4/08/2011

Takahama Kyoshi

[ . BACK to WORLDKIGO TOP . ]
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Takahama Kyoshi

高浜 虚子, Takahama Kyoshi
22 February 1874 - 8 April 1959

was the pen-name of a Japanese poet active in Showa period Japan. He was one of the closest disciples of Masaoka Shiki. His real name was Takahama Kiyoshi.



Takahama was born in what is now Matsuyama city, Ehime prefecture; his father, Ikeuchi Masatada, was a former samurai. At the age of nine he inherited from his grandmother's family, and took her surname of Takahama. He made an acquaintance with Masaoka Shiki via a classmate (Kawahigashi Hekigoto), and it was Masaoka Shiki who gave him the pen-name of Kyoshi.

© WIKIPEDIA has more !

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


haikai kuhonbutsu 俳諧九品仏
The nine Buddha stages of haiku poets

"The various levels of haiku poets".
Some are famous and skillfull, others are just beginners and trying hard, but all are welcome in the family of haiku poets.

This expression shows his great resprct for Buddhism and the concept of

the nine stages of the wisdom of Amida,
as expressed through his nine positions of the hands.




More details are HERE
. Kuhonbutsu Amida
阿弥陀九品印 The Nine Mudras of Amida


.................................................................................


明易や花鳥諷詠南無阿弥陀  
akeyasushi kachoo fuuei namu amida  

early summer morning -
kacho fuu-ei
Praise to Amida Buddha


Kyoshi at 80

Kyoshi and Bojo Toshiki



. "ka cho-fuei" (kachoo fuuei 花鳥諷詠)  

haiku must center on the nature itself.
( kacho: ka = flower, cho = butterfly : representatives of the nature )
The poet should write about things
"ari no mama ありのまま", as it is.



俳句は極楽の文学
haiku wa gokuraku no bungaku desu ga,
jigoku no urazuke.


Haiku is the poetry of the "Western Paradise",
but with the full knowledge and experience of hell.

He lost one of his daughters when she was still very young. This strong experience showed in his haiku and in his life. He had a strong attraction to the "paradise in the west, gokuraku" of Amida Buddha.
He had a gravestone erected at Mt. Koya and services were read in his honor while he was still alive. He was well aware of the fleeting moment of a human life.

“literature of heaven” „Literatur des Himmels“


kachoo fuugetsu 花鳥風月 flowers, birds, wind, moon
kacho fugetsu, the traditional themes of natural beauty in Japanese aesthetics, representing the beauty of nature.



風月の財も離れよ深見艸
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


いかなごに まづ箸おろし 母恋し  
ikanago ni mazu hashi oroshi haha koishi 

to eat sand lance
first I put my chopsticks down -
I long for mother


Emotions expressed directly in Haiku


.................................................................................



我生の今日の昼寝も一大事
waga sei no kyoo no hirune mo ichi-daiji

for my life
the nap taken today is also
so very important



.................................................................................



. 箱釣や頭の上の電気灯
hakozuri ya atama no ue no denkitoo

hakozuri 箱釣 (はこづり) "fishing in a box"


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


During WW II : The Haiku Incident

The Japanese Literary Patriotic Organization (nihon bungaku hôkoku kai), which was devoted to both censorship and persecution, along with a host of other war crimes. At the time, the Director of the society was Ono Bushi, whose title was: The Agent of Investigation of the Minds of the Nation’s Citizens (kokumin jyôsô chosa iin). Perhaps the most notorious statement published by Ono reads:

I will not allow haiku even from the most honorable person, from left-wing, or progressive, or anti-war, groups to exist. If such people are found in the haiku world, we had better persecute them, and they should be punished. This is necessary. (Kosakai, 169; trans. by Itô, with Gilbert)
source : www.roadrunnerjournal.net



World War II, with its inevitable restrictions on freedom of speech, put Japanese haiku writers in a difficult position. Along with other writers and artists, they were force to support the government's wartime policies. The most they could do to show their disagreement was to declare, as some of them did, that they were primarily concerned with plum blossoms and bush warblers, and not with the war.
Others chose to sing about the war, but with a detachment of mind that indicated neither agreement nor disagreement with the war policies. In any case haiku poets were overjoyed when the war ended in 1945. They could now express themselves more freely than ever before.
Within a year's time more than three hundred haiku magazines sprang up all over Japan.

