Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
It's my pleasure to publish a new episode of our "Ask Jane ..." feature and this time the question is brought up by myself. As you maybe know I am a big fan of Basho, but I am even more a big fan of his so called Kanshicho-style haiku in which he didn't use the 5-7-5 rule. I discovered this style in the preface of a haiku-anthology compiled by Henri Kerlen, a Dutch Sinologist and Japan expert, titled "Het geluid van water" or in English "the sound of water". In the preface of this anthology Kerlen describes the Kanshicho-style, a style in which Basho wrote his haiku several years as a response on the Danrin-school.
As I started my friendship with Jane Reichhold, back in 2013, I asked her about this Kanshicho-style and that same question I have asked her again several weeks ago. In this episode of "Ask Jane ..." she will respond on that question.
At first I thought I will not publish it, because in a way ... I like the Kanshicho-style ... but it turned out to be a hoax according to Jane. Jane and I have corresponded on this and for this "Ask Jane ..." episode I have chosen to re-produce our correspondence about Kanshicho-styled haiku.
As we started our friendship back in 2013 I ask you a few questions in my first e-mail to you. I can recall that I also asked you if you were familiar with the "Kanshicho"-style of haiku writing. I remember that you told me that you had never heard of this haiku-style in which Basho wrote from 1683-1685, but that you thought it was "haiku-writing in the way of the Chinese poetry".
In this Kanshicho-style the strict sound-units count 5-7-5 isn't used.
Can you tell us what the connection is between the Chinese poetry and the Japanese (classical) haiku? I know for example that Basho would have been to China and that he was influenced by the Chinese poetry as we also can read in several of his haiku.
Looking forward to your answer.
Thank you by the way for your answer and I will publish it later on this week at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.
Well ... it was quit a ride on this Kanshicho-style, but I will remain writing in that style ... I recently read the earlier mentioned anthology by Henri Kerlen again and I still think that Basho has written in that Kanshicho-style, but maybe the name "Kanshicho" is an idea of Henri Kerlen.
From the preface of that anthology I have translated a few quotes:
[...] "Basho himself was several years a disciple/student of Teitoku's disciple, Kitamura Kigin (1624-1705), but after a while he (Basho) became a student of Soin in 1675. Soin has different ideas about renga and one of his ideas is to write the chains by association of meaning, kokorozuke. His (Soin) poetry style means for haiku more simplification and letting go of the 5-7-5 rule. The theme's and language of Soin's poetry is of the people. [...]
[...[ "In response of this change in haiku-poetry Basho and others introduce the Kanshicho: in the tone of the Chinese verse. In Kanshicho the breaking of the 5-7-5 rule is no exception. Basho uses this Kanshicho-style during the years 1683-1685 as he lives as a recluse in Fukagawa. Basho's Kanshicho-style is prominent in an anthology compiled by Kikaku "An Empty Chestnut" (1683). The Kanshicho-style disappears after three years (1685) and Basho re-writes several Kanshicho-styled haiku into the classical way. [...]
As is said above ... maybe Kanshicho is a hoax, but ... well I like that style nevertheless if it is a hoax or not. In a way I think that our Western haiku are all in the way of Soin's or Basho's Kanshicho-style. The Western languages aren't compatible with the 5-7-5 onji (sounds) and therefore we have chosen to use syllables, but ... is counting syllables what haiku is?
I really am glad that Jane has answered my question about Kanshicho and of course I feel sad that my beloved Kanshicho-style turned out to be a hoax, but ... well ... haiku writing/composing is fun and gives me the freedom to share my ideas, feelings and thoughts and that's the most important thing (to me) of haiku ...
To close this episode I love to share another haiku (in Kanshicho-style) which I wrote after Jane's answer:
on an empty sheet of paper
a new day rises
PS. Do you have a question for Jane Reichhold? Please email them to our special emailaddress:
and I will take care that your questions will forwarded to Jane. She is the best and I am glad that Jane hosts this "Ask Jane ..." feature. Jane ... thank you from the bottom of my heart that you are part of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, your work for our haiku-community is very much appreciated.