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高浜虚子 (高濱虛子)
Takahama Kyoshi

(1874–1959)

 

One Hundred and One Exceptional Haiku Poems by Kyoshi Takahama

(虚子秀句・百一選英訳 Kyoshi shuuku hyakuissen eiyaku
The Hiyoshi Review of English Studies (慶應義塾大学日吉紀要 英語英米文学), 51, pp.85 - 112 , 2007

Translated by Katsuya Hiromoto

 

Kyoshi Takahama (1874–1959) born Kiyoshi Ikenouchi in Matsuyama, Ehime, was a haiku master and novelist during the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras. Following an introduction by Hekigodo Kawahigashi (1873–1937), a fellow pupil at Iyo Ordinary Middle School, he looked to Shiki Masaoka (1867–1902) for guidance related to literature.

He became a judge of haiku poems in the literature column of the Kokumin Shimbun, or the Tokyo Shimbun as it is known today, a newspaper founded by Soho Tokutomi in 1890. In 1898 he commenced presiding over the Hototogisu (meaning ‘a little cuckoo’), a haiku magazine started by Kyokudo Yanagihara (1867–1957) in 1897, to which he contributed his haiku and essays. In 1907 he became more ambitious in his attempts to write novels instead of haikuhe produced such work as Keitoh (A Cockscomb), a collection of short stories, and two novels called Haikaishi (A Haikai Poet) and Zoku Haikaishi (A Sequel to a Haikai Poet). However, in 1913 (i.e., the 2nd year of Taisho) he announced his decision to return to the haiku scene and to stick to the conservative way of writing haiku, calling himself ‘Shukyuh-ha,’or ‘the old guard.’This created a different current from Shin-keikoh haiku, or the new trend haiku, the emphasis of which was on demonstrating individuality and social consciousness.

His introductory works such as Haiku no Tsukuri yoh (How to Compose Haiku, 1914) and Susumu beki Haiku no Michi (The Proper Direction an objective sketch of nature. On 1 June 1927 at Sazanka kukai, a camellia haiku gathering, he defined haiku as poetry of ka-choh fuhei,’ literally for Haiku, 1918) make it clear that haiku poets should keep to a 5–7–5 syllabic form, contain a reference to the seasons in their works, and make meaning ‘an elegant way of describing bird and flower.’It is assumed that he meant that haiku poets should be focused on the phenomena of nature seen in the change of each season and on that of the human world in correspondence. Believing in this theory, he was a steadfast pillar of the circles of haiku, contributing to the success of the Hototogisu group, which turned out many talented young haiku poets. In 1954 he was conferred the Order of Culture by the Emperor of Japan.

From his vast collection of haiku [Takahama wrote 40,000 to 50,000 haiku in his lifetime!] I selected 101 poems and translated them into English, referring to the first four volumes of Teihon: Takahama, Kyoshi Zenshu (The Complete Works of Kyoshi Takahama, A Standard Edition), 16 vols. (Tokyo: Mainichi Shimbun-sha, 1974–75).

 

Notes:

 

M: The Meiji era (1868–1912)
T: The Taisho era (1912–26)
S: The Showa era (1926–89)

 

 

I. The earlier Meiji era (明治前期)

 

1.          春雨の衣桁に重し恋衣 M27

Haru-same no / ikoh ni omoshi / koi-goromo

 

Spring rain
Heavy on the rack
Are clothes of love

 

 

2.  怒濤岩を噛む我を神かと朧の夜 M29

      Dotoh iwa wo kamu / ware wo kami ka to / oboro no yo

 

    Surging waves biting the rocks

      Considered myself a god

     On a night with a hazy moon

 

 

3. その中にちいさき神や壺すみれ M29

       Sono naka ni / chiisaki kami ya / tsubo sumire

 

    In the middle of it

    A little god:

      A violet in the vase

 

 

4.   海に入りて生れかはらう朧月 M29 

       Umi ni irite / umare kawaroh / oboro-zuki

 

        Dipping into the sea

        Hazy moon

        Might be reborn

 

 

5.  蚊帳越しに薬煮る母をかなしみつ M29 

       Kaya goshi ni / kusuri niru haha wo / kanashimi tsu

 

        Feeling sorry about mum
        Who is simmering medicine

Outside the mosquito net

 

 

6.    蝶々のもの食ふ音の静かさよ M30

Choh-choh no / mono kuu oto no / shizukasa yo

 

A butterfly is eating things

A sound that is

So still—

 

 

7.    蛇穴を出て見れば周の天下なり M31

Hebi ana wo / dete mireba / Chou no tenka nari

 

Emerging from the hole

A snake has discovered

That Chou has become the ruler of the nation!

 

 

8.    耳とほき浮世の事や冬籠 M31

Mimi tohki / ukiyo no koto ya / fuyu-gomori

 

Tired of hearing
Worldly things:
Winter confinement

 

 

9.    亀鳴くや皆愚なる村のもの M32

Kame naku ya / mina orokanaru / mura no mono

 

A turtle is crying:

All people are
Stupid in the village

 

 

10. 薔薇呉れて聖書かしたる女かな M32

Bara kurete / seisho kashitaru / onna kana

 

Giving roses,
A woman

Lent me a Bible

 

 

11. 春の夜や机の上の肱まくら M33

Haru no yo ya / tsukue no ue no / hiji-makura

 

The night of spring:
An elbow-pillow

On the desk

 

 

12. 遠山に日の当りたる枯野かな M33

Tohyama ni / hi no ataritaru / kareno kana

 

A distant mountain
Seen in the sunlight:
A desolate field

 

 


13. 美しき人や蚕飼の玉襷 M34

Utsukushi / hito ya kogai no / tama-dasuki

 

A beautiful woman: a silkworm raiser



        Her kimono sleeves pulled back

With a white sash

 

 

14. 肌脱いで髪すく庭や木瓜の花 M35

Hada nuide / kami suku niwa ya / boke no hana

 

In the garden, baring flesh,

She combs her hair:

Flowers of Japanese quinces

 

 

15. 打水に暫く藤の雫かな M35?

