Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Carpe Diem Special #201 Basho's disciples: Morikawa Kyoroku's "morning glories"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This month it's all about writing haiku in the way of Basho and in our CD-Specials I will introduce haiku written by Basho's disciples (Shoomon) and in this CD-Special I love to tell you a little bit more about Morikawa Kyoroku (1656-1715). Here is a first haiku to introduce his writing skills to you:

kankin no ma wo asagao no sakari kana

ah! morning glories
are at their best while I chant
my morning prayers

© Morikawa Kyoroku (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

A very nice haiku I would say. It's a wonderful scene and I can see it in front of my eyes. The Morning Glories are in bloom and Kyoroku is chanting his morning prayers ... awesome scene.

Morikawa Kyoroku (1656-1715)

Let me tell you a little bit more about Morikawa Kyoroku:

Kyoroku was a samurai of the Hikone domaine. His father was an important samurai who had lived and worked for 7 years in Otsu. Kyoroku learned all the fighting skills of a samurai, but also traditional Chinese poetry and painting from the Kano school.

His haiku debut was with Kitamura Kingin. He was part of the Danrin Haikai school. In 1689 he became a more serious haikai master and studied with Esa Shoohaku ( 1650 - 1722) of the Basho disciples in Omi.

During a trip to Edo in 1691 he studied with Kikaku and Ransetsu. In 1692 he met Basho in Fukagawa. Since he was a man of many talents and "six (roku) arts" (spear, sword, horse riding, calligraphy, painting and haikai), Basho offered him the haikai name of Kyoroku.

Kyoroku could only study with Basho for about 10 months, before he had to go back to his domaine in Hikone.

Basho wrote for him Saimon no Ji (The Rustic Gate), with all the secrets of haikai writing.

Kyoroku  was one of the 10 important haiku disciples of Basho (shoomon). He was quite close to Basho in his later years. Kyoroku even taught Basho how to paint even better, since Kyoroku was an experienced painter himself of the Kano school of painting. There are also haiga with poems by Basho on paintings by Kyoroku.

When he got news of the death of his beloved master, he cut a cherry tree, carved a statue of Basho and send it to Kawai Chigetsu.
Later he opened haikai meetings in memory of the master at the temple Myosho-Ji in Hikone and compiled some volumes of his master's work. (Source: World Kigo Database)

A wonderful biography and awesome to have looked into the life of Basho and his disciples. I found a few other beautiful haiku by Kyoroku, but I love to share just one other haiku by him:

akegata ya shiro wo torimaku kamo no koe

it is dawn
the castle surrounded
by quacking wild ducks

© Morikawa Kyoroku (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

A nice one, in the so called "shasei" technique, which we discussed earlier in this month. Kyoroku creates the scene as it is ... 

For closure of this little background on Morikawa Kyoroku, one of Basho's disciples (shoomon) I have a nice haiga for you. It's a beauty, but I don't know which poem is used here.

Haiga by Morikawa Kyoroku
I have searched for the haiku used in this haiga, but couldn't retrieve it, so I thought I give you another nice haiku composed by Kyoroku:

Deep in the water,
softly moving his fins,
a carp, dreaming

© Morikawa Kyoroku (Tr. unknown)

A lot of beautiful haiku to use for your inspiration and here is my inspired haiku:

veiled moon
in her faint light we sail the lake
the call of plovers

© Chèvrefeuille

I was inspired by the haiga, maybe I have found the used haiku, deep inside my mind, but ... no I think not, but it could fit this haiga.

This CD-Special is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 12th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, cicada, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all.


  1. This post shows such great sensitivity, Chev - your haiku is really in tune with that mood you created, and I read it with careful diligence, because it really created the scene so well. Diligence because there is something special abut what you wrote, about this band of brothers, perhaps sisters too, who found in haiku moments we attempt to find too.

  2. Was having a somewhat stressful moment when I read your post and now I am calm and peaceful! Very nice as always!

  3. Net problem / could not post in time / but here is my submission :