Makoto Ueda
source : Modern Japanese Haiku - Introduction



NEW RISING HAIKU
The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and
the Haiku Persecution Incident

Itô Yûki, Kumamoto University

. WKD shinkoo haiku 新興俳句 New Rising Haiku .   


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


Some of his haiku discussed in detail in our translation group:

: itechoo . butterfly in the cold

: natsu obi. summer sash


too-yama ni hi no atari taru kareno kana


reifuku o atatameryuusu hoshinajiru soup with dried vegetable leaves

Lipstick made in the cold (kanbeni 寒紅, ushibeni 丑紅 )


Sentei Festival and Antoku Tenno
haru no shio sentei sai mo chikazukinu



. On the death of Masaoka Shiki .
Shiki iku ya jushichi-nichi no getsumei ni


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

shiratama ni toke-nokoritaru satoo kana


Takahama Kyoshi : More Haiku





:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


quote
One Hundred and One Exceptional Haiku Poems
by Kyoshi Takahama

Translated by Katsuya Hiromoto
source : terebess.hu

(a very long file)


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


"important things"

. daiji kana 大事かな
used by Kyoshi as Line 3 of haiku


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::



虚子一人銀河と共に西へ行く
Kyoshi hitori ginga to tomo ni nishi e yuku

Kyoshi all alone
goes with the Milky Way
to the West


or

me, Kyoshi
I go with the Milky Way
toward the West


Kyoshi, age 75
when he was looking out of the window in a night were he could not sleep.
It was shortly before his death, where the Buddhist "Paradise in the West" was waiting for him.


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


虚子の忌の極楽行の人ばかり
Kyoshi no ki no gokuraku yuku no hito bakari

Kyoshi Death Anniversary
all people are going
to paradise





読経いま歌のやうなる西虚子忌
dokyoo ima uta no yoo naru nishi Kyoshi Ki

reciting the sutras
now it sounds like songs -
Western Anniversary of Kyoshi's Death


© Masako Kusa


Kyoshi Memorial Day on April 8 is celebrated in Kamakura at Temple Jufuku-Ji (Juufuku Ji 寿福寺) and according to his will later a memorial was erected at Mount Hieizan Temple and a celebration took place here on October 14.
This day was later called the "Western Anniversary".
(West means Western Japan, where Hieizan is located with respect to Kamakura and also implying the Paradiese of the West or Amida Buddhism.)

There is another famous haiku by his daughter Hoshino Tatsuko, which started the anniversary being called "Western" nishi.


この後は西の虚子忌と申さばや
kono ato wa nishi no Kyoshi ki to moosaba ya

after that
we always call it
"Western Kyoshi Memorial Day"


Tr. Gabi Greve


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


ゆらぎ見ゆ百の椿が三百に
yuragi miyu hayku no tsubaki ga sanbyaku ni

watching 100 camellias
shaking slightly
I see three hundred


Takahama Kyoshi 高濱 虚子
He liked camellias very much and had a lot of trees planted in his garden in Kamakura.

WKD : Numbers used in Haiku



:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

俳諧はほとんどことばすこし虚子
haikai wa hotondo kotoba sukoshi Kyoshi

haikai is
mostly about words
a bit about Kyoshi


Tsukushi Bansei 筑紫磐井 (1950 - )

. . . Haiku about kigo, haiku, haikai ...


::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


影のなき虚子に似たひと原宿に
kage no naki Kyoshi ni nita hito Harajuku ni

a man without shadow
looking like Kyoshi
in Harajuku


Tsukushi Bansei 筑紫磐井 (1950 - )


Harajuku
is a busy station in Tokyo.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !



Toojinboo 東尋坊 Tojinbo cliffs in Fukui
- Placenames used in Haiku -


*****************************
BACK TO

Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 


Memorial Days of Famous People
....... A WORLDWIDE SAIJIKI

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: 

[ . BACK to DARUMA MUSEUM TOP . ]
[ . BACK to WORLDKIGO . TOP . ]

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: 

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quote from Yomiuri Shinbun
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/language/20070712TDY15001.htm

The deft touch of Hototogisu's Kyoshi
By Shigeru Takiguchi
Special to The Daily Yomiuri

In this column we have looked at many haiku poets under the influence of the Hototogisu School, which is also the foundation of the World Haiku Club. We have also looked at haiku written by non-Japanese poets that have a feel along the lines of the school. It is therefore an apt time to look at its founder once again.

Kyoshi Takahama (1874-1959) represents not only the modernization of haiku, which his mentor Shiki Masaoka (1867-1902) began, but also the mainstream of the entire Japanese literary tradition.


tou-yama ni/hi no atari taru/kareno kana

withered field...
distant mountains
lit by the sun


This haiku normally comes at the bottom of the popularity chart when shown to Western haiku poets. They simply do not think it is a good haiku. So much so that I have long wondered if they really understand haiku at all, or if Westerners will ever understand Japanese literary perceptions and sensibility in real terms.

That is our story. Their story is that according to their haiku rules, bad haiku poems are bad no matter who wrote them. Their belief that they are right is so strong that nothing can ever persuade them otherwise. It is indeed historically important to recognize that one of the masterpieces of Kyoshi has been so derided in the West.


kiri hitoha/hiatari nagara/ochi ni keri

a single paulownia leaf
falls; catching the sunlight
as it goes


I have tried in this English version to reflect the fine nuances of the original haiku, which could be lost in the usual choppy and minimalist translations. Here Kyoshi again emphasizes the winter sun, which he liked to contrast with other bleak realities of the season. The depth of his feelings is such that the haiku reminds me of the line of one of his favorite authors:
"There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow" (Hamlet, Act V, Scene II), though Kyoshi neither philosophized nor was as verbose as Shakespeare. For most Japanese haijin a paulownia leaf will never be quite the same again after reading this haiku.


ametsuchi no/aida ni horo to/shigure kana

between Heaven and Earth
a drop or two begins to fall
of winter rain


Shigure is winter rain that falls intermittently and often unexpectedly. It is the rain that Matsuo Basho (1644-94) loved for its indescribably desolate and forlorn qualities. In this haiku, Kyoshi was very much conscious of Basho's penchant as he shared the deep feelings the rain aroused in the great poet's heart.
Here, we also sense an almost Shakespearean perception of a natural phenomenon pointing to some deep truth of nature and man.


ta ichimai/ichimai goto ni/nokoru yuki

the sitting snow
is still there, in each
and every rice field


Only people in countries with rice paddies will get the sense of this haiku. Rice is "the" sacred crop in Japan. This is still the case even if many Japanese eat more bread than they do rice. The sight of young rice plants in early summer or of golden ones ready to harvest in the autumn gives eternal pleasure and a sense of security to the Japanese.

Rice paddies that are invisible because of the blanket of snow combine a sense of uncertainty with a hint of expectation for things to come. Some say that severe winters guarantee good rice crops.


kare ichigo/ware ichigo/aki fukami kamo

one word he utters,
one word I respond;
the autumn deepens


Meiji otoko (men born in the Meiji era 1868-1912) were and, if alive, still are men of few words. They retained the old Japanese idea that silence was golden and spoken words were not to be trusted. Chit-chat belonged to women and children. Small talk and gossip were nothing but a symbol of frivolity and superficiality.

Haiku, a form of poetry with few words, was a godsend for them. Thinking men were also seldom verbose as what they said was more often than not a result of eliminating as many unnecessary words as possible. When you have the best single malt why contaminate it by blending it with all sorts of inferior drinks?


kozo kotoshi/tsuranuku bo no/gotoki mono

years past and present
are but like
a single staff


Written such a long time ago, this haiku remains an enigma as to the true meaning Kyoshi intended for it. All manner of theories abound. Some say that Kyoshi wanted to emphasize the continuity rather than the separation of time by artificial dates or ceremonies. Others maintain that the point is the surprise of Kyoshi when he realizes how some things remain unchanged despite the arrival of the New Year--a time at which everything is supposed to appear fresh, new and different.