Uchi-mizu ni / shibaraku fuji no / shizuku kana

 

The arbor watered

Wisteria flowers are dripping

For a short while

 

 

16. 長き根に秋風を待つ鴨足草 M35

Nagaki ne ni / akikaze wo matsu / yukinoshita

 

Waiting for the autumn wind

At its long root:
Saxifrage

 

 

17. 子規逝くや十七日の月明に M35

Shiki yuku ya / juhshichi-nichi no / getsumei ni

 

Shiki passed away:

In the moonlight

Of the seventeenth day

 

 

 

II. The later Meiji era (明治後期)

 

1.    秋風や眼中のもの皆俳句 M36

Akikaze ya / ganchuh no mono / mina haiku

 

Autumn wind:

Everything meeting ones eyes

Is a haiku

 

 

2.    小説に己が天地や炉火おこる M36

Shohsetsu ni / ono-ga tenchi ya / roka okoru

 

A novel creating

My own universe

A hearth fire is stirred

 

 

3.    瓢箪の窓や人住まざるが如し M36

Hyohtan no / mado ya / hito sumazaru ga gotoshi

 

The window of gourds:
Looks like no one

Lives here

 

 

4.    兄弟の心異る寒さかな M36

Kyohdai no / kokoro kotonaru / samusa kana

 

The difference in the hearts

Of brothers

Makes me chilled—

 

 

5.      ほろほろと泣き合ふ尼や山葵漬 (M37
       Horohoro to / naki-au ama ya / wasabi-zuke

 

Shedding large teardrops together,
Nuns are eating

Wasabi-zuke*

 [*Japanese horseradishes sliced and mixed with sake leftovers]

 

 

6.    むづかしき禅門出れば葛の花 M37

Muzukashiki / zen-mon dereba / kuzu no hana

 

Out of the difficult gate
Of Zen Buddhism
Blossoms of arrowroots

 

 

7.    うき巣見て事足りぬれば漕ぎかへる M38

Uki-su mite / koto tari-nureba / kogi kaeru

 

Spotting the floating nest
We felt contentment in it
And rowed back

 

 

8.    行水の女にほれる烏かな M38

Gyohzui no / onna ni horeru / karasu kana

 

A woman having a tub-bath

A crow falls in love

With her!

 

 

9.    相慕ふ村の灯二つ虫の声 M38

Ai-shitau / mura no hi futatsu / mushi no koe

 

Two lights of the village

Pining for one another

Insects chirping

 

 

10. 昼寝さめて其まゝ雲を見入るなり M38

Hirune samete / sono-mama kumo wo / mi-iru nari

 

Having woken from an afternoon nap

I remained there

To watch the clouds

 

 

11. 座を挙げて恋ほのめくや歌かるた M39

Za wo agete / koi honomeku ya / uta-karuta

 

The entire company gets excited

With the throbbing of lovers’hearts:

Playing with karuta cards bearing verses

 

 

12. すたれ行く町や蝙蝠人に飛ぶ M39

Sutare-yuku / machi ya kohmori / hito ni tobu

 

A rundown town:

Bats are flying

Around people

 

 

13. 桐一葉日当りながら落ちにけり M39

Kiri hito-ha / hi-atari nagara / ochi ni keri

 

A leaf of a paulownia tree

Has fallen

In the sunlight

 

 

14. 秋扇や淋しき顔の賢夫人 M39

Shuh-sen ya / sabishiki kao no / ken-fujin

 

An autumn fan:

The lonely face

Of a clever lady

 

 

15. 君と我うそにほればや秋の暮 M39

Kimi to ware / uso ni horeba ya / aki no kure

 

You and I wish

We loved each others lies

Late in the autumn

 

 

16. 秋空を二つに断てり椎大樹 M39

Akizora wo / futatsu ni tateri / shii taiju

 

Dividing the autumn sky

Into two

A huge chinquapin tree

 

 

17. 老僧の骨刺しに来る藪蚊かな M40

Roh-soh no / hone sashi ni kuru / yabu-ka kana

 

Striped mosquitoes

Come to bite the bones

Of an old priest!

 

 

18. 金亀子擲つ闇の深さかな M41

Kogane-mushi / nageutsu yami no / fukasa kana

 

Throwing away a gold beetle,

How deep

Darkness is!

 

 

19. 凡そ天下に去来程の小さき墓に参りけり M41

Oyoso tenka ni / Kyorai hodo no chiisaki / haka ni mairi keri

 

I visited the rather modest grave

Of Kyorai, renowned

As a haiku poet around the world!

 

 

20. 螽とぶ音杼に似て低きかな M41

Inago tobu / oto osa ni nite / hikuki kana

 

Locusts make a sound

Similar to that of a handloom

Low

 

 

III. The Taisho era (大正時代)

 

1.    霜降れば霜を楯とす法の城 T2

Shimo fureba / shimo wo tate to su / nori no shiro

 

If there is a frost

I will use it as a shield

In the castle of law

 

 

2.    先人も惜みし命二日灸 T2

Senjin mo / oshimishi inochi / futsuka-kyuh

 

Lives were held dear

By predecessors as well

Moxibustion on the second of February

 

 

3.    春風や闘志いだきて丘に立つ T2

Harukaze ya / tohshi idaki te / oka ni tatsu

 

Spring wind:

Full of fight

I stand on the hill

 

 

4. 大寺を包みてわめく木の芽かな (T2

Ohdera wo / tsutsumite wameku / konome kana

 

Wrapping up the big temple

Leaf buds of the trees

Cry out!

 

 

5. 年を以って巨人としたり歩み去る (T2

Toshi wo motte / kyojin to shitari / ayumi saru

 

Considering the years gone by

To be a giant

I walk away

 

 

6. 鎌倉を驚かしたる余寒あり (T3

Kamakura wo / odorokashitaru / yokan ari

 

The cold still lingers
Which was a surprise
To Kamakura

 

 

7. 葡萄の種吐き出して事を決したり (T3

Budo no tane / haki-dashite koto wo / kesshitari

 

A grape seed being

Spit out

A decision was made

 

 

8. これよりは恋や事業や水温む (T5

  Kore-yori wa / koi ya jigyoh ya / mizu nurumu

 

From this time on

Love, enterprise, and such:

Water has warmed up

 

 

9.    露の幹静に蝉の歩き居り T5

Tsuyu no miki / shizukani semi no / aruki ori

 

The dewy trunk

A cicada is silently

Walking on

 

 

10. 木曽川の今こそ光れ渡り鳥 T5

Kisogawa no / imakoso hikare / wataridori

 

