SHIKI - Matsuyama


. - Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 Introduction - .

- his hometown, Matsuyama 松山 -

A haiku friend asked: WHO was Matsuyama?
Well, here is the answer.

Matsuyama is an old castle town on the Western side of the Island of Shikoku, where Masaoka Shiki used to live and teach haiku.

The famous novel "Botchan" by Natsume Soseki also takes place in Matsuyama. It is a town full of literature inspirations.

CLICK for more photos of the hot spring !
And the old hot spring Dogo Onsen is a great place to relax.


Shiki Memorial Museum in Matsuyama  - search for his haiku :
source : sikihaku.lesp.co.jp/community/search


haru ya mukashi juugomangoku no jookamachi

"Spring season
reminds me of the capital town of 150,000 goku."

Matsuyama implied in the Shiki's haiku remains as a capital of haiku.

When you walk around in the Matsuyama town, you will find, in many places, haiku monuments and haiku posts at which you can mail a brandnew haiku you have just created. Do you know why? Haiku artists noted in connection with this haiku town are Shiki Masaoka, Kyoshi Takahama, Kusatao Nakamura, Hagyo Ishida, etc. who are very famous.

Soseki Natsume who participated in the haiku parties convened by Shiki, etc. left several haikus such as
"A long day, we pass yawns and depart."

Santoka Taneda, a wandering haiku artist who demonstrated free-style haikus, became a resident of Matsuyama when he got old. In the Isoan house where he lived, you will see a haiku monument showing
"Dirty water becomes clear while flowing."

How about taking a walk in the Matsuyama town along with these haikus. The sky in Matsuyama seen by Shiki and other artists will open before you.

CLICK for more photos of the castle !

Matsuyama ya aki yori takaki tenshukaku

- my Matsuyama -
the castle tower looks higher
than the autumn sky

- - - - - Matsuyama castle has some interesting features.
The way up the hill has a part called nana-magari 七曲 seven steep curves.
Usually they all go up, but in Matsuyama two of them go down, which is confusing for the enemy and in the end they often loose their sense of orientation.

Once inside the main gate, the road continues in curves to the right. The human body is made to prefere curves to the left, with the left leg (the standing left) keeping balance and the right leg swinging around. The left curves are also confusing to the enemy.

This is the only castle with a well in the compound, about 40 m deep. How was this well constructed?
It was not dug into the ground, but - the castle is acutally build on two mountains, with a spring at the valley inbetween the mountains. The Lord Yoshiaki ordered the mountains to be lowered and use the earth to fill up around the spring, constructing it into a well.
(The Lord had seen a mountain castle in Korea where the soldiers had mostly died by lack of water during a long siege, and Yoshiaki wanted to prevent this to happen in his castle.)

- quote -
Matsuyama Castle (松山城 Matsuyama-jō)
... built in 1603 on Mount Katsuyama, whose height is 132 meters ...
... built by Kato Yoshiaki in 1603.
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. jookamachi, 城下町 Jokamachi, castle towns .

. tenshukaku 天守閣 castle tower, donjon, keep .


Touring Haiku Monuments in Matsuyama

Matsuyama is blessed with mild natural feature and climate, in addition to that, is well known for the oldest hot spring Dogo-spa.
So many of the gratest names in literature and culture visited Matsuyama from old time and a good many Tanka were composed in Manyohshu and other collection of Tanka from ancient time.

Recently, Matsuyama has produced many Haiku Originator, Kyokudoh Yanagihara ,Kyoshi Takahama,Hekigoto Kawahigashi,Kusatao Nakamura,Hakyoh Ishida and so on, under the leadership of Shiki Masaoka, Matsuyama is named "Town of Haiku".

Consequently, we can catch sight of a number of literature monuments and remains that amount to well over 480 in the city. Ehime University Library plans to make the Touring Haiku monuments to refer to "Haiku Country - Matsuyama ".