I rather think that this is a typical display of Kyoshi's sense of "asobi" (being bemused) in that he finds all the seriousness associated with the New Year--or any conventional wisdom for that matter-- to be funny and irksome.

I detect the same sort of teasing here as can be seen in some of Picasso's works.

Such a sense of fun (asobi) is again evident in the next haiku:


yo no naka o/asobi-gokoro ya/tsurara oru

In a harsh world
a playful mood
I break some icicles...



Typical icicles seen in Japan hang from the eaves of people's homes. They are normally things to be appreciated. Children might sometimes use them as swords to play with, but it takes a lot for an adult to be bemused and venture to break one.

Kyoshi usually adopts a serious "face" and approach that were fitting and proper as a master of haiku masters in Japan. So it must have been fun sometimes for a man of his reputation to strip away his acquired armor of respectability and authority.


sode ni kite/asobi kiyuru ya/haru no yuki

spring snow
flutters down to play
on my sleeve and vanishes


There is a gentle allusion in this haiku to a famous poem by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) calling on a motherless sparrow to come and play with him. So the lightness (karumi) and sense of humor are the essence of it with Kyoshi watching the spring snow come to his sleeves until it vanishes so quickly with a sense of affection and amusement.


haku-botan/to iu to iedomo/ko honoka

talk of
pure white peonies...
a tinge of pink!


This is another example of typical Kyoshi. While other people were busy trying to depict the whiteness of white peonies, his attention homed in on the faint pink of the flowers, which in a sense is more beautiful than just the white alone. In a way this symbolizes how he tried to see what others did not or failed to see. Once he showed it, then all the others imitated him, while he moved on to reveal something else to which the rest were still blind.

Thus they were never able to catch up to him, which is a sad fact of being a follower rather than a leader.


harusamu no/yorisoi yuke ba/hitome aru

cold spring...
we walk close together;
beware of spying eyes!


Kyoshi was a handsome man. Female followers often had a crush on him, including Hisajo Sugita (1890-1946). I do not know whether this haiku is referring to his romantic liaison with women other than his wife. Such a speculation is probably neither here nor there. What is important is that this love haiku is as good as the ones written by that genius of love poems, Masajo Suzuki (1906-2003).

The haiku brings to mind scenes from the film Brief Encounter. Instead of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, we hear the sound of the lovers' geta clogs in the days when such clandestine meetings were conducted with utmost care.

Here is another haiku of gentle eroticism:


inazuma o/fumite hadashi no/onna kana

a woman
treads a path of lightning
with bare feet


What the woman was doing walking in bare feet I do not know. Maybe this was in the countryside and the woman was a peasant whose habit it was to walk barefoot. Maybe she was so frightened that she came out of a house without thinking. Maybe the string of her geta clogs was broken in the rain and she had to walk without them. One wants to know what is going on here because one feels very strongly that this haiku reads as if it was written by Basho.

It has such timelessness. It can also be seen anywhere in the world, giving it universality. It shows Kyoshi's deft hand.

(Jul. 12, 2007)

haiku-shelf said...

Here some other informations about Takahama Kyoshi.


"The Spirit of Freedom.

Aspects of Contemporary Haiku.

Richard Gilbert talks with Udo Wenzel"

Haiku heute, Spring 2007


see the link


http://www.haiku-heute.de/Archiv/Richard_Gilbert_03-2007/Richard_Gilbert_e_03-2007/richard_gilbert_e_03-2007.html

haiku-shelf said...

sorry

here the complete link


http://www.haiku-heute.de/Archiv/Richard_Gilbe07/richard_gilbert_e_03-2007.html



otherwise go via google, see the informations above

Gabi Greve said...