Ah, the River Kiso,

Sparkle at this very moment:

Migratory birds

 

 

11. 蛇逃げて我を見し眼の草に残る T6

Hebi nigete / ware wo mishi me no / kusa ni nokoru

 

A snake fled

The stare that it gave me

Remains on the grass

 

the snake flees—

the eyes that saw me

remain in the grass

 

 

12. 野を焼いて歸れば燈下母やさし T7

     No wo yaite / kaereba tohka / haha yasashi

 

Returning after burning off a field

The light is on:

Mum is sweet at home

 

 

13. 秋天の下に野菊の花辨缺く T7

Shuhten no / shita ni nogiku no / kaben kaku

 

Under the autumn sky

A petal of a wild chrysanthemum

Missed

 

 

14. どかと解く夏帯に句を書けとこそ T9

Doka to toku / natsu-obi ni ku wo / kake to koso

 

With a thud she untied

Her broad sash, telling me

To write haiku on it

 

 

15. 人形まだ生きて動かず傀儡師 T10

Ningyoh mada / ikite ugokazu / kairaishi

 

A puppet hasnt been alive yet

To move on the stage:
A puppeteer

 

 

16.  新しき帽子かけたり黴の宿 T10

        Atarashiki / bohshi kaketari / kabi no yado

 

A new hat

Put on

At the moldy inn

 

 

17. 囀の大樹の下の茶店かな T13

Saezuri no / taiju no shita no / chamise kana

 

A tea shop

Under the big tree

In which birds twitter

 

 

18. 春寒のよりそひ行けば人目ある T14

Harusamu no / yorisoi yukeba / hito-me aru

 

Feeling chilly in the spring

We walk close to each other

And people look at us

 

 

19. 白牡丹といふといへども紅ほのか T14)

Haku-botan to / iu to iedomo / koh honoka

 

Although it is called

White peony

Pink is slightly noticeable

 

 

20. 佇めば落葉さゝやく日向かな T14

          Tatazumeba / ochiba sasayaku / hinata kana

 

Standing still for a while

Fallen leaves whisper

In the sunny place

 

 

21. 芽ぐむなる大樹の幹に耳を寄せ T15

Megumu naru / taiju no miki ni / mimi wo yose

 

To the trunk of a big tree

Budding leaves

Ears are brought close

 

 

22. 曼珠沙華あれば必ず鞭うたれ T15

Manjushage / areba kanarazu / muchi-utare

 

Red spider lilies

Cannot but be whipped

If there are any

 

 

23. 大空に伸び傾ける冬木かな T15

Ohzora ni / nobi katamukeru / fuyugi kana

 

Under the wide open sky

A winter tree is spreading

And leaning to one side

 

 

IV. The earlier Showa era (昭和前期)

 

1.    うなり落つ蜂や大地を怒り這ふ S2

Unari otsu / hachi ya daichi wo / ikari hau

 

A bee hums and falls:

Infuriated, it crawls

On the earth

 

 

2.    この庭の遅日の石のいつまでも S2

Kono niwa no / chijitsu no ishi no / itsumademo

 

The rocks in this garden

Remain forever

In the lengthening days of spring

 

 

3.    やり羽子や油のやうな京言葉 S2

Yari-bane ya / abura no yohna / Kyoh-kotoba

 

Battledore and shuttlecock:

The Kyoto accent sounds

As if the words were oiled

 

 

4.    流れ行く大根の葉の早さかな S3

Nagare-yuku / daikon no ha no / hayasa kana

 

The leaf of a Japanese radish

Is flowing away:
How fast it is!

 

 

5. 眼つむれば若き我あり春の宵 (S4

Me tsumureba / wakaki ware ari / haru no yoi

 

Shutting my eyes

I find a young me found

In the spring evening

 

 

6. 紅梅の紅の通へる幹ならん (S6

Kohbai no / beni no kayoeru / miki naran

 

The light pink of red ume* blossoms

Might possibly run through

The trunk of the tree

[*Japanese apricot]

 

 

7. 夜学すゝむ教師の声の低きまゝ (S7

Yagaku susumu / kyohshi no koe no / hikuki mama

 

Night study is progressing

With a teacher speaking

In a low voice

 

 

8.  浴衣着て少女の乳房高からず (S8

       Yukata kite / shohjo no chibusa / takakarazu

 

        The breasts of a girl

        Wearing a cotton kimono

Are lying smooth

 

 

9.    燈台は低く霧笛は峙てり S8

Tohdai wa / hikuku kiribue wa / sobadateri

 

The lighthouse is low

A whistle in the fog

Towers high

 

 

10. 大空に羽子の白妙とゞまれり S10

Ohzora ni / hane no shirotae / todomareri

 

In the blue

The white of a shuttlecock

Stays still

 

 

11. 着飾りて馬来女の跣足かな S11

Ki-kazarite / Malay onna no / hadashi kana

 

A Malaysian woman

Beautifully dressed:

Her feet are bare

 

 

12. 人に耻ぢ神には耻ぢず初詣 S11

Hito ni haji / kami niwa hajizu / hatsu-mohde

 

A visit to the shrine at the beginning of the New Year
Makes me feel shameful in the eyes of others

Not in the eyes of a god

 

 

13. 老人と子供と多し秋祭 S12

Rohjin to / kodomo to ohshi / aki-matsuri

 

Old folks and small kids

Are so plentiful

At the autumn festival

 

 

14. 落花生喰ひつゝ讀むや罪と罰 S12

Rakkasei / kui tsutsu yomu ya / Tsumi to Batsu

 

Munching on peanuts

I read:

Crime and Punishment

 

 

15. 秋晴れや心ゆるめば曇るべし S15

Akibare ya / kokoro yurumeba / kumoru beshi

 

A fine clear autumn day:

It shall get cloudy

If the spirit slackens

 

 

16. よろよろと棹がのぼりて柿挟む S15

Yoroyoroto / sao ga noborite / kaki hasamu

 

A pole staggers upwards

          To pick

 

 

17. 大根を洗ふ手に水従へり S16

Daikon wo / arau te ni / mizu shitagaeri

 

My hands wash a Japanese radish,

Water following

Its movement

 

 

18. 寒鯉の一擲したる力かな S18

Kangoi no / itteki shitaru / chikara kana

 

A cold carp

Leaped up:

Its strength

 

 

19. 雪深く心はずみて唯歩く S20

Yuki fukaku / kokoro hazumite / tada aruku

 

Deep in the snow

I just keep walking

With spirits raised

 

 

20. 城壁にもたれて花見疲れかな S20

Joh-heki ni / motarete hana-mi / zukare kana

 

Leaning against the castle wall

I feel tired

       Of seeing cherry blossoms

 

 

21. 山国の蝶を荒しと思はずや S20

Yamaguni no / choh wo arashi to / omowazu ya

 

Dont you think

Mountain butterflies

Are rough?

