Fine Japanese Calligraphy by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase


Fine Japanese Calligraphy
by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

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H3020 Haiku by Chiyojo - To the person breaking ...
by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

To the person breaking off the branch,
giving its fragrance,
the plum blossom.

Chiyojo

Japanese Haiku Designs by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

These original, hand-lettered designs are perfect for personal and commercial use. For personal use the Adobe PDF designs are ideally suited for arts and crafts such as quilting, stained-glass, sewing - there is no limit to their uses. They are also perfect for tattoos and come with the line art that your tattoo artist will need to ink the design - they don't even have to know Japanese! Just print the design and you have all you need - and the designs are high-resolution images that can be easily resized. Personal use designs start at $14.95.

Commercial use designs come in three size (72, 300, and 600 dpi JPG). The lower resolution is suitable for images used on websites. The higher resolutions are suitable for all print illustrations such as for CD covers, books, magazines, and advertisements. These designs are subject to a generous  licensing agreement. Prices start from $34.95.

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This article is intended to be a scholarly work discussing the meaning and translation of this poem. Copyrights are retained by the original authors and used here under Fair Use Doctrine. We encourage you to support all the artists, as we have, by purchasing the referenced works.

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For help viewing the Japanese text see Displaying Japanese Characters

 

Cursive

 

Cursive Design

 

Cursive Design

 

Semi-Cursive

(4 designs in catalog)


To the person breaking off the branch,
giving its fragrance,
the plum blossom.
[1]

According to Blyth, this was written to say "Return good for evil". Indeed the person breaking the plum branch committed a wrong, but still the plum blossom gave of itself. [2] Donegan interprets this as advising "compassion instead of revenge". [3]

The breaking of the branch seems so masculine and the plum blossom giving its fragrance seems so feminine. I can't help but think that Chiyojo was referring to being treated unkindly by a man she cared about but rather than responding in kind, she responded with feminine kindness.

Original Japanese Haiku Designs
by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

 
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Blyth suggests the translation:

The flower of the plum
Gives its scent
To him who breaks off the branch.
 [4]

Asataro Miyamori suggests the translation:

The plum-blossoms give their perfume
To the man who broke off the branch.
[5]

Calligraphy Notes:

1) The character is a symbol that says repeat the last character. So るる and るゝ are both read "ruru". I use both in the designs making my selection based on which I think will look and balance better.

2) 薫る (kaoru) meaning "to smell sweet; to be fragrant" is written in one of three ways 香る, 薫る, and 馨る. This poem uses the second.

Translation Notes:

1) "Chiyojo" also went by Chiyo-ni. According to Patricia Donegan, "Chiyo-ni's given birthname was not Chiyo-ni but 'Chiyo,' meaning 'a thousand years'; the feminine suffix 'jo' was added, so she was sometimes called 'Chiyo-jo' until she changed her name to 'Chiyo-ni,' when she added the suffix 'ni' (nun). However, like many poets in Japan, she used many pen names in her lifetime." [6]

Blyth ascribes the poem to Chiyojo 千代女. [7] Miyamori ascribes the poem to Chiyo-Ni 千代. [8]

2) Here is read ta. Most people know the reading (te) meaning "hand".

3) 手折らるゝ would be written today as 手折る (teoru) which means to break off with one's hand. 折る (oru) means "to break; to fold; to pick (flowers)".

4) (hito) means "person" and not necessarily "man". Japanese is most often gender neutral.

5) 梅の花 (ume no hana) is commonly translated as "plum blossoms". (ume) meaning "plum; Japanese apricot; prunus mume" and (hana). Though Nelson and Saito [9] use "apricot blossoms". As an interesting side note, the botanical name is "prunus mume" and, at one point, in fact ume was read mume.

Recommeded Reading:

References:

[1] Translation by Timothy L. Jackowski, Takase Studios, LLC.

[2] Blyth, R. H. (1963) A History of Haiku Volume One. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 220.

[3] Donegan, Patricia. Ishibashi, Yoshie. (1998) Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master. Singapore. Tuttle Publishing. 108.

[4] Blyth, R. H. (1963) A History of Haiku Volume One. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 220.

[5] Miyamori, Asataro (1932). An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. Tokyo: Maruzen Company, Ltd. 430.

[6] Donegan, Patricia. Ishibashi, Yoshie. (1998) Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master. Singapore. Tuttle Publishing. 26.

[7] Blyth, R. H. (1963) A History of Haiku Volume One. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 220.

[8] Miyamori, Asataro (1932). An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. Tokyo: Maruzen Company, Ltd. 430.

[9] Nelson, William. Saito, Takafumi (2006) 1020 Haiku in Translation: The Heart of Basho, Buson and Issa. South Carolina. BookSurge Publishing. 197.

Related Sites:

Related Sites:

Haiku of Kobayashi Issa - An archive of over 9000 Kobayashi Issa haiku and translations and insightful commentaries.

Jeffrey's Japanese <-> English Dictionary - This is an independent dictionary based on the Edict data maintained by Dr. Jim Breen of Monash University.

Haiku Source - A Selected Collection of Japanese Haiku - Includes a few English translations

Wikipedia - Haiku - Overview of Haiku including brief biographies of Japan's most influential poets


Copyrights are retained by the original authors and used here under the Fair Use Doctrine.
We encourage you to support the authors, as we have, by purchasing the referenced works.