Thank you so much for doing my homework !

I am down with an old tooth again ...

Kyoshi is a controversial figure in haiku politics.
I am mostly trying to show the meaning behind the words, especially kigo, in a haiku.

It is always good to see many angles to form one's own opinion about a person and apart from that, about his work.

GABI

Anonymous said...

Hototogisu
QUOTE
http://www.lib.ehime-u.ac.jp/KUHI/ENG/hototogisueng.html

"Hototogisu" was first published on 15th, Jan. of 1897 (Meiji 30). This Haiku magazine had about thirty pages and it was 0.06yen (6-sen) a copy. This magazine had 300 circulations and edited by Kyokudo Yanagihara.
The number twenty of "Hototogisu", published on 31st, Aug. of 1898 (Meiji 31), was the last number published by the publishing office of "Hototogisu" in Tachibana-cho, Matsuyama, which had been based on "Shofu-kai in Matsuyama".
Shiki composed the following Haiku celebrating the first issue of "Hototogisu".


" Greeting a Happy New Year
A bush warbler just starts to chirp
The Hototogisu was first published "
(Shiki)

In 1898.Oct.(Meiji 31), the editing of "Hototogisu" was succeeded to Kyoshi in Tokyo, and it made a fresh start as the central magazine.
Shiki gave the following account as for moving the publishing office of "Hototogisu" to Tokyo.

" Hototogisu should not die from the first, even if I would die. And yet, It just would be the day I should die, if "Hototogisu" would die. "Hototogisu" is nothing but my own life!".

Hekigotou and Kyoshi, called the two greatest authority of pupils under Shiki, had been in the same class of Matsuyama Junior High School and lived in the same lodging at that time when they entered the Third High School in Kyoto. They were so friendly to call each other "Kyotou-an Hermitage".
In 1894 (Meiji 24), both of them withdrew from school and went up to Tokyo to stay with Shiki-an Hermitage.

On 19th, Sept. (17th night of the lunar calendar) of 1902 (Meiji 35), Shiki died, aged 36.

" Shiki passed away
In the moonlight of 17th night
of the lunar calendar"
(Kyoshi)

After Shiki's death, Hekigotou apart from the literary style of "shasei - sketch" and searched eagerly for the new trends of Haiku in pursuit of the new phase. He started to composed the free rhymed Haiku not to stick to the fixed form and the theme of the seasons. This style took the turn to Shrindou and Santouka.

The other hand, Kyoshi put Soseki's novel "I am a cat" on "Hototogisu" in 1905 (Meiji 38), and devoted himself entirely to novels, but he opposed himself to Hekigotou's new trends on the grounds that the free rhymed Haiku will destroy the concept of the theme of seasons and fixed form of 17 characters and made comeback to the world of Haiku. He composed Haiku, that would be carved on the haiku monument in Bancho Elementary School, to make up his mind of that time.

In 1933 (Showa 8), Hekigotou expressed his retirement from the world of Haiku at the celebration of his 60th birthday, and died in 1937 (Showa 12), aged 65.

At Hekigotou's death, Kyoshi composed the following Haiku prefacing "I used to be close and compete with Hekigotou".

"Figuratively speaking,the association of
He and I are just as if
Tops would repel each other"
(Kyoshi)
Kyokudo took up the post of chief editor in Iyo-Nichinichi newspaper company in 1906 (Meiji 39) and later he was raised to the president of the company until 1927 (Showa 2).
In 1932 (Showa 7), he first published the Haiku magazine "keitou - a cockscomb" that was discontinued at No.118 in 1942 (Showa 17).

The works of Haiku that were originated by Shiki when he came back to Matsuyama in 1895 (Meiji 28) and took a walk on the outskirts of Matsuyama, were edited as "Sansaku-shu of Shiki's posthumous works". It's too much famous that the posthumous was found out Gakan Kondo kept it and published in No.9, Vol..2 of "Keitou" in 1933 (Showa 8).

