann says that this poem "was much praised by Basho."

my storehouse burnt down
nothing now stands in the way
of moon viewing

Tr. Kit Nagamura

my storehouse burned down
now there is nothing to prevent
the moon viewing . . .

Tr. Gabi Greve / Fires in Edo

(The haiku has the cut marker KANA at the end of line 3.)

Storehouse (kura) and Haiku

. . . . .

Other of Masahide's haiku (found in 'Sarumino'):

CLICK for more photos of YAKKO, the spear bearers

yarimochi no nao furitatsuru shigure kana
(winter stanzas, #5)

The spear-bearers in file
brace their weapons yet more firmly
against the drizzle

trans. EM & HO

EM & HO comment:
They are part of a daimyo's procession. Their action is of more pyschological value than to the purpose of keeping dry. Walking along the narrow road, they have a seemingly endless journey...

The halberdiers
Continue to flourish their spears
In the winter rain

trans. Blyth

An alternate translation by Blyth:

The javelin bearers
Still brandish them
In the winter rain.

Blyth comments:
On the daimyo procession rain has begun to fall, but they still raise and lower their spears and continue their accompanying rhythmical cries.

inoshishi ni fukikaesaruru tomoshi kana
(summer stanzas, #124)

The wild boar rushes
with such a wind as to drive back
the hunters' torches

trans. EM & HO

Shigaraki ya chayama shi ni yuku fuufuzure
(summer stanzas, #145)

At Shigaraki
off to teagroves in the hills
go husband and wife

trans. EM & HO

EM & HO comment:
At the border of Iga and Yamashiro, Shigaraki was in one of the major tea-growing centers of Japan.

hinooka ya kogarete atsuki ushi no shita
(summer stanzas, #176)

Breezeless Hinooka
and hot to the point of burning
hangs the cart ox's tongue

trans. EM & HO

EM & HO comment:
"Hi no oka 日ノ岡," "Hill of the Sun" had a steep slope enclosed by hills that made it hot even by the standards of nearby Kyoto, as the poor straining beast shows.
. . Hi-no-Oka Pass

shibukasu ya karasu mo kuwazu arahatake
(autumn stanzas, #244)

The sour persimmon pulp
not even crows will eat such stuff
spread over rough fields

trans. EM & HO

EM & HO comment:
Land is being reclaimed from uplands or a river area. Persimmons squeezed for juice for dyeing or some such use have been reduced to pulp to fertilize fields that may be planted in a few years. We take the major pause to come after the first line.

haru no hi ni shimioote kaeru kyoozukue
(stanza 19, from the kasen, 'Ume Wakana')

on the fine spring day
the assembled monks end their chants
and each to his sutra

trans. EM & HO

EM & HO comment:
The monks have been together in a great hall, chanting together for some special grand rite. As it ends, they file out, each to his own study...getting a good glimpse of the spring scene. "Kyoozukue" are stands for holding the sutras for reading: "and each to his stand." But of course the monks go from one rite or observation to another.

Here is a haiku about Masahide, composed by Izen (1646-1711 惟然(いぜん)), on "the night before Basho's death," according to Blyth:

hipparite futon ni samuki warai kana

Pulling the bed-clothes
Back and forth, back and forth,
Wry smiles.

Izen, trans. Blyth

Blyth comments:
This verse was occasioned by Izen and Masahide, sleeping under the same quilt. Basho himself smiled when he read it. Master and disciples had the relation of parent and children.

Yoel Hoffmann, in discussing Masahide, says:
It seems that Masahide became very poor after his storehouse burned down. His poet friend Jozen, who came to visit him in 1703, reported that Masahide had no blanket for his two children, and had to cover them with mosquito netting.

Masahide's death poem:

yuku toki wa tsuki ni narabite mizu no tomo

While I walk on
the moon keeps pace beside me:
friend in the water.

Masahide, trans. Hoffmann

When I depart,
Let me be friends with the water,
Like the moon.

trans. Blyth

MIZU NO TOMO is the title of a Japanese book about Masahide.



barn's burnt down
I can see the moon

(tr. by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoti)

nusubito ya tori-nokosareshi mado no tsuki

the thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window

 Ryokan 良寛

calm mind
on an autumn night
leaves rustle

Gabi Greve


kogakure ya nezumi no shoosha shita momiji

hidden among the trees -
a shrine with mice and
red leaves on the ground

Tr. Gabi Greve

. WKD : Shrines and Haiku .


Japanese Reference


Related words

***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When the mind 's house of straw intel is blown away beautifulisnees shines eternal.

summer lake
only my campfire
disturbs the stars

Kind regards Gabs, hope you are keepin' on truckin 'ol gal - sillybabble17