 

 

22. 秋蝉も泣き蓑虫も泣くのみぞ S20

Aki-zemi mo / naki minomushi mo / naku nomi zo

 

Both autumn cicadas

And bagworms

Can do nothing but cry

 

 

IV. The later Showa era (昭和後期)

 

1.    耕すにつけ読むにつけ唯独り S21

Tagayasu ni tsuke / yomu ni tsuke / tada hitori

 

Ploughing and reading

In either case

I’m alone

 

 

2.    初蝶来何色と問ふ黄と答ふ S21

Hatsu-choh ku / nani-iro to tou / ki to kotau

 

The first butterfly has come:

Asked for its colour

I answered yellow

 

 

3.          我生の今日の昼寝も一大事 S21

Waga sei no / kyoh no hirune mo / ichi-daiji

 

In my life

Todays afternoon nap is also

A matter of great importance

 

 

4.    あまり明き月に寝惜む女かな S22

Amari akaruki / tsuki ni ne oshimu / onna kana

 

The moon is too bright

For a woman

To go to bed

 

 

5.    何事も野分一過の心かな S22

Nanigoto mo / nowaki ikka no / kokoro kana

 

At all times

My mind-set is

That the autumn blast will pass

 

 

6.    爛々と昼の星見え菌生え S22

Ranranto / hiru no hoshi mie / kinoko hae

 

Stars of the daytime

Appear glaring

Mushrooms grow

 

 

7.    海女とても陸こそよけれ桃の花 S23

Ama totemo / riku koso yokere / momo no hana

 

Even a woman pearl-diver

Admires the land

With peach trees blossoming

 

 

8.    虚子一人銀河と共に西へ行く S24

Kyoshi hitori / ginga to tomoni / nishi e yuku

 

Kyoshi alone

Together with the galaxy

Moves to the west

 

 

9.    彼一語我一語秋深みかも S25

Kare ichi-go / ware ichi-go aki / fukami kamo

 

He utters one word

I utter one word

Autumn is well advanced

 

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

 

 

10. 去年今年貫く棒の如きもの S25

Kozo kotoshi / tsuranuku boh no / gotoki mono

 

Something like a stick

That goes through

Last year and this year

 

 

11. 何事も知らずと答へ老の春 S27

Nanigoto mo / shirazu to kotae / oi no haru

 

“I know nothing.”

Is my answer:

Spring in my old age

 

 

12. ほむらとも我心とも牡丹の芽 S29

Homura tomo / waga kokoro tomo / botan no me

 

Is it a flame

Or my heart?

The bud of the peony

 

 

13. 園丁の鉈の切れ味枯枝飛び S32

Entei no / nata no kire-aji / kare-e tobi

 

The sharpness

Of the gardeners hatchet:

Dry twigs flying away

 

 

14. 空目して額に当る冬日かな S32

Sorame shite / hitai ni ataru / fuyu-bi kana

 

An upward glance cast:

Winter sunlight

Hit the forehead

 

 

15. 新涼や道行く人の声二つ S33

Shin-ryoh ya / michi yuku hito no / koe futatsu

 

The cool of early autumn:

Two voices of people

Walking along the road

 

 

16. よき炭のよき灰になるあはれさよ S33

Yoki sumi no / yoki hai ni naru / awaresa yo

 

Good charcoal turns

Into good ashes:

Isnt it a pity?

 

 

17. ふとしたる事に慌てゝ年の暮れ S33

Futoshitaru / koto ni awatete / toshi no kure

 

Flustered

By something quite trivial:

The closing days of the year

 

 

18. 手力男命登場初日の出 S34

Tajikara-o-no-mikoto / tohjoh / hatsu-hinode

 

Lord Tajikara*

Makes his appearance:

Sunrise on New Years Day

[*A male deity of enormous physical strength in Shinto mythology]

 

 

19. 山吹の莖の靑さに花いまだ S34

Yamabuki no / kuki no aosa ni / hana imada

 

The colour of the Japanese kerria stem

Is green:

Blossoms are not out

 

Source:

http://koara.lib.keio.ac.jp/xoonips/modules/xoonips/download.php?file_id=14444

http://koara.lib.keio.ac.jp/xoonips/modules/xoonips/download.php?koara_id=AN10030060-20071215-0085

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Quiet Joy of Peace and Harmony:
Kyoshi Takahamas Life and Literature
(高浜虚子 : 和の楽しみ Takahama Kyoshi : wa no tanoshimi)
The Hiyoshi Review of English Studies (
慶應義塾大学日吉紀要 英語英米文学), 53 , pp.31 - 74 , 2008

勝也広本

Katsuya Hiromoto

 

 

 

Introduction

 

In the seventh year of Meiji (1874), the haiku poet Kyoshi Takahama was born at 3 Shincho (present-day 4-chome, Minatomachi), Nagamachi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime-ken. His real name was Kiyoshi Ikenouchi. His father, Masatada Shoshiro Ikenouchi, was a kenjutsu fencing master and secretary (yuhhitsu) of the Matsushima clan. In the Western world, G. K. Chesterton, Robert Frost, Sir Winston Churchill, and Somerset Maugham were born in the same year. In the previous year, 1873, Rimbauds A Season in Hell was published. Dostoevskys The Brothers Karamazov (1880) appeared when Kyoshi was six. In the thirty-first year of Meiji (1898), Kyoshi, at the age of 24, assumed the editorship of Hototogisu, a haiku poetry magazine—in the preceding year when Kyokudo Yanagihara launched it, Joseph Conrads Nigger of the Narcissus, Thomas Hardys The Well-Beloved, H. G. Wells’ Invisible Man, Andre Gidés Fruits of the Earth, and Edmond Rostands Cyrano de Bergerac were published.

