Monday, May 16, 2016

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge Month May 17th: "spring rain" by Ozaki Hosai (1885-1926)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our Tan renga Challenge Month. Today I have a "hokku" for you from a not so well known haiku poet at least to me. While I was preparing this wonderful Tan Renga Month I ran into several unknown haiku poets, both classical and non-classical. Today I have a haiku from Ozaki Hosai (1885-1926) a contemporary of Shiki, the name giver of our haiku.
Before starting this month I hadn't heard from Ozaki Hosai, but I ran into a wonderful document in which he was the leading haiku poet. From that document I extracted a wonderful "hokku":

Let me first introduce him to you all.

Ozaki Hosai (1885-1926)
Ozaki Hōsai was the haigo (haikai pen name) of Ozaki Hideo, a Japanese poet of the late Meiji and Taishō periods ofJapan. An alcoholic, Ozaki witnessed the birth of the modern free verse haiku movement. His verses are permeated with loneliness, most likely a result of the isolation, poverty and poor health of his final years.
Ozaki was born in what is now part of Tottori city in Tottori prefecture. Ozaki's interest in haiku and writing began at an early age, and he was influenced by the pioneer of free verse style haiku, Ogiwara Seisensui, while still in high school.
Ogiwara Seisensui was also the master of Santoka Taneda, one of our featured haiku poets in our history of Carpe Diem.

Ogiwara Seisensui

Ozaki attended the prestigious Tokyo Imperial University, graduating on 16 October 1909. During this period he proposed marriage to Yoshie Sawa, a long-time friend and distant maternal relative. Unfortunately for Ozaki, her older brother opposed the marriage, believing that this maternal connection was too close. Nearly immediately following the failure of this rejection, Ozaki's heavy drinking, which would continue for much of his life, began. Many writers believe that the rejection was the initial cause of his later alcoholism

After graduation, Ozaki joined the Nihon Tsūshin Company in October, 1909, but was fired one month later due to incompetence.
The following year, Ozaki joined the Tōyō Life Insurance Company , (the predecessor to Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co) where for a time he led a seemingly successful career. After several promotions, he married a 19-year-old woman named Kaoru in 1911. Shortly thereafter, one of his subordinates described Ozaki as "reeking of alcohol beginning each morning." During the same period, although all of the other employees wore business suits, Ozaki owned no clothing other than a tuxedo and a pair of pajamas. He wore both to work. In spite of this, he was promoted to Contract Section Chief, likely due to well-placed connections.
Ozaki's problems with alcohol continued to worsen, and he left Tōyō in 1920 at the age of 36. He became a lay mendicant monk at a Buddhist training center. In 1926, he settled on the island of ShodoshimaKagawa Prefecture, in the Inland Sea, and was given the post of rector of the small hermitage of Minango-an at the temple of Saiko-ji. With ties from his former life severed, and without any material possessions, he began to write haiku in earnest. His only anthology, Daikū (大空, Big Sky), contains poems of his solitary final months, and was only published posthumously.

Now as we have an idea about who Ozaki Hosai was it's time to share the "hokku" I have chosen to inspire you to create a Tan Renga.

Spring Rain

spring rain:
parting on the beach
a boat and an umbrella

© Ozaki Hosai (1885-1926)

A nice one I would say and in this haiku you can already see that Ozaki Hosai was a disciple of Ogiwara Seisensui, this haiku is written in the "free-styled" way (as I by the way prefer too) and I think it can become a wonderful Tan Renga.

spring rain:
parting on the beach
a boat and an umbrella     
                    (Ozaki Hosai)

raindrops resonate
puddle filled clouds

I don't know if this second stanza works with the hokku by Ozaki Hosai, but it was the first idea that cam in mind ... so I had to use it.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until May 21st at noon (CET). Our new "hokku" I have published already at our Twitter account. Have fun!


  1. spring rain
    parting on the beach
    a boat and an umbrella Ozaki Hosai

    waving - her kimono's hem
    soaked by surf Joyce Lorenson

    I tried to enter my completion of Mabson Southard's poem on your Chained Together site but none of the profiles in the comment box works for me. Help!

    1. Dear Joyce I have changed the settings of Carpe Diem Chained Together. So now it must be possible to share your thoughts in the comment field.

  2. Parting seen in a different way: