Saturday, May 28, 2016

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge Month May 29th: "a single frosty rose" by Mizuhara Shuoshi (1892-1981)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today I have a nice "hokku" of a "classical" haiku poet for you. I had never heard of him, but I ran accidentally to a haiku by him and I liked that haiku very much. Let me introduce to you Mizuhara Shuoshi.

Mizuhara Shuoshi (1892-1981) was a 20th century Japanese poet who was responsible for a trend towards greater emotional expression in haiku.
Shuoshi was the son of a doctor who ran a medical clinic, and as eldest son, he followed in his father’s footsteps and went into medicine. He studied serology, obstetrics, and gynecology at Tokyo University, graduating in 1926. He taught at Showa Medical College, practiced in his father’s clinic, and in 1932 was appointed to the prestigious post of medical advisor to the Ministry of the Imperial Household.
He began writing tanka and haiku as an undergraduate. In the 1920s, he was published in Hototogisu and his poetry was acclaimed. However, he felt restricted by the conservative principles of Takahama Kyoshi and his followers and declared his defection in a 1931 essay, "Truth in Nature and Truth in Literature". Unlike many poets, who rebelled against the rules like the 17 syllable count, Shuoshi instead felt that Kyoshi’s principles of emotional detachment limited his ability to emotionally express himself through poetry. Shuoshi and his followers started a magazine called Staggerbush and dedicated themselves to a more romantic, lyrical type of haiku.
Shuoshi retired from medicine in 1952 and began a series of visits to Buddhist temples. During his life, he published around 20 volumes of haiku.
Mizuhara Shuoshi (1892-1981)
Before I give you our "hokku" for todays Tan Renga Challenge I love to share a few other haiku written by Mizuhara Shuoshi:
leaves quickly fall
in the meadow

Japanese rain
on the cherry blossoms
moistens his statue

singing skylark...
against the wind blowing through pines,
has descended
lion-dance dancer
shading his eyes with his hand to look
at Mt. Fuji in the sunset

Color of Spring, lion dance at the mansion (woodblock-print by Utagawa Kuniaki (1844-1868))
Mizuhara Shuoshi wrote a lot of haiku and tanka as you could read above. The haiku I shared here are really beautiful, but the one we are going to use is in my opinion a masterpiece, but that's just my humble opinion.

Here is our "hokku" by Mizuhara Shuoshi:

A new year begins
With the blooming
Of a single frosty rose

© Mizuhara Shuoshi

A nice "hokku" to start our Tan Renga with. Here is my attempt to make this Tan Renga complete:

A new year begins
With the blooming
Of a single frosty rose
                               (Mizuhara Shuoshi)

clouds of breath pointing the way
towards the old Shinto shrine
Not as strong as I had hoped. I also don't know for sure if the breath you can see when it is cold is called "clouds of breath".
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until June 2nd at noon (CET). I will publish our new "hokku" on our Twitter account.



  1. I think clouds is good. You can say puffs of breath, but somehow clouds fit better. I still need to get used to that haiku, but I think you two lines brought it upwards: lifted it.

  2. Tan Renga Challenge May 29:

    a new year begins
    with the blooming
    of a single frosty rose Mizuhara Shuoshi

    passing through the garden gate
    I travel to the temple Joyce Lorenson

  3. A new year begins
    With the blooming
    Of a single frosty rose (Mizuhara Shuoshi)

    clouds of breath pointing the way
    towards the old Shinto shrine (Chèvrefeuille)

    A new year begins
    With the blooming
    Of a single frosty rose (Mizuhara Shuoshi)

    first ray of the sun
    fragrace filled the temple walls
    ( milan )

    catching up ....yet manipur is burning !