1/24/2008

Sumidagawa River

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Sumidagawa River and Katsushika

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


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Explanation

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The Sumida River (隅田川, Sumida-gawa) is a river which flows through Tokyo, Japan. It branches from the Arakawa River at Iwabuchi and flows into Tokyo Bay. Its tributaries include the Kanda and Shakujii rivers.

What is now known as the "Sumida River" was previously the path of the Arakawa, however towards the end of the Meiji era work was carried out to divert the main flow of the Arakawa to prevent flooding.

The noh play Sumidagawa, which the British composer Benjamin Britten saw while visiting Japan in 1956, inspired him to compose Curlew River (1964), a dramatic work based on the story.

The kabuki play, Sumidagawa--Gonichi no Omokage, is perhaps better known by the title Hokaibo, which is the name of the central character. This stage drama was written by Nakawa Shimesuke, and it was first produced in Osaka in 1784. It was recreated in New York City's Lincoln Center Festival in the summer of 2007, with Nakamura Kansaburo XVIII leading the cast.

The poet Matsuo Bashō lived by the Sumida River, alongside the famous banana tree (Japanese: bashō) from which he takes his nom de plume.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !



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隅田川両岸一覧 - Both shores of the Sumida River
by Hokusai 葛飾北斎


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A long scroll along the Sumida river during the seasons, depicting festivals.












With small prints of 16 images
- source : item.rakuten.co.jp/rokka-an


Ehon Sumidagawa ryōgan ichiran|
- further reference -

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. Ryōgoku 両国 - Ryogoku bridge 両国橋  .

In 1659, the Ryōgoku Bridge was built, spanning the Sumida River just upstream of its confluence with the Kanda River.

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Fukagawa 深川 and the
Tatsumi Geisha 辰巳芸者

tatsumi is the south-east direction of Edo castle.
Town Geisha of the Fukagawa area


Yanagawa Shigenobu 柳川重信 1811~1823

The geisha from this district were quite famous, selling "only their art, not their body".

. Geisha, Oiran and pleasure quarters 芸者,花魁 .


. Fukagawa 深川 and Edo 江戸  .


haori geisha 羽織芸者 geisha wearing a haori coat



- quote
Women of the Pleasure Quarters: The Secret History of the Geisha
By Lesley Downer
Above their plain, understated kimonos they wore a haori, a loose jacket with huge sleeves originally worn by men. This gave them a raffish air reminiscent of the kabuki actors who played women's roles . . .
- source : books.google.co.jp



source : knko66.exblog.jp


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Worldwide use


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Things found on the way


Haiku Memorial Stones
Along the Sumida River



upstream
and here downstream
moonviewing buddies


kawakami to kono kawashimo ya tsuki no tomo


first snow -
on the new bridge
almost completed


hatsu yuki ya kakekakaritaru hashi no ue


Look at more HERE
© Tr. Ad G. Blankestijn, Japan.

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Utagawa Hiroshige (歌川 広重)

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HAIKU


. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

はつ雪や雪隠のきはも角田川
hatsu yuki ya setchin no kiwa mo sumida-gawa

first snowfall--
bordering the outhouse
Sumida River



猫なくや中を流るる角田川
neko naku ya naka nagaruru sumida-gawa

cats' love calls--
between them flows
Sumida River




淋しさや汐の干る日も角田河
sabishisa ya shio no hiru hi mo sumida-gawa

loneliness--
even on a low tide day
Sumida River



木がらしの吹ばふけとや角田川
kogarashi no fukaba fuke to ya sumida-gawa

"If you're gonna blow
winter wind, then blow!'
Sumida River



蓬莱に夜が明込ぞ角田川
hôrai ni yo ga akekome zo sumida-gawa

day breaks
over the eternal youth ornament...
Sumida River


Hôrai (hoorai) is a mythical island of eternal youth. On New Year's Day offerings are set on a special table in its honor.


