Shiba Sonome


Shiba Sonome 斯波園女

寛文4年(1664年) - 享保11年4月20日(1726年5月21日)

She was born in Ise, Yamada, as a daughter of a priest from Ise Shrine, and later well known for her beauty.

Her husband was the doctor Shiba Ichi-U 斯波一有, also a pupil of Matsuo Basho. His haiku name was Isen 渭川(いせん)). They lived in Osaka since 1692.

In 1690, Sonome became a student of Basho. Her correspondence with Basho is quite well loved.

After the death of her husband, she went to Edo and contacted Enomoto Kikaku. She also worked as a doctor to help people with ailments of the eyes.
In 1718 she cut her hair and became a nun, called Chikyo-Ni (Chikyoo ni )智鏡尼.

Her main publications

Kiku no Chiri 菊の塵 Dust on Chrysanthemums

Tsuru no Tsue 鶴の杖 Cane of a Crane
(containing poetry of her life at age 60)


Some of her haiku





koromogae waza to tonari no ko o daki ni

changing of the robes -
deliberately I go to the neighbour
to hold her child

koromogae - changing to sommer robes


While Matsuo Basho visited her estate in 1694,
he wrote about her

shiragiku no me ni tatete miru chiri mo nashi

gazing intently
at the white chrysanthemums --
not a speck of dust

Here Basho is complementing the host (Sonome), represented by the white chrysanthemums, by stressing the flower's and, by implication, Sonome's purity.
Haruo Shirane

Basho was inspired to write this by a waka of

. Saigyo Hoshi 西行法師 .

WKD : Symbols, allegory, metaphor and Haiku

nooren no oku monofukashi kita no ume

beyond the curtain
a quiet depth -
northern plum blossoms

Tr. Shirane

Read the comment of Shirane :
source : books.google.co.jp

Written in 1688 貞亨5年春.


yo ni hito no shiranu hana ari miyama shii

some blossoms there are
that nobody sees—
an oak deep in the woods

sakanu ma mo mono ni magirenu sumire kana

it stands out
even before blooming—
a wild violet

mushi no ne ya yo fukete shizumu ishi no naka

the insects’ chirp
as night deepens
sinks into the stones

Far Beyond the Field
translated by Makoto Ueda and Arnold P. Lutzker

External LINK to her work


in my paper kerchief
a wild violet
has long since wilted

Tr. Makoto Ueda


CLICK for more photos

Her grave at park, close to Kiyosumi Teien 清澄庭園
at the temple Oshoin (Ooshoo In) 雄松院.

Basho-An is close to this temple.

The grave stone has the inscription
Watarai Sonome 度会(わたらい)園女

Reference : 斯波園女

Japanese women poets:
an anthology By Hiroaki Sato
Reference : google books


***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets



Gabi Greve - WKD said...

kamigaki ya o-hyakudo utte kyoo no tsuki

fence of the Gods -
doing the 100 prayers circuit
the moon of today

about kamigaki fences
and the 100 prayers circuit

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kiyosumi Teien 清澄庭園 Kiyosumi Park