Kobayashi Issa


. Kobayashi Issa in Edo - 江戸 .

Kobayashi Issa

Kobayashi Issa (小林一茶)
(June 15, 1763 - January 5, 1828)

"A cup of tea"

CLICK for more photos More English LINKS

a Japanese poet, and Buddhist priest, known for his haiku poems and his journals. He is regarded as one of the four haiku masters in Japan, along with Bashō, Buson and Shiki.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Kobayashi Issa in Edo - 江戸 .


kigo for late winter

Issa Ki 一茶忌 Issa Memorial Day
January 5

. Memorial Days of Famous Poeple .


David Lanoue and ALL about Issa !

everyday Issa
Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

Comments and translations by
. - Chris Drake - .
Translating Haiku Forum

Dew on the Grass: the life and poetry of Kobayashi Issa
by Ueda Makoto


arabonpu 荒凡夫

Kaneko Tohta calls Issa an "ara bonpu" a "wild normal man", a normal man who lived freely with the earth and on the earth.




fukuroo mo tsuraguse naose haru no ame。

source : www.zakzak.co.jp / 長野祐二

fukuroo mo tsuraguse naose haru no ame

you too, owl,
change your facial expression -
rain in spring

One can hear the wife of the author talking ...

Kaneko Tohta explains,
Issa wrote this haiku because his wife nagged him to cheer up, but it is in fact an expression of his love for the wife.
He sees Issa as an arabonpu 荒凡夫 , a wild but normal man, who lived freely with the earth and on the earth.

hana chiru ya matsudai muchi no bonpu shuu

cherry blossoms scatter--
the ignorant masses
of these latter days

Laymen (bonbu) are "without wisdom" (muchi). They watch the cherry blossoms falling from branches without perceiving, in the scene, the Buddhist lesson of transience: that they, too, are temporary beings. Nothing abides.
Though matsudai can mean "eternity," in Pure Land Buddhism it can allude more specifically to this "latter age" of corruption.
Tr. David Lanoue

Pure Land Buddhism 浄土仏教
a broad branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism and currently one of the most popular traditions of Buddhism in East Asia. Pure Land is a branch of Buddhism focused on Amitābha Buddha.
In Japanese Buddhism,
Pure Land practice exists independently as four sects: Jōdo-shū 浄土宗, Jōdo Shinshū, Yūzū-nembutsu-shū and Ji-shū. Strong institutional boundaries exist between sects which serve to clearly separate these Pure Land schools from the Japanese Zen schools. One notable exception to this is found in the Ōbaku Zen school, which was founded in Japan during the 17th century by the Chinese Buddhist monk Yinyuan Longqi (J. Ingen Ryuki).
The Ōbaku Zen school retains many Chinese features such as mindfulness of Amitābha Buddha (Amida) through recitation, and recitation of the Pure Land sūtras.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

- quote
The artistic quality and appeal of haiku
In 1970, I was very interested in the wandering poets Santoka and Issa.
Although Issa is not usually considered a wandering poet, I was especially drawn to him. Even now I like him more than Basho, Buson, and Shiki. When I tried to see what drew me to him, I found an indescribable accessibility in his poetry.
I do not want to use the term "mass appeal," but his haiku are so easy to understand.
- source : Kaneko Tohta 金子兜太


Issa Yukari-no Sato Museum

The isolated house, where Kobayashi Issa (a poet), used to visit, has been restored and built at this place. Issa's character is introduced by using cartoon pictures and miniature dolls. The original book of one of his three great works, Chichi-no Shuen Nikki, and other valuable materials are displayed.
5161-1 Oaza Takai, Takayama-mura
source : www.book-navi.com/hokusa


Saimyo-Ji Temple in Shikoku and Issa 最明寺

Japanese Culture via Haiku
Kobayashi Issa

My own collection of Issa Haiku.

Nakano Clay Doll

The Family Fukuro-ya in Nakano has been very kind to Issa and sponsored him in his old age. They have an Issa Memorial Museum.

When he visited Nakano, Issa wrote the following haiku

ぶらり来て 親子の如し 雪の宿
burari kite oyako no gotoshi yuki no yado

I just came by
and was treated like family -
a home in the snow

© Photos and Information from Nakamura Sakuo

ふくろや美術館の . "一茶と土びな展"
External LINK


- - - - - More Daruma Museum Articles

Daruma, Issa and Nakano Clay Dolls

Traditional Folk Toys, Food and Issa

ISSA and the Three Venerable Treasures, sanson 三尊 of the Haiku World

Temple Saimyo-Ji (Saimyooji) and Issa 最明寺

Issa in Karuizawa 軽井沢

Arukigami, the God of Wandering 歩行神
Sozorogami そぞろ神 of Matsuo Basho

. Issa Oshoo and Daruma Oshoo 一休和尚
Priest Ikkyu, lying down drunk 一休和尚酔臥図
(Painting by Hanabusa Itchoo)


ko no bun o haha itadaku ya kajoo gui

the portion of the child
is eaten by the mother . . .
eating on Kajo-Day

. Issa and his children  


Issa and Basho Kokeshi Dolls

Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 

. Kobayashi Issa in Edo - 江戸 .


CLICK to join ISSA on Facebook !



Anonymous said...

Der Geburtstag des Japanischen Dichters Kobayashi Issa
5. Mai 1763

Wiederholung: 5. Mai, ab 11.45 Uhr (WDR 3)

Es hat nur drei Zeilen, eine festgelegte Silbenzahl, folgt einem
strengen Rhythmus, muss immer ein Symbol für eine Jahreszeit
beinhalten und ist für westlich geprägte Gemüter zunächst schwer
erschließbar: Das Haiku-Gedicht...

Kobayashi Issa gehört zu den "Großen Vier" der Haiku-Dichter...

verfasst..im Laufe seines Lebens über 20.000 dieser Dreizeiler.

Heute ist das Dichten von Haiku ein Volkssport in Japan...

Die Faszination geht aber weit über Japan hinaus: Haiku-Vereinigungen gibt es in den USA ebenso wie in Deutschland.

Autor: Martin Herzog"

Anonymous said...

Quote Japan Times

One of poetry's finest reminds us of our place in the natural world

Skinny frog Don't give up! Issa is here

He has been dead for 180 years, but Kobayashi Issa's haiku keep reminding us that the essence of Japan's culture lies in its intimate tie to nature. Humans are seen by him entirely as an element in nature, where ideally there is no artificial hierarchy and certainly no holier-than-thou moralizing.

Kobayashi is one poet who epitomized this intimate tie. Taking a brief look at his legacy might help us all rededicate ourselves to what is our own century's greatest task: restoring the equilibrium between humankind and nature that we have systematically destroyed over the past two centuries.

Japan, in other words, has the answer to our century's dilemma within its own tradition.

The people in Kobayashi's haiku wallow in their association with the elements, the animals and the plants, even when lazy or oblivious to what surrounds them. Here he himself is blissfully unaware . . .

Asleep on my back
Midsummer clouds
Over my knees

And if this is good enough for him, it's good enough for the farmer who usually works himself to the bone . . .

The mower in the grass Asleep on his horse
In a storm of green

The field is green, but the word "storm" leads us to believe that the mower, lost in it, will soon be awakened.

As with the reference to the "skinny frog" above (this is such a famous haiku that Japan Post once issued a stamp commemorating it), Kobayashi often writes about the smaller and weaker animals that he relates to. It is here that his humor, an integral part of the Japanese view of nature, shines through.

Here another frog, with a little help from perspective, appears larger than life . . .

A frog in the evening croaks
Lining up its bottom
With the top of Mount Fuji

He loves the birds, too, and feels for them . . .

The little orphan sparrow
Once again opens its mouth
In vain

The "once again" turns this plaintive poem into a little tragedy. Kobayashi sees himself in this light, identifying with the sparrow . . .

C'mon, play with me!