Read more HERE
Tr. David Lanoue


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source : nihonbi - Lara Chho


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Matsuo Basho
Beginning lines of Oku no Hosomichi


Days and months are travellers of eternity.
So are the years that pass by.


Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the earth till they succumb to the weight of years, spend every minute of their lives travelling. There are a great number of ancients, too, who died on the road. I myself have been tempted for a long time by the cloud-moving wind - filled with a strong desire to wander.

It was only towards the end of last autumn that I returned from rambling along the coast. I barely had time to sweep the cobwebs from my broken house on the River Sumida before the New Year, but no sooner had the spring mist begun to rise over the field than I wanted to be on the road again to cross the barrier-gate of Shirakawa in due time.
Tr. Nobuyuki Yuasa



shared by Isabelle Loverro, JOJ

旅人と我が名呼ばれん初時雨
tabibito to waga na yobaren hatsu shigure

a traveller
that should be my name -
first winter drizzle


. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 .


. WKD : Travel, Traveler's Sky (tabi, tabi no sora) .

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Sumidagawa Noh Play

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quote
Sumida-gawa
In Musashi Province at dusk on a spring day, a boatman is gathering passengers at the quay for the ferry that crosses the Sumida-gawa River for the final time that day. A traveler arrives and tells him that a crazy woman will soon come. The boatman decides to wait for her. The madwoman came to Musashi Province all the way from Kyoto to look for her child who was kidnapped by a slave trader. The boatman asks her to act crazy to amuse him if she wants to get on board. The madwoman therefore claims there is a similarity between Ariwara no Narihira and herself, while quoting the old poem “Miyakodori," in episode nine of “Ise Monogatari (Tale of Ise)." The people at the quay of the ferryboat are impressed by her speech, and ultimately she is allowed on board

While maneuvering the ferry, the boatman tells about Umewakamaru, a child who died at the opposite Shimousa-Province shore of this river exactly one year ago to the day, March 15. He asks the passengers to participate in the ceremony for the first-year memorial of his death. Although the ferryboat arrives on the opposite shore and all the passengers get off the boat, the madwoman stays on the boat and continues to cry. When the boatman asks her the reason, she reveals that the deceased child was her son, whom she came all the way from Kyoto to find.

The boatman invites her to the burial mound of Umewakamaru and urges her to console the son's soul by saying nembutsu, the invocation to Amitabha Buddha, with him. The woman in sorrow regains control of herself, beats shōko (a kind of gong), and recites the invocation. Then, the ghost of Umewakamaru appears from the inside of his tomb. Although she approaches and tries to hug him, the phantom goes through her arms. Her sadness increases even more. Eventually, the horizon to the east starts to grow light, and the ghost disappears at the dawn. The mother remains crying at the mound.



Highlight
Women like the mother in Sumida-gawa are called “crazy women," and the noh dramas, whose protagonists are madwomen, are called “kyōjomono (drama of madwomen)." This category includes Sakura-gawa, Hyakuman, and Hanjo.

The stories of madwomen dramas usually have a happy ending. In most of the madwomen stories, although a mother was torn away with her beloved, such as a child or husband, for some reason and temporarily becomes distraught because of her increasing affection, the woman meets the loved one and regains her sanity at the end. However, in Sumida-gawa, the child is already dead and the mother can only see his phantom and hear his voice. This is a representative piece of tragic “monoguruinoh (noh drama of madness)."

The meticulous calculation and careful preparation of this mother and son's story induce tears for this tragic story. First, the distance from Kyoto to Sumida-gawa River is described by comparing the far-off, rural provinces with the capital, Kyoto. By using the story of traveling east in the Tale of Ise, this drama impresses on the audience how far and how undeveloped the eastern provinces and Mutsu in the far east are. The situation emphasizes the tragedy of the son, who had to die alone at such an undeveloped place, and the love and sorrow of his mother, who has come all the way to such a frontier area to look for her son.

