Saturday, October 27, 2018

Carpe Diem's Leafless Tree #2 through our torn paper doors (Sokan)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our feature "Leafless Tree" in which I introduce not so well-known haiku poets. This episode I have a nice haiku poet for you who lived in the 16th century, Yamazaki Sokan. I had never heard of him, but recently I ran into a few haiku by him in a Dutch Haiku Anthology compiled by J. van Tooren's relatives.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Sokan:

Yamazaki Sōkan (1465–1553) was a renga and haikai poet from Ōmi Province, Japan. His real name was Shina Norishige, and he was also called Yasaburō; "Yamazaki Sōkan" was a pen-name (haigo).

Originally serving as a court calligrapher for the ninth Ashikaga shogun, Ashikaga Yoshihisa, the poet became a Buddhist monk and entered seclusion following the shogun's death in 1489. Traveling through Settsu and Yamashiro provinces, he finally settled in a place called Yamazaki. Establishing his hermitage, which he named Taigetsu-an, he adopted the name Yamazaki Sōkan. The location of this hermitage is debated, since the town of Shimamoto, Osaka, claims to contain its remains, as does the Myōkian, a temple in Ōyamazaki, Kyoto.

Yamazaki Sokan (1465-1553)

Sōkan left Yamazaki in 1523 and settled five years later in the town of Kan'onji in Sanuki province. On the grounds of Kōshōji, he made a hermitage for himself called Ichiya-an, where he spent the rest of his life composing poems.

Though his poems were not widely distributed at first, they were soon compiled into a text called Daitsukubashū. He also compiled and edited the Inu-tsukuba-shū, another important anthology of renga and haikai. His unrefined style came to be influential and inspired the development of the danrin style of poetry, which emerged in the early 17th century.

Sōkan died in 1553, after gaining a degree of fame and wealth for his poems and calligraphy. (Source: wikipedia)

His haiku in my opinion are very pure, but look more like senryu, because of the unrefined style. Here are a few haiku / senryu written by him:

Sahohime no haru tatsu nagara shito o shite

Princess Saho
stands when pissing
at the beginning of spring

waga oya no shinuru toki ni mo he o kokite

even when 
my father lay down dying 
I kept farting 

kaze samushi yabure-shooji no kannazuki

cold wind
through our torn paper doors
in the month without gods *

© Yamazaki Sokan (Tr. Gabi Greve)

* The 10th lunar month, nowadays November, was known as the "month without gods"

These haiku are beauties, the first two more hilarious, but that third on is in my opinion a masterpiece worth reading often and aloud.

I hope you did like the read, but now your task ... I love to challenge you to create a new haiku inspired on the given haiku trying to touch the same tone and sense. And than ... I love to challenge you to create a Troiku with the haiku you have created. Have fun ...!

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 4th at noon (CET).

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