In 1916, the fifth year of Taisho, when Franz Kafkas The Transformation was published, Kyoshi, at the age of 42, wrote Tetsumon (The Iron Gate), a Noh play, and Kaki Futatsu (Two Persimmons), a novel. In the tenth year of Taisho (1921), Hototogisu published its 300th issue, coinciding with the publication of James Joyces Ulysses and T. S. Eliots The Waste Land. In the first year of Showa D. H. Lawrence started to write Lady Chatterleys Lover, whereas Kyoshi put forth kachoh-fuhei,’ his own unique way of composing haiku, focused on the natural landscape of each season the next year. In 1937 Kyoshi became a member of the Imperial Art Academy at the age of 63 while Sartres Nausea came out the following year. Camuss The Outsider in 1942 precedes Kyoshis essay Haiku no Gojuh Nen (50 Years of Haiku) by one year. In the year of Beckets Waiting for Godot (1953), Kyoshi, at the age of 79, became a judge of haiku poems with miscellaneous subjects submitted to Tamamo (A Gem of Algae), a magazine run by Tatsuko Hoshino, Kyoshis second daughter, while she was staying in South America. Minimally influenced by the literary milieu of the time, Kyoshi was prolific in his writings of haiku as well as novels and essays. His haiku is markedly different from the writings of Western literature that some critics consider to be dai-ichi geijutsu (the first arts). Through a lifetime of efforts he helped to promote the growth of haiku, which resulted in increasing readers’ awareness of its value around the world.

Dividing Kyoshi Takahamas life and literary activities into the following five segments, I shall illustrate the characteristics of each period as shown in his achievements: the early Meiji, the late Meiji, the Taisho, the early Showa, and the late Showa.

 

 

I. The early Meiji era:

“Images” in Hekigodos Work vs. Time” in Kyoshis Work

 

In May 1891, at the age of 17, Kyoshi began to dabble in haiku when he wrote a letter to Shiki Masaoka (18671902), who was born in the same native town and was seven years his senior. They were introduced by Hekigodo Kawahigashi (18731937), a fellow pupil at Iyo Jinjo Chugakko (Iyo Ordinary Middle School) in Matsuyama. That same month, Shiki happened to return home for a visit and Kyoshi seized the opportunity to meet him. Shown one of his haiku poems on that occasion, Kyoshi was much impressed.


 

  山々は萌黄浅黄やほととぎす

Yama-yama wa / moegi asagi ya / hototogisu

 

 

Mountains are

 

Full of yellowish green and light yellow—

A little cuckoo

 

 

Together with Hekigodo, Kyoshi joined in the haiku meeting organized by Shiki the next month. In October, Shiki created the pen name of Kyoshi for him, based on its similarity to his real name, Kiyoshi. Soon after finishing middle school in April 1892, he met Soseki Natsume, a college student who came to stay at Shikis house in Matsuyama in August. Entering Dai-San Koto Chugakko (the Third Higher School) in Kyoto in September, he found lodging in Kamichoja-cho, and moved first to Seigoin-cho and then to Yoshida-cho. Entering the same school in September 1893, Hekigodo took a room at Mr. Nakagawas house in Yoshida-cho where Kyoshi had already boarded. Calling it Kyodo-an (Hermitage of Kyodo) or Sohshoh-an (Hermitage of two pine trees), they went for long walks through the suburbs of Kyoto and Nara to compose haiku and they edited circulating magazines.

Developing an interest in producing larger literary works than haiku, Kyoshi wished to leave school halfway through to become a disciple of popular writers such as Ogai Mori and Rohan Koda. However, when he asked Shiki for advice, Shiki strongly advised him against it, forcing him to


consider how he planned to make a living in the future.

 

Following the eruption of the Sino-Japanese War in August 1894, Dai-San Koto Chugakko was closed in September. Kyoshi, Hekigodo, and their fellow students moved to the Dai-Ni Koto Chugakko (the Second Higher School) in Sendai. After one months study there they both decided to quit and travel to Tokyo. Hekigodo stayed with Shiki whereas Kyoshi, after temporarily residing with Hifu Niinomi (18701901), found a boarding house at Tatsuoka-cho, Hongo. In March 1895 Shiki left for China as a Sino- Japanese War correspondent. Soseki arrived in Matsuyama to teach English at Ehime-ken Jinjo Chugakko (Ehime Prefectural Ordinary Middle School) in April of the same year.

The peace treaty with Ch’ing was signed in April 1895 and thus, Shiki returned home without having heard a single cannon blast. On his way from Dairen, however, he began coughing up blood and was taken to Kobe Hospital and subsequently moved to Suma Sanatorium. On August 25 he returned to Matsuyama to stay in a private room in the house where Soseki boarded.

When Shikis tuberculosis was in a state of remission he traveled to Tokyo and visited Dokan-yama (Arakawa wards present-day Niishi-nippori Park) with Kyoshi. He wanted Kyoshi to be his successor in leading the haiku circle. After a long discussion, Kyoshi, afraid of the pressure, rejected his offer, yet he didnt disagree with the idea that he would carry on with the literary work that Shiki had embarked upon.

1n 1896, Kyoshi returned home to Matsuyama to attend his ailing eldest brother, Masatada Ikenouchi. On this occasion, he visited the springs of Dogo with Soseki, and he composed haiku dealing with otherworldly subjects in the style called shinsen-tai (the style of gods and hermits). These haiku were printed in the March edition of Mezamashi-so (Awakening Grass) magazine. Some of them are:


 

 

  神の子の舞ひ舞ひ春の入日かな M 29

Kami no ko no / mai mai haru no / irihi kana

 

 

The child of god

 

Keeps dancing on and on

 

The sunset of a spring day

 

 

  羽衣の陽炎になってしまひけり M 29

Hagoromo no / kageroh ni natte / shimai keri

 

 

The celestial raiment of an angel

 

Has turned

 

Into a veil of heat shimmer

 

 

Having thus far attempted to write his haiku based on sketches taken from nature and life, he made a new departure from it and acquired the means to absorb something imaginary, visionary, and ideal into his haiku, owing to his friendly talks with Soseki.

In the meantime, the dynamics of the relationship shifted, and the difference in style between Hekigodo and him rose to the surface. Shikis view was that whereas Hekigodos haiku of vivid impressions were characterized by spatiality, Kyoshi was taking an interest in human affairs, thus striking a new note and flavor in the perception of time.