In the scene of the phantom at the ending, Zeami tried to express the ghost only by the performance of the mother, so no juvenile actor appears on the stage. On the other hand, Motomasa, the author of this drama, wanted to have a juvenile actor on the stage. It is said that therefore in their time there were two different sets of stage directions for this drama. According to tradition, Motomasa tried to complete this mother-son tragedy by comparing the gallant image that the mother has from her son's living days and the appearance of the juvenile ghost who is in burial outfit with messy hair and wandering around because he cannot go to the Buddhist Paradise.

This extremely sad story captivated people's heart and was incorporated into the performance of other stage arts, such as Kabuki and Jōruri at a later date.
source : www.the-noh.com/en

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Related words

Katsushika (葛飾区, Katsushika-ku)
is one of the special wards of Tokyo, Japan. It lies in the northeast of the ward area. The ward calls itself Katsushika City in English.
The long running film series, the Otoko wa Tsurai yo series starring Kiyoshi Atsumi as Tora-san, takes place in Katsushika, as does the manga series, Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

かつしかや煤の捨場も角田川
katsushika ya susu no suteba mo sumida-gawa

in Katsushika
they dump soot there too...
Sumida River



かつかしやかやの中から菊の花
katsushika ya kaya no naka kara kiku no hana

Katsushika--
growing in a mosquito net
a chrysanthemum



かつしかや月さす家は下水端
katsushika ya tsuki sasu ie wa gesui-bata

Katsushika--
a moonlit house
by a sewer



Kobayashi Issa
(Tr. David Lanoue)


Issa wrote poetry that is especially remarkable considering the life of the poet. His mother died when he was very young, and his father's second wife became a plague upon his soul until he left home at the age of thirteen for Edo (now Tokyo) with his father's help, and lived in poverty for twenty years.
His life in Edo is unrecorded until 1787, by which time he was at the Katsushika haiku school. Issa started to write haiku at about the age of 25, having learned it from Genmu and Chiku-a, and had Seibi Natsume as his patron.. Elected to succeed his deceased teacher in 1791, Issa soon resigned and wandered throughout southwest Japan until his father's death in 1801.
source : terebess.hu


Issa wrote:

Farewell to All the Haikai Poets of the Katsushika School:

華の友に 又逢ふ迄ハ 幾春や
hana no tomo ni mata au made wa iku-haru ya

my friends under the blossoms
how many springs
until we meet again?


This hokku was written in the third month of 1791, just as the last cherries were blooming.
It has a headnote, translated above, so we know it was offered as a formal farewell hokku rather than as a hokku about a party under some cherry trees. At the time, the young Issa was a member of the Katsushika school of haikai, and many of his "friends" are probably older and more established haikai poets, so his verse is rather formal, with an extra, sixth syllable ('ni') in the first line that could have been omitted in a more informal setting. It also uses hyperbole, which is appropriate in a formal setting. Although actual cherries were still blooming around the time the hokku was written, the image of being under the cherry blossoms also suggests praise for the blossoming fortunes of the Katsushika school and a comparison of its haikai to the beautiful blossoms on the cherry trees -- that is, the hokku may be a statement that this is the finest group of haikai poets in Edo or possibly even in Japan. The "how many springs" is also probably hyperbolic, intended to praise the school and its haikai master, who are so respected by Issa that even a short journey taking Issa away from the master and the poets in the group will seem like a very long time to him.

Issa's farewell is made because he is about to take a thirty-day leave from his job as scribe for the head haikai master of the Katsushika haikai school and return to his hometown for the first time in 15 years. He must have been rather homesick, and perhaps he also wanted to tell his father he was doing something with his life and was going to try to make a living as a haikai poet and teacher. He was becoming respected as a promising young poet, and perhaps he felt he was now respectable enough to be able to return to his hometown. He would not be welcomed warmly if he returned to his hometown for the first time with nothing to show for his fifteen years in Edo. The polite, formal tone of the hokku suggests that Issa very much wants to meet the Katsushika master and the other haikai poets in the group after he returns. Issa, 29, still has no thoughts of returning to his hometown for good.