In fact, it is harder to imagine a life filled with more personal tragedy than Kobayashi's.

Born in 1763 in Kashiwabara, in what is now Nagano Prefecutre, Kobayashi lost his mother at age 3. He was brutally mistreated by his stepmother, who threw him out of the house at age 14, when he went to Edo (present-day Tokyo). He spent his youth and his early years of adulthood traveling the country, particularly to temples, making a name for himself as a haiku poet.

He didn't marry until he was 49. His wife, Kiku, gave birth to three children, all of whom perished; and then, giving birth to a fourth, she herself died. (The fourth child, too, died, probably as a result of neglect by its nurse.)

A second marriage ended in divorce, but a third, to a woman named Yao, was happier, producing two children. But then he suffered what was probably a series of minor strokes that left him hemiplegic. Not long after that a fire destroyed his home and he came to live in the storehouse beside it, where he passed away, on Jan. 5, 1828.

Here are some of the wonderful haiku he left us about animals . . .

I open a window
To set a butterfly off
Into the meadow

In a better world
I'd welcome more of you in my rice
Little fly

I'll be tossing in my sleep
So, move over

The lark cries
Around the thicket
That conceals her chicks

Each of these speaks of a love of nature in a particularly protective, melancholic or whimsical way; yet each shows respect for all creatures. Kobayashi was by no means well off, and when he went to the outstandingly scenic Matsushima islets in present-day Miyagi Prefecture, he took along some "fellow travelers" as a matter of course . . .

I'll show you Matsushima
Then you're on your own
Little fleas

But there is a foreboding in his work as well. The primary theme of nature is renewal; and renewal means that all things pass from this living phase of existence into another.

Kobayashi's world view cannot be understood outside of the context of his Buddhist beliefs. There are portents of this . . .

The cow appeared
Out of the fog
Mooing and mooing and mooing

A bird is building its nest
Unaware that the tree
Is marked for felling

Despite the ever-presence of death, his faith is open to spoof and even ridicule. This makes it very different from that of most adherents to the three dominant Middle Eastern religions, who generally seem to take themselves more seriously . . .

A swallow shoots out
Of the nose
Of the Great Buddha

His comments on society are often cutting . . .

Even while strolling
Under the cherry blossoms
People are lecturing each other

I have made two trips to Kashiwabara, in mid-summer and mid-winter, sitting for hours in the little storehouse that is now a museum. I imagined that I heard his voice then, as if telling us to observe and live with nature and not destroy it. It feeds us, as if by miracle . . .

What a world!
Even the grass that you see
Turns into rice cakes

And it astounds us, even if we are so poor as to have holes in our flimsy doors . . .

How beautiful!
The Milky Way from a hole
In my sliding rice-paper door

Kobayashi faces his own death in his haiku time and again. The most famous of these is probably this one, with its reference to his "final home" . . .

Oh well, is this to be
My final home
These six feet of snow

He wrote more than 20,000 haiku, and I have read but a fraction of these. But of those I know, the following one is my favorite, and, perhaps, the most telling of his devotion to life . . .

The fields are on fire
The birds, too, seem to be saying . . .
"Love when you can''

All translations here are by Roger Pulvers.

The Japan Times
(C) All rights reserved

Anonymous said...

マブソン青眼( - せいがん、1968年 - )
Mabuson Seigan (Mabusoon)

He lives in Shinano with his family and studies about Issa.

anonymous yomiuri said...

Seegan Mabesoone

'Blue-eyed' poet puts life into haiku

By Ayako Hirayama

NAGANO--It hit like a flash of light 10 years ago when Seegan Mabesoone was taking a break from his doctoral studies on Japanese literature. Traveling in the Cote d'Azur region of southeast France in 1995, the journey became etched on his memory when he thought up a haiku in Japanese for the first time.

