Fine Japanese Calligraphy by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase


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by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

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Japanese Haiku Translations in Progress ....
by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

Having trouble seeing the Japanese? It is easy to fix, see Displaying Japanese Characters

What We Are Working On

We are currently research and confirming the following haiku for inclusion in Catalog of Japanese Haiku. If you have a haiku suggestion please contact us and let us know.

Haiku Design

Haiku Design Description

  Haiku by Issa
Without you, in truth,
Too many and too wide
Are the groves. [X]
kimi nakute
makoto ni tadai no
kodachi kana
君なくて
まことに多大の
木立哉
Issa issa 一茶

[X] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 385.

Blyth is not as accurate as we would always like. He is poetic and insightful so we respectfully overlook his errors. He uses tadai 多大. Lanoue uses tadai 多太. Japanese sources often write 多太(田)with "field" read "ta" in parenthesis. Presumably this is read "tata" making the middle line seven syllables answering Mr. Lanoue's question of why the middle line has eight syllables.

Blyth writes, "Adam cannot possibly live, even in Paradise, without Eve."

Haiku guy at http://haikuguy.com/issa/haiku.php?code=234.23a has:

This undated haiku is a version of one written in 1817:

kimi nakute makoto ni tadai no kodachi kana

without you--
how vast
is the grove

R. H. Blyth reads the above haiku's fourth kanji as "large"; A History of Haiku (Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1964) 1.385. Since this choice makes the compound tadai ("great"), which makes sense in the context, I have followed his lead in my translation of both this and the 1817 poem, even though this adds an extra syllable to the "middle seven" phrases.

Blyth uses:

君なくてまことに多大の木立哉

http://haikuguy.com/issa/haiku.php?code=234.23a

君なくて誠に多太の桜哉
 

  Haiku by Issa
I am envious
Of him who is being scolded:
The end of the year.  [X]
shikararuru hito
yurayamashi
toshi no kure
叱らるゝ
人うらやまし
としの暮
Issa issa 一茶

[X] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1156.

Blyth writes, "At the end of the year, relatives are reunited, parents and children feel their relationship more warmly and deeply. In such an atmosphere, Issa overhears a father or mother grumbling at a child. Guilt on the one side, anger on the other, - there seems litle room for envy, but Issa, an orphan, envies the child his power to be reprimanded, that is, his having a father or mother."

  Haiku by Kana-jo
Getting up,
And lying down, -
How large the mosquito net.[X]
okite mitsu
nete mitsu kaya no
hirosa kana
起きて見つ
寝て見つ蚊屋の
廣さ哉
Kana-jo kanajo 可南女

[X] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 220.

According to Blyth this was written upon the death of her husband.

  Haiku by Basho
Should I take it in my hand,
It would melt in my hot tears,
Like autumn frost. [X]
te ni toraba
kien namida zo so atsuki
aki no shimo
手にとらば
消えん涙ぞあつき
秋の霜
Basho bashou 芭蕉

[X] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 128.

Blyth writes, "He is referring to the white hair of his dead mother which he saw when he returned to his native place in 1684."

[10] Blyth, R. H. (1949) Haiku Volume 1: Eastern Culture. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 82.

  Haiku by Basho
The Summer grasses,
All that remains
Of the warriors' dreams. [X]
natsugusa ya
tsuwamono domo no
yume no ato
夏草や
つはものどもの
夢のあと
Basho bashou 芭蕉

[X] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 26.

IMPORTANT: Blyth has an error. Which is reflected above still. The "no" should be a "ga". Unfortunately the meaning changes so Blyth's translation is also not quite right. I will look into this further and put up the other sources.

This also appears in A Year of Epigrams p ix and 35.

Porter, William N. A Year of Japanese Epigrams. London: Oxford University Press, 1911.

  Haiku by Sokan
When bamboo sprouts
Are big, that too
Is the grace of our parents. [X]
takenoko no
futoki mo oya no
megumi kana
竹の子の
ふときも親の
めぐみかな
Sokan soukan 宗鑑

[X] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 55.

I read this poem in several different ways. Clearly it is a comment on filial piety. In one view we can image the parents are the one tending the bamboo grove and it is their labor that means the bamboo will grow strong. Or perhaps the parents really had nothing to do with how the bamboo sprouts, but we should still be thankful to them. Finally, the young bamboo grows in a shape suggestive of a dashing samurai (See Haiku by Ransetsu and the commentary) and so when we are big and strong for this too we should be grateful to our parents.

  Haiku by Ransetsu 50tr>
The young bamboo
Bares one shoulder
Gallantly. [X]
wakatake wa
katahada nugi no
kioi kana
若竹は
片肌
ぬぎの
きほひかな
Ransetsu ransetsu 宗鑑

[X] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 141.