Chris Drake


かつしかに知人いくら梅の花
katsushika ni shiru hito ikura ume no hana

in Katsushika
how many people
know plum blossoms?


This hokku is from lunar 8/26 or October 11, 1803, when Issa was on a trip and staying in Fukawa, a town northeast of Edo on the north bank of the Tone River in what is now called Ibaragi Prefecture. The hokku has a short headnote, which is the title of poem 120 in the ancient Chinese anthology known as the Shijing, or Book of Classic Poems, which Issa was studying at the time. The short poem goes:

Lord in a Lambskin Coat

Lambskin coat with leopard-fur cuffs,
You use us without feeling or sympathy.
Others, too, surely want to leave,
But we're used to you and try to endure.

Lambskin coat with leopard-fur cuffs,
You use us, aloof and unfriendly.
Others, too, surely want to leave,
But for old times' sake we try to endure.


The first line of each stanza refers to the fine coat worn by the ruler of a kingdom in ancient China, and these clothes therefore mean the ruler himself. The most common interpretation is that this poem is based on a folk song satirizing the unfeeling, unkind king, though it has also been interpreted as a love song. Issa's hokku is not a mini-translation of this Chinese poem but is apparently a meditation on what he takes to be its basic theme.

Issa is staying in a town located in the Sōma district of Shimōsa Province, but to get there he had to travel from from Edo through the large Katsushika district of Shimōsa, a long, narrow district that ran through the modern prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, and Ibaraga, as well as along the eastern edge of Edo. His destination was Fukawa in Sōma, on the far side of the Tone River from Katsushika. Fukawa was a town populated mostly by river merchants and wholesalers who sold goods to the city of Edo a few miles to the southwest, and a number of literati lived there, including many haijin. In fact, one of Issa's haikai teachers, the samurai Gemmu, was born there and must have introduced Issa to the poets in Fukawa.

Issa first studied haikai under various Katsushika "school" masters, but he seemed to feel a certain lack of freedom and imagination in the haikai of this old school that went back to one of Basho's samurai colleagues, Sodō, and after telling his most recent Katsushika master goodbye in 1791 Issa became a wanderer for eight years, growing during all that time by meeting new people in new places with different styles and approaches. He had never been in line to become a Katsushika master himself, and after he returned to Edo in early 1789 he was not especially welcomed by Katsushika haijin, so he set out to become an independent haikai teacher in the rural Katsushika area of Shimōsa, east of Edo. He had a hard time, and in 1801, his father died, and he seriously began thinking of returning to his hometown, where he could teach local haijin. Issa didn't make much progress toward becoming a self-supporting master in 1803, though he did begin to seriously study Chinese poetry, and one of his reasons for visiting Fukawa seems to have been to study with a teacher of Chinese poetry there.

The relationship between the above hokku and the Chinese poem used as the headnote remains a bit mysterious, but I take the hokku to be comparing the large Katsushika district of Shimōsa with the ancient Chinese kingdom that is the setting of the Chinese poem. The Chinese poem speaks of commoners who are dissatisfied with their unfeeling ruler and therefore want to leave the country, though they feel constrained, and I take Issa to be comparing himself to one of these commoners -- but to one who manages to break the psychological bonds binding him to the past and actually leave the kingdom, just as Issa has passed beyond Katsushika, crossed the Tone river, and arrived at a town in the Sōma district.
This spatial movement seems to be paralleled by Issa's dissatisfaction with the conservative Katsushika school, where he was almost ignored and rarely given much encouragement, and by going beyond the Katsushika district he may be imagining himself taking the first steps toward becoming a haikai teacher in his distant hometown in the mountains of central Honshu. The Katsushika school hierarchy of masters may have suggested to Issa the cold, unfeeling ruler of the Chinese kingdom, an orthodoxy he now wants to leave behind. This sense of setting out on a new haikai journey would account for the lonely yet hopeful mood pervading the other hokku Issa wrote on the same day. One, for example, speaks of getting married when plum blossoms are in bloom, and another evokes someone's father beckoning to the person in the autumn dusk. If this hypothesis is right, then the people who understand plum blossoms are above all the people who deeply and intuitively understand haikai beyond any school -- as well as those who truly understand what family love means.