In 1943 (Showa 18),"Shiki Association in Matsuyama" was established by Kyokudo's advocating. This association have been succeeded up to the present by not only Haiku originators but also official and private sections in Matsuyama in a body to throw light on Shiki's brilliant achievements.

Mastuyama Municipal Shiki Memorial Museum opened becausu of one of the tide ranged to Shiki that has been entertained by lovers of Haiku and all citizens in Matsuyama.

In the autumn of 1946 (Showa 21), the Haiku meeting celebrating 600th issue of Haiku magazine "Hototogisu" was held in Senshuji Temple. Kyoshi returned home from his place of refuge, Komoro in Nagano Prefecture, and the construction of Kyoshi's Haiku monument was arranged by Kyokudo's proposal at that meeting.

In 1951 (Showa 26) of the 50th anniversary of Shiki, Kyokudo (aged 85) said a few words by way of greeting together with Kyoshi. He died on 7th, Oct. (14th,Aug.of lunar calendar) of 1957 (Showa 32) at the age of 90.

"The fourteenth day of August
When the moon is so brilliant now
You have left this world"
(Kyoshi)

Mokuzen Sakai did a lot for the world of Haiku in Matsuyama, as the president of "Hototogisu", who settled in Matsuyama to study Haiku under Shiki.

Kusatao Nakamura was from Matsuyama by origin too, who joined the Haiku association of Tokyo University and contributed haiku to "Hototogisu".

"Hototogisu" was succeeded by Kyoshi's first son, Toshio and his daughter Teiko Inahata, after Kyoshi.

In 1980 (Showa 55), "Hototogisu" finally got to the No.1,000 for the April number of it.

Anonymous said...

Quote
http://www.lib.ehime-u.ac.jp/KUHI/ENG/kyoshieng.html

A spring breeze is blowing
I'm standing on my feet on a hillock
Entertaining a fighting spirit"

(Kyoshi Takahama)

He made a point of keeping firmly the tradition of Haiku to object and challenge to "The new trend movement" made by Hekigotou in 1913(Taisho 2). He called his group "Group to keep old type" and challenged "The new trend movement" to a fight. This Haiku was originated at that time.

He was after the plasinness and aftertaste of Haiku called "Kacho-Fuuei" in the world of Haiku and finally came to prescribe that Haiku is the poem of "Kacho-Fuuei" in 927(Showa 2).

"Kacho-Fuuei" have the meaning of the natural phenomena occurred by the change of the seasons and the human phenomena with that. He said Haiku is the poem to compose "Kacho-Fuuei" and "Fuuei" is the admire comming into one's heart too.

At that time, his view of Haiku have been carried through by keeping the two big rules - 17 characters and Season word - and composed "Kacho-Fuuei" at a point of the objective literary sketch. "Hototogisu" editted by Kyoshi had come up to the number 1,000 at last, at the April number of it, in 1930(Showa 5).

Anonymous said...

http://simplyhaiku.com/
http://www.poetrylives.com/SimplyHaiku/SHv4n1/features/translators-note.html

Kuwabara Takeo
"Modern Haiku: A Second-Class Art" ("Dai-ni geijutsu: gendai haiku ni tsuite")

Translator's Note
by Mark Jewel

Kuwabara Takeo's "Modern Haiku: A Second-Class Art" ("Dai-ni geijutsu: gendai haiku ni tsuite") created quite a stir when it first appeared in the journal The World (Sekai) in November 1946. It was one of a number of essays by postwar critics who vigorously attacked the cultural chauvinism that had characterized Japanese society in the years leading up to the Second World War.

The argument can best be followed in the translation itself, which is presented here with a minimum of interpretive comment.


http://www.poetrylives.com/SimplyHaiku/SHv4n1/features/Kuwabara.html

Modern Haiku: A Second-Class Art
by Kuwabara Takeo
Translated by Mark Jewel

(excerpts)

Haiku by leading modern poets appear in the pages of our postwar magazines just as they did in magazines before the war. But until recently I hardly ever bothered to read them, in the same way that I never paid much attention to the little block illustrations the magazines carry. I have already had occasion to observe elsewhere that one reason for the insipidness of post-Meiji Japanese fiction is a lack of intellectual and social self-awareness on the part of our novelists, and that the most likely model for this casual approach to the creative process is haikai poetry (see the February issue of Humanity [Ningen] and the September issue of New Currents of Thought [Shincho]).1 Whenever I make this point at one of the lectures I am invited to give, I am always taken to task afterward-at least with respect to haiku-giving me fresh cause to appreciate just how deeply rooted the influence of haikai has become.