In January 1897 Yanagihara started Hototogisu, a haiku magazine to which Kyoshi contributed along with Shiki, Meisetsu, and Hekigodo. In June he married Ito Oshima, the daughter of his landlord. He became responsible for the haiku column of the Kokumin Shimbun (Peoples Newspaper) while he helped Masao Ikenouchi, his elder brother, run a boarding house.


In Haiku Nyuhmon (A First Step to Haiku), published in April 1898, he stressed the importance of a musical word rhythm, describing how haiku and paintings correspond in many respects. As the running of Hototogisu became more difficult, Kyoshi decided to move its publishing house to his own house in Nishiki-cho, Kanda, and to lead it in September. One haiku he composed two years later at the age of 26 is well known:

 

  遠山に日の当たりたる枯野かな

Tohyama ni / hi no ataritaru / kareno kana

 

 

A distant mountain

Seen in the sunlight—

A desolate field

 

 

On a winter day as the daylight wanes and the sun still shines in the distant mountains, the poet feels the warmth of his body as he stands before a vast desolate field. According to the critic Kenkichi Yamamoto, “This haiku could well be considered one of his lifes masterworks; here, he really came into his own for the first time.”1

On September 18, 1902, Shikis condition took a sudden turn for the worse and he died at the age of 36. At one o’clock in the morning when Kyoshi (who was staying alone with him) went out to inform people of his death, a full moon was shining brightly.

 

  子規逝くや十七日の月明に M 35

Shiki yuku ya / juhshichi nichi no / getsumei ni


 

 

Shiki passed away—

 

The moon in its seventeenth day

 

Brightly shining

 

 

II. The late Meiji era:

Imagism of Hekigodo vs. Lyricism of Kyoshi

 

Succeeding Shiki, Hekigodo became a selector of the “Nihon Haiku” column in the Nihon, the newspaper founded by Katsunan Kuga (1857

 

1907) in 1889, which was considered a pillar of Nihon-ha (Nihon group). Kyoshi represented Hototogisu-ha, managing the publication of Hototogisu magazine. While Hekigodo made elaborate use of words so as to give a realistic picture of a scene, Kyoshi preferred the use of plain words, delineating lyrical, subjective feelings in his work. Their opposing views were no longer equivocal—this became apparent when a discussion ensued after Hekigodos Onsen Hyakku (100 haiku poems on the theme of hot springs, September 1903) was published.

Noting that “Hekigodos haiku was inclined towards the use of rhetorical, flowery expressions,”2 in the essay titled Genkon no Haiku-kai (The Present-day Haiku Scene, October 1903, Hototogisu), Kyoshi argued that haiku poets should value the harmony of words and atmospheric feelings in their work rather than the novelty of materials and words of unfamiliar usage. In addition, he prized “the beauty of negative life” in haiku, which he considered to be paramount to pastoral literature. Whereas Buson is pre-eminent in the tasteful work of amusement, Basho expressed “the beauty of melancholy and loneliness in his pursuit of tranquility” in Kita no Yama (The Northern Mountain), a collection of his haiku, in which the artistic effect of a lonesome, negative life away from worldly affairs could be observed (Hototogisu, December 1903).3 He placed emphasis on “negative thinking” and “negative beauty,” which would, in later years, lead to his theory that a poet could express his subjectivity through objectivity.


 

 

  ほろほろと泣き合ふ尼や山葵漬 M 37

Horohoro to / naki-au ama ya / wasabi-zuke

 

 

Shedding large teardrops together,

Nuns are eating

Wasabi-zuke*

 

[*Japanese horseradish sliced and mixed with leftover sake]

 

 

This is one of the masterpieces he wrote during this time, depicting women living in a nunnery far from ordinary life shedding tears due to horseradish; it is characterized by dry humor and pathos.

The following is a tongue-in-cheek, witty haiku in which one cannot tell whether the poet is serious or joking. By situating the black crow beside her, it effectively highlights the striking whiteness of an unclothed womans skin.

 

  行水の女に惚れる烏かな M 38

Gyohzui no / onna ni horeru / karasu kana

 

 

A woman is having a tub-bath

 

A crow falls in love

 

With her!

 

 

From January 1905 to January 1906, Hototogisu ran the I am a Cat series by Soseki. This gained massive popularity and became the basis of a character in magazines,


novels, and literary sketches as well. As Kyoshi grew enthusiastic about prose work, he wrote Haikai Subota-kyoh (A Bodhisattvas Sutra of Haikai, September 1905), advocating the virtues of haikai poetry in which everyone can find pleasure depicting natural objects, regardless of whether they are of mediocre talent or gifted. Even if people are of mediocre ability, they show remarkable differences from those who never compose haiku. “Come hither if you are the single genius. Come hither, too, if you

are among the 999 less talented.”4 “It is a matter of discrimination to talk about individuals as skilled or unskilled. Acknowledging that all of us are on the same footing, we could delight in the merits of haiku and appreciate the subtle feelings represented by it.”5 Thus offering encouragement to everyone and trying not to diverge from the sentiments of the general public, Kyoshis Bodhisattva aimed at the literature of the common man and woman.

At that time, Hekigodo held haiku gatherings with his disciples, putting forward as his creed hai zanmai,” which means “to be immersed in the haiku world.” Kyoshi held haiku meetings called haikai sanshin,” or “mind-set engaged in everyday life,” using a Buddhist term.6

From August 1906 to the end of 1907 Hekigodo traveled all over the country to promote the new trend of haiku. From 1909 to 1911 he made a second trip around the country. About this time, young writers with promising futures such as Otsuji Osuga, Seisensui Ogiwara, and Ippekiro Nakatsuka flocked to Hekigodo, who published Zoku Shunkashuhtoh (The Four Seasons, 2nd series, September 1906), a catalog of season-specific words used in the writing of haiku. This opened the period of the prosperity of Hekimon, the group of Hekigodo. In his essay Haiku-kai no Shinkeikoh (The New Trend in the Haiku World, 1908), Osuga argued for the metaphoric meanings of each season, referring to suggestive, symbolic representations, which touched off the new wave of haiku.


Despite the fact that the Hototogisu group seemed to be overshadowed by them, Kyoshi composed a number of excellent haiku poems during this time.

