My Country (waga kuni)



My country, my province (waga kuni)

***** Location:Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity

wagakuni waga-kuni
WAGA KUNI 我国 わがくに is a word Issa uses sometimes in his haiku.

Nakamura Sakuo remarks:

I believe that Issa had an international feeling that he had gotten through his journey to the Western province at his age 30 to 36.
He had an eccentric journalistic feeling as to big fires, earthquake, murder and other social news and trouble. He was full with burning curiosity.
At this time there came many foreign ships to the Japanes Island, seeking to open communications.
He was convinced of the independence of Japanese island.

When Issa says waga kuni, it means both my province or my country = Japan

If he said waga kuni as my province, he should say oraga kuni おらが国 in Japanese.


Some synonyms to express JAPAN

日本(にっぽん) 日(にち) ジャパン 日本国 大日本 大日本帝国 日東 皇国 倭国(わこく) 扶桑 大八洲(おおやしま) 秋津島 瑞穂(みずほ)の国 豊葦原(とよあしはら) 皇御国(すめらみくに) 
我が国 わがくに 我国 
母国 祖国 国内 内地 

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


waga kuni ya kodomo mo tsukuru yuki-botoke

my home country -
the children also make

Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

Translating : yukibotoke : snow Buddha, snowman


More haiku by Issa, translated by David Lanoue

Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

waga kuni wa saru mo eboshi wo kaburi keri

in my province
even trained monkeys
wear noble hats

A jab at local politicians? Literally, Issa says that the monkey is wearing the courtly headgear of a nobleman. Dancing monkeys perform their tricks in the New Year's season. Lanoue

sakuo’s comment
The founder of the Edo government was Tokugawa Ieyasu.
When he came into Edo castle first, his horse got injured at the leg.
A monkey dancing team prayed for the horse. After saving the horse, the monkey team got high confidence from the founder and got special permission that was free entrance to the castle at three times a year.
They were given money as rewards every year. In the Edo era, there were many monkey dance teams in Edo city.

sakuo renku

Edo joo o se ni saru ibaru kana

Edo castle at the back
were monkeys arrogant

... ... ...

waga kuni wa saru mo kitô o shitari keri

in my province
even trained monkeys
offer prayers!

See : Dancing monkeys, maizaru 舞猿 in Japan

... ... ...

waga kuni wa kusa mo sakura o saki ni keri

my province--
even the grass blooms
cherry blossoms

This haiku has the prescript, "Primrose." Issa is punning in this haiku. In Japanese, primrose is sakurasô ("cherry blossom grass"). He seems proud of his native province, where even the "grass" produces "cherry blossoms."
See : Moss pink (shibazakura)

waga kuni wa keburi mo chiyo no tameshi kana

my province--
even the smoke
an ancient thing

Shinji Ogawa explains that chiyo no tameshi can be translated as "old precedent." He believes that this haiku alludes to an incident described in the Kojiki, a Japanese history compiled in 712: "One day the Emperor Nintoku of the fifth century looked down upon the country from a high mountain. As he did not see much smoke, he released the people from the tax for three years. As a result, the court decayed but the country was filled with smoke. Of course, the smoke was cooking smoke."

More haiku are here:
Tr. David Lanoue


Related words

***** Homeland, hometown (furusato)



Unknown said...

Thank you,Gabi san for your effort on Waga-kuni of Issa.
Other opinion would be appreciated very much.


Gabi Greve - Issa said...

nihon, nippon  日本 Japan

and more haiku by Issa