It seems to me that if we are going to devote serious attention to the problems facing Japanese culture, there is a need to reassess the spirit of haikai as it has come down to us from the time of Bashō. Despite having come to this conclusion, however, I have not had the time to undertake the task myself. Or it would probably be more honest to say that I have not been interested in doing so. Then, not long ago, my daughter came home from elementary school and asked me to explain the meaning of two haiku she had studied in Japanese class:

snip

Some of these verses, by contrast, are impossible for me to understand, and as a result they take on no definite shape in my mind. To begin with, I do not even understand the meaning of numbers 3, 7, 10, 11, and 13 as Japanese. My small group of educated readers admitted that they also could not make sense of them. I doubt that anyone would even have the patience to try unless told beforehand that they were the work of famous poets (Kusatao, Seisensui, Takashi, Aro, and Kyoshi).

snip

But art is meaningless unless the work makes it possible for the experience of the artist to be reproduced in the person who admires it. The clearest evidence for this artistic failing in modern haiku is the vast number of books and other writings meant to clarify or interpret the haiku of modern poets, including the explanations produced by the poets themselves.

One can see the need for such guides when dealing with the customs and usage of an earlier and very different age. But it is decidedly strange when people living in the same country at the same time in history find them necessary, and also strange that the guides themselves should rely so heavily on paraphrase, the least artistic of interpretive techniques.

I am sure there will be those who, after reading this far, will attribute this attitude to my lack of experience in writing haiku. They will say, along with Mizuhara Shuoshi, that "one cannot understand haiku until one has tried one's own hand at composing them." (The Carpenter Bee [Kumabachi], vol. 2)

That the person regarded as our most sincere haiku poet finds himself forced to say something like this seems to me to point to the decline of haiku as a modern art.

snip

The next discovery made by me and my friends when reading these fifteen haiku was that a single verse provides little basis for judging poetic talent, making it impossible to distinguish the first-rate poets from the amateurs. There is no reason to judge Kyoshi's "I have been told/that the sand covered everything/up to these glehnias" as superior to "I walk on the wheat—/a cold wind has been blowing/for several days now" or to the verse about chirping birds that I took from a railroad magazine. And both of the latter haiku struck us as being more poetic than Sōjō's "a bowl of rice gruel/hardly makes for a hearty meal—/flowers on the mountain." This surely cannot be the mark of a truly modern art form.

snip

Kinbara Seigo, in his article "The Seriousness of Haiku" ("Haiku no genshukusei," in Studies in Haiku [Haiku kenkyū], June), begins by quoting Shiga's famous passage:9

When I gaze at the statue of Kannon in the Yumedono, no thought of the identity of the sculptor enters my mind. This is because the statue has an existence completely divorced from that of the sculptor, and that is what makes the experience so special.

snip

I am not using the word "school" here in the same sense that "party" is used in modern politics, but in a sense more appropriate to a medieval guild. An element of mystification therefore comes into play. The role of the leader may be clear enough, but mystification demands recourse to some ancient authority, much as the guilds of medieval Europe each avowed a particular tutelary saint. For haiku poets that saint is Bashō, and their scripture consists of terms such as sabi, shiori, and karumi. Bashō himself did not leave us with clear definitions of these terms, and as a result today's poets find themselves in the enviable position of being able to say things like "Haiku, myself, and the great spirit of nature are but three names for the same thing" (Arō).

snip

It is also worth noting in this context that Bashō—whose name is invariably accompanied by the adjective "severe"—was actually quite lenient even with the amateurs always out to win points in haikai contests,...