Tour of Haiku Monuments (Haiku Country - Matsuyama)


Dogo Onsen,
in the outskirts of Matsuyama, is one of Japan's oldest spa baths, and is characterized by a heavy wooden, late 19th c. public bath house, which is almost like a castle. Inside, the baths come in several classes, the highest consisting of private rooms. The baths themselves, filled with colorless and odourless water, are rather small - even the economy class bath -, so it can get crowded.
Natsume Soseki, in his novel Botchan, has the hero swim around in it, but that seems quite a feat. Anyway, as the bath is invariably overrun by noisy tourists, it is better to head out for the
Masaoka Shiki Memorial Museum in Dogo Park for a cultural experience...


samukeredo sake mo ari yu mo aru tokoro

It is cold, but
we have sake
and the hot spring


Memorial Hall of Masaoka Shiki,
Shiki-Do 子規堂

CLICK for more photos / www.city.matsuyama.ehime.jp

In the compounds of the temple Shoju-Ji
(Shoojuu ji 正宗寺(しょうじゅうじ).

haruka ni mo kishi Shikidoo no yoka no ame

I came from so far away
to the Shiki Hall -
rain on the late cherry blossoms

Tr. Gabi Greve

NHK, Haiku Okoku Member, May 2008


furusato ya oya sukoyaka ni sushi no aji

my dear hometown -
my mother is well and
the taste of sushi

. Matsuyama sushi 松山鮓 and Masaoka Shiki  

. Matsuyama no shiro o miorosu samusa kana .

. Shiki and his furusato hometown haiku .


External LINKS about Matsuyama and Haiku

The Matsuyama Declaration, 1999

Let's Give Poetry Back to the People...
A World Poetry Revolution in the 21st Century

It has been about 100 years since the death of Shiki, who ignited the haiku reform movement. Precedents for the declaration which we propose here are Shimazaki Toson's preface to his poetry collection of about 100 years ago in which Toson stated that "The age of new poetry has finally come" and the Surrealism Manifesto of Andre Breton that appeared about 75 years ago. But it has been a long time since we have witnessed the birth of this kind of new poetic manifesto. In the world of Japanese haiku also, there has recently been a demand for reform and for an end to a prolonged state of stagnancy.

In this declaration, we have concentrated on the essential universality of haiku that has been present since the days of Shiki's reform. By taking into account the circumstances in which haiku spread to the world in the past, we have made projections about its future possibilities globally. In the context of universalization of haiku we think it should be presented to the poets all over the world to work with the application of fixed-form and season words. We wish to openly welcome those poems from all over the world that possess the haiku spirit. By making use of a traditional fixed form of poetry, the Japanese have succeeded in applying a grammar unique to the Japanese language, such as kireji, and condensing the poem to 17 syllables.

We feel that in all languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Arabic and Spanish, we can find ways to condense diction for the purpose of poetic expression. We also believe that an understanding of the value of silence will greatly contribute to the broadening of poetic space in each language. We hope that the poets of the world will share the achievements of the Japanese haiku masters with us and that they will take part in this poetic movement to resolutely pursue ways to condense their own language.

The Matsuyama Declaration of 12 September, 1999 is a statement made by the following people:
Arima Akito, Minister of Education of Japan Haga Toru, President of Kyoto University of Art and Design, Ueda Makato, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University Soh Sakon, Poet Kaneko Tohta, President of the Modern Haiku Society Jean Jacques Origas, French Oriental Language Research Institute

Read more here:

... ... ...

The Matsuyama Message 2000
(Supplement to the Matsuyama Declaration)
- Reference

Kiyose - Collection of season words in Japan
--- https://sites.google.com/site/ ...


Matsuyama Haiku Ninja 俳句ニンジャ
source : matsuyamahaikublog


Matsuyama and Daruma Dolls
By Gabi Greve
. Matsuyama Daruma Princess Dolls

A good friend of Shiki in Matsuyama

. Natsume Soseki (Sooseki 夏目漱石) .


. Shiki - Cultural Keywords and ABC-List .

Join the Masaoka Shiki - Study Group on facebook!

Related words

***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 



Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legends about Onsen Hot Springs 温泉と伝説
. Eight old Hot Springs 八古湯
since the Heian Period - 平安時代の「八古湯」 .

有馬温泉 - Arima Onsen - Hyogo
道後温泉 - Dogo Onsen - Ehime
岩井温泉(鳥取県)Iwai Onsen - Tottori
いわき湯本温泉 - Iwaki Yumoto Onsen - Fukushima
川渡温泉(宮城県)- Kawatabi Onsen - Miyagi
鳴子温泉 - Naruko Onsen - Miyagi
玉造温泉 - Tamatsukuri Onsen - Shimane
湯元温泉 - Yumoto Onsen - Ibaraki

Gabi Greve said...

Old Kaido highways and Matsuyama
Io Kaidō 伊予街道 Io Highway / 土佐街道 Tosa Kaido

Gabi Greve said...

Legends from Ehime
Mitsu Kaido 三津街道 Mitsu Highway

kisha modoru Mitsu Kaido ya oborozuki

the train comes back
on the old Mitsu Kaido -
hazy moon
. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 and 松山 Matsuyama .