What inspired him were orange flowers that gave off a scent similar to the wonderful smell of the desserts his mother used to bake. When he looked up, he was enthralled by a splendid view of the Mediterranean. And then he murmured the following haiku:


Daidai no
Hana ni hikarete
Haha no umi

Bitter orange flower,
This is the sea where my mother
Was born

(Translation by Mabesoone)

Up to this point, the aspiring French poet had only created "haiku-like poems" in his mother tongue.


The chance to return to Japan came in 1996 with a position on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. He was sent to Nagano Prefecture, where he spent three years in the prefectural government's international relations section. During the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, he worked as a translator and event coordinator. His best memory from the Olympics was the success of a project called One Haiku for the Olympics, in which 100 haiku contributed by the public were translated into English and French and printed on flags handed to guests.

Nagano Prefecture is perhaps not the place most foreign nationals would choose to live. But Mabesoone was happy to be posted there, as the prefecture is the home of his favorite haiku master, Kobayashi Issa.

Issa's work, Mabesoone says, is filled with admiration for nature and vulnerable creatures. His fascination with Issa grew as he learned more about the haiku master by visiting historic sites associated with the poet.

Gabi Greve / amazon said...

David Lanoue
Issa's Best:
A Translator's Selection of Master Haiku


I enjoyed reading Professor David Lanoue's book in Kindle apps on my iPhone 4s. Professor Lanoue presents Issa as simply Issa (the book's poems are English translations of Issa's Japanese poems). I like this clean and simple approach, although, I would have liked to have seen the original Japanese, because, I like to do translations, too. Professor Lanoue divides the contents nicely explaining the book, Issa, and Issa's poems into the five traditional Japanese seasons: New Year's; Spring; Summer; Autumn; and Winter. These seasons demark the poems themes. Professor Lanoue also includes a section of poems without seasonal theme and a section about himself.
By chibi

at amazon.com

Gabi Greve said...

Lafcadio Hearn wrote
"Farther on, I find other figures of Jizo, single reliefs, sculptured upon tombs. But one of these is a work of art so charming that I feel a pain at being obliged to pass it by. More sweet, assuredly, than any imaged Christ, this dream in white stone of the playfellow of dead children, like a beautiful young boy, with gracious eyelids half closed, and face made heavenly by such a smile as only Buddhist art could have imagined, the smile of infinite lovingness and supremest gentleness.
Indeed, so charming the ideal of Jizo is that in the speech of the people a beautiful face is always likened to his-'Jizo-kao,' as the face of Jizo." -

Gabi Greve said...

Lafcardio Hearn
(from "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, First Series, Ch III, Note 3))
"The original Jizo has been identified by Orientalists with the Sanscrit Kshitegarbha; as Professor Chamberlain observes, the resemblance in sound between the names Jizo and Jesus 'is quite fortuitous.'
But in Japan Jizo has become totally transformed: he may justly be called the most Japanese of all Japanese divinities. ...

Gabi Greve said...

Lafcadio Hearn: RokuJizo:
"Why six Jizo instead of five or three or any other number, the reader may ask. I myself asked the question many times before receiving any satisfactory reply. Perhaps the following legend affords the most satisfactory explanation: According to the Book Taijo-Hoshi-mingyo-nenbutsu-den, Jizo-Bosatsu was a woman ten thousand ko (kalpas) before this era, and became filled with desire to convert all living beings of the Six Worlds and the Four Births.

And by virtue of the Supernatural Powers she multiplied herself and simultaneously appeared in all the Rokussho or Six States of Sentient Existence at once, namely in the Jigoku, Gaki, Chikusho, Shura, Ningen, Tenjo, and converted the dwellers thereof. (A friend insists that in order to have done this Jizo must first have become a man.)
Among the many names of Jizo, such as 'The Never Slumbering,' 'The Dragon-Praiser,' 'The Shining King,' 'Diamond-of-Pity,' I find the significant appellation of 'The Countless Bodied.'"

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Edo / Tokyo Honjo-Aioicho  本所相生町 Honjo-Aioi district
From the 1st to the 5th sub-district.
The haiku poet Kobayashi Issa lived in Aioi-Cho for some time.
This is called his 相生町時代 Aioi period.