Tan Taigi


Tan Taigi 炭太祇 (たんたいぎ)

(1709 -1771 or ?1738-1791)
宝永6年(1709年) - 明和8年8月9日(1771年9月17日)

He became famous through Masaoka Shiki, who took up his haiku.

Haiku poet of the mid-Edo-period. At the age of 40 he became a priest at the temple Daitoku-Ji 大徳寺 真珠庵 in Kyoto. Later in his life, he stayed in a hermitage called Fuya-An 不夜庵 (Hermitage with no night) in the precincts of the courtesan pleasure quarters Shimabara 島原遊郭 in 1748 and lived as a friend of Yosa Buson. He liked to socialize and drink sake and used to say

When praying to Buddha I write haiku
when praying to the Shinto gods I write haiku.

He also used the haiku names 宮商洞 and 三亭

His haiku collection 太祇句選 and 太祇句選後篇.

Because of his heavy drinking he suffered a brain hemorrhage and died in the Year Meiwa 8. He is burried at the temple Korin-ji in Kyoto.

© haikuhaikai

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


kigo for early autumn

Taigi Ki 太祗忌 (たいぎき) memorial day for Taigi
Fuya An Ki 不夜庵忌(ふやあんき)
memorial day for Fuya-An

His Death day is August 9 in the Year Meiwa 8.

other sources quote
宝永6年(1709年) - 明和8年8月9日(1771年9月17日)
September 19, 1771

sagaribana saite Taigi-ki shuushikeri

a tropical flower
with hanging blossoms -
memorial day of Taigi

Tansei 丹生
Tr. Gabi Greve

(sagaribana : Barringtonia racemosa, a tropical flower of Okinawa)
. . . CLICK here for Photos of the hanging blossoms !



Buson's bond with the poet, Tan Taigi (d. 1771), who taught him spontaneity in verse, is evident in the haiga, Taigi and Buson in a Storm, (1777), a sketch to celebrate their camaraderie on the seventh anniversary of Taigi's demise.
The latter is clinging onto a brolly blown inside out, with one clog flung asunder, while Buson clutches his half-closed one, both weathering the elements.

source : www.asianartnewspaper.com


nomikiri shi tabi no hi kazu ya koojusan

many days on the road
with nothing left any more -
my summer medicine

(Tr. Gabi Greve)
Chinese medicine and Haiku


kusa no to ya tatami kaetaru natsu harae

reed door -
tatami mats changed for the
summer purification
(tr. Gabi Greve)

Summer Purification and Haiku

taimatsu ni amagoi-gyoo ya yoru no mine

rain rituals
in the light of torches -
mountain peaks at night

(Tr. Gabi Greve)

haisu tote eboshi otosu na tsukasa meshi

at the audience
don't drop your official hat -
governor's promotion

tsukasameshi 司召 (つかさめし)
governor promotion (in autumn)

gosoo no sono tekagita ya ominugui

the smell of the hands
of the honorable priests -
cleaning the statue

O-Mi-Nugui 御身拭 cleansing of the Amida statue


kanshoku ya kamado o meguru aburamushi

cool food -
cockroaches search
around the hearth

Ritual of eating cold food - kanshoku setsu


gete nosete uma mo asobu ya Fuji no mori

with an unskilled rider
even the horse can have fun -
Fujimori festival

. Fujimori Shrine Festival 藤森祭

. River Horikawa in Kyoto 堀川や .
with a haiku sweet


kangetsu ya ware hitori yuku hashi no oto

in a free rendering this conveyes

moon in the cold -
only my own footsteps
on the bridge

Moon and his KIGO

(hashi no oto ... the sound of a bridge)
Imagine the Edo period, a lone late pedestrian in wooden clogs, which resound on the long wooden bridge.
In longhand, this haiku would read

moon in the cold -
the sound of the bridge
as I walk over it alone

《季語》 寒月(冬)。《参考》橋は長い板橋、履物は恐らく下駄であろう。視覚と聴覚で、寒々として静まり返った冬夜の雰囲気をよく詠みとっている。〔名句辞典〕

Geta, wooden Japanses sandals Straw sandals (zoori)

lune froide
seul je marche
le bruit du pont

source : Taigi haiku in French by Nekojita



. moon and sun
become the hands of man -
copying sutras in summer .


