Ogawa Haritsu


Ogawa Haritsu
Ritsuo 笠翁 ("Old Man Ritsu")

1663 - 1747
寛文3年(1663年) - 延享4年6月3日(1747年7月10日))

His real name was Ogawa Naoyuki 小川尚行.

His artist names are 金弥、平助。
Haiku Names 宗羽(宗宇).「小川観」、夢中庵.

He was born in the province of Ise, but other sources state Edo as his birthplace.

More LINKS about Haritsu

CLICK for original LINK
Portrait of Basho by Haritsu
© Waseda University


Compiled by Larry Bole, Happy Haiku Forum

Haritsu first gained fame as a haijin. As a young man, he was a friend of both Kikaku and Ransetsu, students of Basho's, of whom Haritsu was a student too.

In Makoto Ueda's book, "Dew on the Grass," Ueda mentions a drawing by Haritsu, first quoting from the preface, written by Seibi, to an anthology compiled by Issa, titled "Three Men at Leisure:"

"...someone...brought [to Issa] Master Haritsu's work, which was a drawing accompanied by a verse. The drawing depicted Haritsu asleep with Kikaku and Ransetsu. Haritsu's verse appearing beside the drawing said that while his two friends were gone he alone still lingered in this world at the age of over eighty. ..."

Ueda goes on to explain Haritsu's drawing: "[Haritsu] used to spend a leisurely day with fellow poets Takarai Kikaku and Hattori Ransetsu...when they were young. Impoverished as they were in their youth, the three had to share a single quilt when they slept at night."

Ueda describes Haritsu's drawing: "[it] shows three haikai poets lying asleep under a quilt, with their feet turned toward a footwarmer."

I have been able to find two of Haritsu's haiku translated into English:

saku made wa matsu hito motanu tsutsuji kana

Until they bloom,
No one gives heed to them,--
Azalea flowers.

Tr. Blyth

Of Haritsu, Blyth says:
"[He] is said to hae been disowned for prodigality and to have lived on Kikaku. ..."

tsuma ni mo to ikutari omou hana mi kana

I find so many
fit to be my wife
at flower-viewing time!

Tr. Faubion Bowers

But Haritsu turned to making lacquerware at the age of 51, and it is as an artist that he is chiefly known today.

While other artists were happy to embed gold flakes or slivers of mother-of-pearl, Ogawa created wonderful effects by skillfully incorporating such objects as shells, stones and, in one remarkable box for keeping shikishi paper, even netsuke toggles into his work.

Haritsu created a style of inlaying various items such as shells, pieces of porcelain, metal, stones, even netsuke toggles onto lacquerware, creating a style known as "Haritsu Marquetry."
The upper surface of the statinery box contains the signature "Ryuo"and the seal "Kan".
CLICK for more photos !

Haritsu is also famous for
"producing lacquer that imitated other materials."
Ritsuo was a student of Ogata Korin in lacquerwork.

Haritsu's lacquerware box at the Met is described as a "box for writing implements with mice chewing fan." It is made out of "lacquered wood, inlaid pottery & pewter."
"Three mice devour a fan that once opened to reveal a classic poem on beautifully decorated paper."

The lid of the box shows a partially-opened folding paper fan with writing on it, placed diagonally, with the top of the fan at the upper left of the box lid, and the hinge of the fan at the lower right. At the bottom of the lid is a white mouse in profile, with a beady red eye showing, and a long, sinuous tale. Above and to the left of this mouse, is a black mouse also with a long, sinuous tale, seen from above, angling diagonally from left to right, and apparently chewing on the fan. In the middle of the fan, appearing through a hole already chewed in the fan, is the white head of a third mouse.

How much of our poetry will survive the ravages of time: the floods, the fires, the mice
(or nowadays even electronic mishaps or outright future deletion)?

folding fan with a poem:
the three nibbling mice
savor every word

Larry Bole


Box for an ink stone,
suzuribako 硯箱[すずりばこ]

24.5㎝ x17.0㎝ x 6.3㎝
with various types of inlay of wood, ivory, precious metals

CLICK for original LINK
© city.hikone.shiga.jp Museum

External LINK
Laquer Box by Haritsu

. inkstone, 翡翠硯(すずり) suzuri .
and suzuribako boxes

Related words

***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 



1 comment:

facebook said...

Ah... creativity after 50! What about after 60? Thanks for introducing Ogawa Haritsu.