Blyth writes, "To understand this excellent verse we must know two things: the way in which the bamboo grows out of the ground, the sheath on one side; and the way in which a Japanese of the old dashing type would pull out his sword and bare the shoulder of the arm to ensure freedom of action."

 

   
  Haiku by Issa
Simply trust;
Do not the petals flutter down,
Just like that?
tada tanome
hana mo hara hara
ano toori
只たのめ
花もはらはら
あの通り
Issa issa 一茶

 

[10] Blyth, R. H. (1949) Haiku Volume 1: Eastern Culture. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 207

 

  #00252 Haiku by Buson
An evening orchid, 
Hidden in its scent,
The flower's whiteness. [0]
yoru no ran
ka ni kakurete ya
hana shiroshi
夜の蘭
香にかくれてや
花白し
Buson buson 蕪村

R. H. Blyth suggests the translation:

An evening orchid, -
It hid its scent,
The flower white.  [14]

R. H. Blyth writes, "As it grew darker, nothing could be seen of the stem and the leaves, but the fragrance was stronger than ever, and the orchid hid in its own perfume, the white flower alone faintly seen, palely gleaming through the darkness."

Unknowingly we purchased a fragrant evening orchid. We marveled at the beautiful white flowers which stay in bloom for months. After several days though there was this strong fragrance in the evening that  took over the room! After much discussion (and much sniffing) we found the source to be the orchid. Since then we talked little of the white flowers, but often of the fragrance. As Buson suggests, the white flowers became hidden in the scent.

  Haiku by Shiki
Eating persimmons;
The bell sounds,
Of Horyuji Temple. [15]
kaki kueba
kane ga naru nari
houryuuji
柿食えば
鐘が鳴るなり
法隆寺
Shiki shiki 子規

R. H. Blyth writes, "Shiki was sitting in a tea-house in Nara, eating his favourite fruit, when suddenly the great temple bell of Horyuji sounded. Eating and listening, the two elements of human life, material and spiritual, prose and poetry, practical life and religion, - these are so far apart when we think about them, but sitting in the tea-house eating persimmons and listening to the voice of religion, there is felt to be no disparity. The past and present, the heard and the tasted are one."

  #00258 Haiku by Etsujin
An autumn eve;
She comes and asks,
"Shall I light the lamp?"
aki no kure
hi ya tomosan to
toi ni kuru
Etsujin_01.gif (1304 bytes)
Etsuji etsujin Etsujin_00.gif (909 bytes)

Haiku p 405 Blyth (1952) and p 168 (1981)

  Haiku by Shiki
Going out into the garden,
I sowed a few seeds,
Rehabilitation
niwa ni dete
monotane maku ya
yamiagari
庭に出て
物種蒔くや
病み上がり
Shiki shiki Shiki_00.gif (903 bytes)

 


References:

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

[1] Miyamori, Asataro (1932). An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. Tokyo: Maruzen Company, Ltd. 60-61.

[2] Lanoue, David G (1991-2009). Haiku of Kobayashi Issa

[3] Blyth, R. H. (1963) A History of Haiku Volume One. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 367.

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

[5] Nelson. 1020 Haiku in Translation. 19.

[6] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 107.

[7] Miyamori. An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. 218.

[8] Blyth, R. H. (1982) Haiku, Volume Four: Autumn-Winter. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 984.
[9] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 985.
[10] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 992.
[11] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 992.
[12] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1001.
[13] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1101.
[14] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1103.
[15] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1110.
[16] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1111.
[17] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1120.
[18] Blyth. Haiku, Volume Four. 1129.

[19] Blyth, R. H. (1981) Haiku, Volume One: Easter Culture. Tokyo, The Hokuseido Press. 231.

[20] Buchanan, Daniel C. (1973) One Hundred Famous Haiku. Tokyo, Kenkyusha Printing Co. 23.

[21] Blyth, R. H. (1982) Haiku, Volume Four: Autumn-Winter. Tokyo. The Hokuseido Press. 984.

[22] Miyamori. An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. 460.

[23] Mason, R. H. P. Caiger, J. G. (1997) A History of Japan: Revised Edition. Tokyo, Tuttle Publishing. 238.

[24] Miyamori. An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. 209.

[25] Miyamori. An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. 502.

[26] Byth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 245.

[27] Miyamori. An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. 496.

[28] Blyth. A History of Haiku Volume One. 218.

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

[30] Miyamori. An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. 431.

[31] Donegan. Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master. 108.

 

Gill, Robin D. (2006) Cherry Blossom Epiphany. Paraverse Press.

Related Sites:

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

Haiku Source - A selection collection of Haiku.- Includes a few English translations

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

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (100 Poems by 100 Poets) - Classic Japanese poems with English translations.

Moonset Literary Newspaper - Dedicated to the Poetic and Visual Studies of Japanese Art Forms


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