Chris Drake



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'Mt. Fuji from Sumida' 隅田堤乃夕冨士
Utagawa Kuniyoshi


. Sumida-gawa hakkei 隅田川八景 Eight scenic views from Sumidagawa.
by Hiroshige II 広重 II


***** Oku no Hosomichi 2007 .. Matsuo Basho

***** . Edo 江戸 The City That Became Tokyo - Edopedia .



***** . Place names and Haiku .

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3 comments:

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

outside the front door
blossoming canola
and the Sumida River

na no hana no kado no kuchi yori sumida-gawa

MORE
A hokku sequence, with comments by Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

角田川もっと古びよ時鳥
sumidagawa motto furubi yo hototogisu

Sumida River,
sings the nightingale,
become older, older

This hokku is from lunar 4/3 (May 11) in 1804, when Issa was living in the city of Edo. The Sumida River is a large river that flows through contemporary Tokyo and that in Issa's time ran through eastern Edo. Even in those days, many parts of the Sumida's banks were lined with buildings, but there were also wooded areas along the river here and there, especially in the northern part of the city. The hokku may have been conceived in one such area, since Issa can clearly hear the song of a hototogisu, a smaller relative of the larger bird known as the "common cuckoo" in English and kakkou in Japanese. The smaller hototogisu, found in east and south Asia and in Africa, is often called the "lesser cuckoo," but since its song is rather different from the larger common cuckoo, whose cries are imitated by cuckoo clocks, and since it is particularly famous for singing at night and at dawn, it is sometimes called "nightingale" in English. The cry of the hototogisu sounds emotional and at times otherworldly, and in Issa's time the bird was believed to be a messenger of the mountain god in the other world. Since it arrives in central Japan at around the beginning of May, it was also regarded as the harbinger of summer, and its cry was often interpreted to be the voice of ancestors telling their descendants it was time to plant rice. Since the nightingale was believed to shamanically bring messages from ancestors and has red inside its mouth, it was often said to "cry blood," although Buddhists heard its cry as meaning, "Have you hung up your Buddha image properly?"

Chris Drake

Read the full comment here.
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/translatinghaiku/conversations/messages/4824
.

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

角田川もっと古びよ時鳥
sumidagawa motto furubi yo hototogisu

Sumida River,
sings the nightingale,
become older, older

This hokku is from lunar 4/3 (May 11) in 1804, when Issa was living in the city of Edo. The Sumida River is a large river that flows through contemporary Tokyo and that in Issa's time ran through eastern Edo. Even in those days, many parts of the Sumida's banks were lined with buildings, but there were also wooded areas along the river here and there, especially in the northern part of the city. The hokku may have been conceived in one such area, since Issa can clearly hear the song of a hototogisu, a smaller relative of the larger bird known as the "common cuckoo" in English and kakkou in Japanese. The smaller hototogisu, found in east and south Asia and in Africa, is often called the "lesser cuckoo," but since its song is rather different from the larger common cuckoo, whose cries are imitated by cuckoo clocks, and since it is particularly famous for singing at night and at dawn, it is sometimes called "nightingale" in English. The cry of the hototogisu sounds emotional and at times otherworldly, and in Issa's time the bird was believed to be a messenger of the mountain god in the other world. Since it arrives in central Japan at around the beginning of May, it was also regarded as the harbinger of summer, and its cry was often interpreted to be the voice of ancestors telling their descendants it was time to plant rice. Since the nightingale was believed to shamanically bring messages from ancestors and has red inside its mouth, it was often said to "cry blood," although Buddhists heard its cry as meaning, "Have you hung up your Buddha image properly?"

Chris Drake

Read the full comment here.
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/translatinghaiku/conversations/messages/4824
.