 

  桐一葉日当りながら落ちにけり M 39

Kiri hito-ha / hi atari nagara / ochini keri

 

 

A leaf of a paulownia tree

 

Has fallen

 

In the sunlight

 

 

Characterized by its lyricism and sense of time, this famous haiku grabbed the attention of critics and is often included in his poetry collections.

Creating a column for zatsuei haiku poems on miscellaneous subjects in Hototogisu in 1908, Kyoshi took charge of selecting ones worth printing. Up until then, he had always called for contributions on a single subject, but it was decided that it would suit contributors better if they could choose freely.7 Among those written by him that year, the following are well known:

 

 

  螽とぶ音杼に似て低きかな M 41

Inago tobu / oto osa ni nite / hikuki kana

 

Locusts make a sound

 

Similar to that of a handloom

 

Low

 

 

  金亀子擲つ闇の深さかな M 41

Kogane-mushi / nageutsu yami no / fukasa kana


 

 

Throwing away a gold beetle,
How deep

Darkness is!

 

 

Joining a newspaper company called Kokumin Shimbun in October 1908, he set up a literature division, in which the selection of contributed haiku poems fell under the

 

care of Toyojo Matsune. For the next few years Kyoshi was not focused on haiku; instead, he was engaged in writing fiction and essays. During this time, he produced Keitoh (Cocks Combs), a collection of Fuhryuh Senpoh (An Elegant Repentance), Ikaruga Monogatari (A Story of Ikaruga) and other short stories, Kangyoku-shuh (A Collection of Cold Gems), Bonjin (An Ordinary Man), and others. Soseki Natsume reviewed Keitoh and described it as fiction that evidenced a relaxed mind-set and dilettantism. In my view, Haikaishi (A Haiku Poet) and Zoku-haikaishi (A Sequel to a Haiku Poet) are biographical works depicted in terms of naturalism. From the viewpoint of an ordinary citizen, these novels present a picture of the friendship of the authors school days under the old system and the hardship he faces after he makes up his mind that his school education should stop. These works show compassion to economically disadvantaged individuals whose lives have little to do with dilettantism.

Being a leading character in Haikaishi, the authors other self, Sanzo, enters the elite Dai-San Koto-gakko (the Third Higher School) in Kyoto but, feeling oppressed by the scholarly life, he submits his notice of withdrawal from it recklessly and without any future plan in mind. In Zoku-haikaishi, the heros name is Harusaburo; he helps with the boarding house run by his elder brother, serving dinner and even polishing shoes for the boarders.

Although Kenkichi Yamamoto says, “No affection to the common people can be noted in Kyoshis approach to life,”8 the reality is that he was not unlike the average

person and he lived life in much the same way that most Japanese did.

In the autumn of 1910, Kyoshi resigned from Kokumin Shimbunsha so that he could put the ailing Hototogisu back on its feet. He moved its publishing house to Minami-sakuma-cho, Shiba-ku, Tokyo-shi.9 In January 1911 he restarted the work to keep Hototogisu productive and decided to take full leadership of it, putting an end to the council system of editorship for financial reasons.

 

 

III. The Taisho era:

The President of the Hototogisu Group and Self-definition as an Old Guard

 

Even after having the column of zatsuei miscellaneous subjects included once more in July 1912 in Hototogisu, Kyoshi continued to be actively engaged in fields other than haiku, publishing the novel Chosen (Korea) in February. But “after wandering onto a byroad for three or four years,”10 he suffered from typhoid fever, which made him cautious about his health—as a consequence of that he tried not to drain his physical strength by writing novels. He felt that writing prose required much more strength than haiku, so he decided that haiku writing would be better suited to him.

In those days, the Hekigodo group of poets advocated the composing of haiku without the use of season words or the rule of a fixed 17 syllables arranged in three word groups of five, seven, and five syllables. This type of haiku is called jiyuhritsu (meter of free style)—it does not keep to the traditional form and it justifies hypermetrical and irregular composition. Seisensui Ogiwara, Hosai Ozaki, and Santoka Taneda are the most distinguished of those who were enthusiastically committed to it. At the age of 39, in 1913, Kyoshi decided to return to the haiku circles to oppose it.


 

  霜降れば霜を楯とす法の城 T 2

Shimo fureba / shimo wo tate to su / nori no shiro

 

 

If there is a frost

 

I will use it as a shield

 

In the castle of law

 

 

  春風や闘志いだきて丘に立つ T 2

Harukaze ya / tohshi idakite / oka ni tatsu

 

 

Spring wind—

Full of fight

I stand on the hill

 

 

These poems express Kyoshis desire to prevail against the current trend of the haiku world. In May of the same year he moved the publishing house of Hototogisu to 12 Funagawara, Ushigome-ku.11

Skeptical of the new trend that the Hekigodo group propelled, Kyoshi regarded haiku as a literary art that was deeply connected with tradition and convention. His theory is that, keeping to the old way of making sketches of the landscape, haiku poets are able to produce original works. Yet they are not supposed to put into words whatever they happen to see. Instead, they should make an effort to take a closer look and to add something innovative.12 Espousing this theory, Kyoshi published such books as Haiku towa Donna Mono ka? (What Kind of Art is Haiku? 1914), Haiku no Tsukuriyoh (How to Compose Haiku, 1914), and Susumubeki Haiku no Michi (The Path on Which Haiku Must Advance, 1918).

Looking back at the situation of around 1919, Shuoshi Mizuhara reports, “It was commonly believed that it was extremely difficult to have a haiku accepted for the


 

column of zatsuei, haiku on miscellaneous subjects, of Hototogisu. There was no lack of anecdotes about it: one is looked upon as a haiku master of a certain rank in the country if just one haiku was selected for it in one year. Another contributor made azuki (red bean) rice to celebrate his accomplishment when his haiku was accepted for the first time after a three-year trial.”13

On January 26, 1923, the publishing house of Hototogisu moved from Funagawara-cho, Ushigome-ku to 623-ku on the fifth floor of the Marunouchi Building near Tokyo Station. During that period, Kyoshi spent most of his time working as the magazines chief editor. It was his duty to select the haiku that were good enough to be printed in the aforementioned column from all of the contributions. Leaving home for his office, he used to carry a furoshiki (Japanese handkerchief)-wrapped bundle of manuscripts sent by readers with him. Reading through them on the train from Kamakura to Tokyo, he judged whether they met the standards of the magazine and checked them with a red pencil. Engrossed in his readings and forgetting everything, the train would arrive at Tokyo Station. After working in the office for the whole day, he would return to Kamakura in the evening. “Day in and day out that monotonous practice continued for years,” Kyoshi said.