snip

That an artistic form like haiku was able to exist unchanged for some 300 years would seem to tell us something about the stability—or stagnation—of Japanese society during that time.

snip

Haiku is a genre in which any effort the artist makes to influence society leaves no trace upon the work itself (this was the reason, I think, that young people fond of literature who took positions in business or with the government were regarded favorably by their superiors if they expressed a taste for haiku, yet left a bad impression if they said they wrote novels).

snip

But the general populace these days has forgotten the classical tradition, or at least no longer takes much interest in it. Their taste runs instead to modern Western art, whether or not they really understand it.

snip

Shūōshi was being honest and entirely correct when he wrote, "The proper range of subject matter for haiku consists of natural phenomena and everyday life as it is affected by changes in nature."

snip

An activity like haiku is suited to whiling away the time or serving as a diversion for the ill or the elderly, who normally have more important work to do. ...
No one would presume to criticize the elderly for devoting their spare time to bonsai or the cultivation of chrysanthemums and holding the occasional exhibition or publishing a magazine or two (although thirty is overdoing it).

snip

... If one still insists on using the word "art," modern haiku should be called a "second-class art" to distinguish it from the other kinds.

Read the full article here !
http://www.poetrylives.com/SimplyHaiku/SHv4n1/features/Kuwabara.html

Gabi Greve said...

萩枯れて山門高し南禅寺
hagi karete sanmon takashi Nanzen-Ji

bush clover has withered -
the high entrance gate
of temple Nanzen-Ji

MORE
about the temple

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Visiting a "BIG TEMPLE"

大寺や庭一面の霜柱
ootera ya niwa ichimen no shimobashira

this big temple -
in the garden everywhere
pillars of ice


大寺を包みてわめく木の芽かな
ootera o kurumite wameku konome kana

these buds of trees
are calling in pain, being wrapped around
the big temple . . .

It seems there was a large storm in the temple when Kyoshi visited.
The verb wameku implies the wind.
Written in 1913.

http://japanshrinestemples.blogspot.jp/2013/04/daiji-large-temple.html

.

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

寒紅梅馥郁として招魂社
kankoobai fujuiku to shite shookonsha

red plum blossoms in the cold
are just so fragrant -
Shokon Shrine

MORE

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

菩提樹の実を拾ひをる女人かな
bodaiju no mi o hiroi-oru nyonin kana

some women
pick up the fruit
of the linden trees . . .

. Takahama Kyoshi 高浜虚子 .
in the collection Murooji 室生寺

MORE about temple Muro-Ji

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

顔見世を見るため稼ぎ溜めしとか
kaomise o miru tame kasegi-tameshi to ka

just to watch Kaomise
they work and save money -
or so they say

Gabi Greve - Masaoka Shiki said...

Masaoka Shiki

Later during the New Year of 1895, Shiki wrote

漱石が来て虚子が来て大晦日
Sooseki ga kite Kyoshi ga kite ooomisoka

Soseki came
and Kyoshi came -
New Year's eve

Eating Matsuyama Sushi together . ..

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

漸寒や一万石の城下町
yaya samu ya ichimangoku no jookamachi


light cold in autumn -
this castle town
of ten thousand KOKU

MORE
about castle towns

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

燈台はひくく霧笛は峙てり
toodai wa hikuku muteki wa sobadateri

the lighthouse
is low, the fog horn reaches
up to heaven

toodai, lighthouse

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

at temple Choomeiji 長命寺 Chomei-Ji in Tokyo

三つ食えば葉三片や桜餅 
mitsu kueba yoo sanpen ya sakuramochi 

if you eat three
you have three leaves -
sakuramochi

.

More about this temple

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

At Kasagiyama, Kyoto

笠置路に俤描く桃青忌
Kasagi ji ni omokage egaku Toosei ki

along the Kasagi road
there are traces of the past -
Green Peach Day


. Toosei ki 桃青忌 "Green Peach Memorial Day" for Matsuo Basho .
- kigo for early winter -
.
MORE about the Kasagi region in Kyoto
.