. for the opening of the tea jar
there are visitors over night -
mountain retreat .


kövér szúnyogok

source : Tagi Haiku in Hungarian, www.terebess.hu

yamaji kite muko jooka ya tako no kazu

oltre il valico in fondo
una città fortificata,
e stormi di aquiloni

source : Taigi in Italian . alberto cane


ochite naku / ko ni koe kawasu / suzume kana

Mit dem Kind, das aus
dem Nest fiel, tauscht sie Tschilpen aus,
die Spatzenmutter!

mizugame e / nezumi no ochi-shi / yosamu kana

In den Wasserkrug
ist eine Maus gefallen
kalt ist schon die Nacht!

bôfuri ya / teru hi ni kawaku / ne-nashi-mizu

Mückenlarven –
in heißer Sonne trocknend
Tümpel ohne Zufluß

source : Ekkehard May . haiku-dhg


Japanese Reference

炭太 祇

Related words

***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 

Memorial Days SAIJIKI



Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Kagekiyo wa jishuumatsuri ni mo Shichibyooe

at the Jishu festival also is just

Tan Taigi

More about Kagekiyo

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

hatsu yuki ya isha ni sake dasu okuzashiki

first snow !
we serve sake to the doctor
in the innermost room
more about the oku zashiki

Gabi Greve said...

na oriso to orite kure keri sono no ume

"Don't break it!" he says,
then breaks off and gives me
a branch of his plum.

-- Taigi, trans. Harold Henderson


Gabi Greve said...

Comment by Larry Bole on facebook

The following is excerpted from Cheryl Crowley's book, "Haikai Poet Yosa Buson and the Basho Revival" (Brill, 2007):

"Taigi was a professional poet ('tenja') who had a great deal of experience and knowledge of haikai...

"Tan Taigi was a complex and gifted character who followed an unconventional lifestyle---a wanderer for most of his life, he rarely stayed in the same place or stuck with the same haikai style for long. At the same time, however, he was a brilliant poet, and Buson admired him a great deal. For Buson, Taigi was a good example of someone who lived in a 'zoku' [ie. vulgar] environment yet transcended it with the very high caliber of the verse he wrote.

"Taigi was a poet of formidable, if somewhat eccentric reputation. His tastes were eclectic; his verses appear in the collections of a wide variety of factions, and his own approach to haikai was as ambitions as Buson's. ... With the help of a brothel owner, Donshi, he set up a studio in Kyoto's Shimabara licensed district, Fuya-an, and supported himself with work as a 'tenja'. ...

"Despite the fact that Taigi lived in the licensed district under the patronage of a brothel owner, his verse maintains a serene detachment from vulgarity and worldy concerns. This is what most impressed Buson, who was aiming for a similar kind of high-mindedness in his own verse."

Gabi Greve said...

comment by Larry Bole on faceboon

Blyth likes Taigi. In "A History of Haiku: Volume One," Blyth devotes an entire chapter to Taigi. Blyth begins the chapter by saying, "Taigi ... can be thought of as the greatest haiku writer after the Great Four, Basho, Buson, Issa, and Shiki. In fact, if we read only his best verses, he may seem to be as good as they."

Here are two of Taigi's haiku that, to me, display a sense of humor:

amata ka no chi ni fukure iru zazen kana

Myriad mosquitoes
Blown out with blood;
--Taigi, trans. Blyth

fugu kuishi hito no negoto no nembutsu kana

The man who ate swellfish
Says the nembutsu
In his sleep.
--Taigi, trans. Blyth

In this chapter, Blyth translates 56 of Taigi's haiku. Blyth ends the chapter by saying:

"The greatness of Taigi is connected with his realization that haiku is not religion, as with Basho; it is not art, as Buson thought; it is not Issa's consolation for the tragic irony of life; haiku is, or should be, life itself, no more, no less."

Gabi Greve said...

Comment by Naoxx Uexxx on facebook
Tan Taigi opened a School "不夜庵(Fuya-an)” at ”Shimabara” and taught Haikai and Waka to Oiran and Geiko.
Buson loved to visit Shimabara where he had a Geisha girl friend "Koito".
Buson wrote a preface to the 「太祇句選」Kusen of Tan Taigi. They were bosom friend. Kyoto Shimabara "Sumiya" .