He believed that it was productive work to choose good haiku. “Hand in hand with a writer, I, as a judge, work on it in a sense. If the poet wrote a haiku without much inspiration or enthusiasm, I may estimate it as remarkable, in which case I am engaged in the creative process.14 With regard to haiku, he takes the firm view that “the new is the deep”—one could surmise that this was one of his guiding principles in selecting excellent poems.15 Kyoshi asserts, “If one studies deeply, one discovers something new.”16


 

In addition, in The Path on Which Haiku Must Advance, Kyoshi puts much emphasis on “objective description,” which can be achieved by restraining subjectivity. It culminates in the core principle leading Hototogisu. In the chapter on subjective haiku, he invites people to examine:

the truthfulness of subjectivity, the great effort that should be made to

describe objects, the importance of simplicity and impressiveness, and

the deep feelings beneath simplicity.17

In April 1923, there was a gathering at which he spoke on haiku for the first time in the publishing house. He discussed his literary conviction that he would elaborate on in the magazine a number of times afterwards. The main points are the following: Try to approach majestic nature, shedding small subjective elements. Come into direct contact with nature and make a sketch in depth. Be focused on the point of what is to be written. Be well aware that each persons character and taste are revealed through the portrayal. Objective description is needed before speaking ones mind. Keep in mind that one should make continuous efforts to write objective haiku even if one is a skillful poet.18

In regard to objectivity in haiku, he does not deny that there is some working of subjectivity even when writing an objective poem. However, undoubtedly, the emphasis of his argument is put on objectivity while the appropriate balance between the two is in perspective. He states, “Haiku is an essence of poetry. What remains in the end after distilling the color of subjectivity should be ryuhryoku kakoh (green willows and red flowers) seen in the vernal landscape with various tree leaves and flowers.”19

There were remarkable poets during the Taisho era in the Hototogisu group, including Suiha Watanabe, Kijo Murakami, Dakotsu Iida, Sekitei Hara, Fura Maeda, and Reyoshi Hasegawa among others. As a result, it came to represent the main current of haiku circles, with Kyoshi occupying the top place and being considered a magnate, superseding the


Hekigodo group (which espoused the new trend), which split into factions several times.

 

Kyoshi wrote a number of interesting haiku around this time, including:

 

 

  年を以って巨人としたり歩み去る T 2

Toshi wo motte / kyojin to shitari / ayumi saru

 

 

Considering the years gone by

 

To be a giant

 

I walk away

 

 

While the past year is personified and described as a giant passing by, the poet moves away from his previous years self, realizing that each ones activity might be trifle compared with the lapse of time that constitutes history.

 

  鎌倉を驚かしたる余寒あり T 3

Kamakura wo / odorokashitaru / yokan ari

 

 

The cold still lingers

Which was a surprise

To Kamakura

 

 

The picture painted here can be easily understood without explanation; it can be considered a good example of making fitting use of a place name and its geographical features.

 

  大空に又沸きいでし小鳥かな


 

Ohzora ni / mata waki-ideshi / kotori kana

 

 

Once more into the blue yonder

 

They begin to sing out—

Little birds

 

 

  蛇逃げて我を見し眼の草に残る T 6

Hebi nigete / ware wo mishi me no / kusa ni nokoru

 

 

A snake fled

 

The stare that it gave me

 

Remains on the grass

 

 

The first sets a scene that evokes a musical image, whereas the second describes a visual one etched in the mind, both of which have a lingering effect.

 

  秋天の下に野菊の花辨缺く T 7

Shuhten no / shita ni nogiku no / kaben kaku

 

 

Under the autumn sky

 

A petal of a wild chrysanthemum

 

Missed

 

 

This is an image aroused by a flower, the details of which grabbed the attention of the poet in the perspective of the infinite sky of late autumn.

 

  野を焼いて歸れば燈火母やさし T 7


 

No wo yaite / kaereba tohka / haha yasashi

 

 

Returning after burning off a field

 

The light is on

 

Mother is sweet at home

 

 

Early in spring, farmers remove weeds and burn the dried grass in the fields to exterminate insect pests. After lending a helping hand, a boy returns home and finds himself comfortable there. Readers surely sense the affection that the boy and his mother share.

 

  どかと解く夏帯に句を書けとこそ T 9

Doka to toku / natsu-obi ni ku wo / kake to koso

 

 

With a thud she untied

 

Her broad sash, telling me

 

To write haiku on it

 

 

Presumably this describes a scene from a luxurious restaurant in which a geisha who was perhaps slightly drunk requested a haiku from a poet and undid her obi waistband so that he could write on it.

 

  新しき帽子かけたり黴の宿 T 10

Atarashiki / bohshi kaketari / kabi no yado

 

 

A new hat

 

Put on

 

At the moldy inn


 

 

During the rainy season in Japan, it is common for mold to grow on the walls. On an occasion when the poet was staying at an inn, he had to hang his newly bought hat on the peg on the wall that he noticed had patches of mold developing.

 

囀の大樹の下の茶店かな T 13

Saezuri no / taiju no shita no / chamise kana

 

 

A tea shop

 

Under the big tree

 

In which birds are twittering

 

 

This poem describes a landscape and is accompanied by the soundscape of springtime birdsong.

 

 

  白牡丹といふといへども紅ほのか T 14

Haku-botan to / iu to iedomo / koh honoka

 

 

Although it is called

 

White peony

 

Pink is slightly noticeable

 

 

Here, the poet tells us of his discovery of an aspect of the flower—this is reminiscent of the technique of gradation used in Japanese painting.

 

  曼珠沙華あれば必ず鞭うたれ T 15

Manjushage / areba kanarazu / muchi utare


 

 

 

Red spider lilies

 

Cannot but be whipped

 

If there are any

 

 

These flowers, which belong to the amaryllis family, are also called higan-bana (the flower of the other shore)—they are red or white and have an eerie appearance. They hang their heads low, as if wind-whipped.

 

  大空に伸び傾ける冬木かな T 15

Ohzora ni / nobi katamukeru / fuyugi kana

 

 

Under the wide open sky

A winter tree