Monday, January 30, 2006

all my inventries are in my heart!

Issa Original
1823 age 61
san-zun no mune de sumu nari tana oroshi

David's English
I'm alive
with a three-inch heart...
New Year's inventory

David's Comment
Tana oroshi is a beginning-of-the-year inventory, where merchants examine their stock on hand and enter its value into the account book; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 1013. Here, Issa inventories himself, counting his "heart" (mune) at a size of 3 sun. Since 1 sun = approximately 1.2 inches, 3 sun = around 3.6 inches.

sakuo Renku
all seeds of haiku
excises in my chest

poor but never steal!

Issa Original 1811 age 49.
masayume ya haru haya-baya no bimbô-gami

David’s English
my dream comes true--
this spring my god
the god of the poor

sakuo Comment
The eleventh month of the last year Issa was involved in the trouble of robbery at Natume’s mansion.
Natume is his teacher of haiku as well sponsor,  helping his life.
Natume suspected Issa as a robber and kept him staying in the mansion for three days.
Lastly the money didn’t appear and Issa was released.
Issa couldn’t say nothing, but would felt being very injured.

sakuo Renku
being poor but never steal

Sunday, January 29, 2006

with mill canon, defence Japan !

Issa Original 1817
mochi usu ni tori utai keri kimi ga yo to

David’s English
on the rice cake mill
the rooster sings too
"Oh Great Japan!"

David Comment
A rewrite of a haiku of 1803. The original poem begins with "Great Japan." "Great Japan" is my translation of kimi ga yo, a phrase that refers to the emperor's reign and begins the Japanese national anthem. This is a haiku of the New Year's season, the seasonal reference being "the year's first rooster's song" (hatsu tori).

sakuo Comment
At this time many foreign ship come to Edo bay. They wanted to the supply of food and fuel. Open the free port was wanted by England, Rusian and others.
So the government had to construct fortress with canons, especially mortars that was called mill canon in Japanese, because of similarity of outlook.

saku Renku
with the mill canon
will defense Great Japan

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

separated, more longing

Issa Original 1822
shika naku ya kawa wo hedatete shinobu koi

David’s English
they cry to each other
across a river
deer in love

The third phrase might also be translated, "secret love" or "enduring love."

1822, Age 60
Third Month, 10th day, his third son, Konzaburô, is born.
Next year, his wife, Kiku, dies.

sakuo haiku
separated to East and West
more longing for
deer of phantom  

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

tabacco taste good !

Issa Original 1819
ima haru ga kita yôsu nari tabako bon

David’s English
now spring has come

for sure...

tobacco tray

1819, Age 57 Sixth Month, 21st day, Sato dies of smallpox.

sakuo Renku
Two have slept
tobacco taste good

Sunday, January 22, 2006

only God knows

Issa Original
ganjitsu ya sara ni ryoshuku to omohoezu

1795, Age 33. He visits Matsuyama City.

David’s English
New Year's Day--
that I'm still on this journey

David's Comment
Shinji Ogawa explains that ryoshuku ("inn"), in this context, signifies "journey." Shinji notes that Issa started off on the 25th day of Third Month, 1792, and when this haiku was composed on New Year痴 Day of 1795, he was still on the same journey. Sara ni signifies "once more," or "over again." In this situation, it means, "still." Issa is still on his great journey--a fact that seems, suddenly, incredible to him.

sakuo Renku
only God knows
my destination

Saturday, January 21, 2006

me too a offering money

Issa Original 1813
kojjiki mo fuku daigoku no tsumori kana

David’s English
even the beggar
hopes to get rich...
god of wealth singers

David's Comment
Daikoku is a god of wealth. In Issa's time, the daikokumai were troupes of begging musicians who performed between the 11th day of First Month and the first day of Second Month; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 964. Since they were named after a god of wealth, supporting them was a way to ensure prosperity for the coming year. Here, even a beggar donates name after.

sakuo Renku
give me too
a money offering

come on happy !

Issa Original 1820
hatsu yuki e sashidasu shishi no atama kana

David’s English
stretching outtoward the first snow...lion puppet's head
David’s Comment
A lion puppet play (shishimai) is a popular New Year's entertainment.
It is old folk festival dance .

sakuo Renku
by by unhappy
come on happy

Friday, January 20, 2006

family saftey and business success

Issa Original 1825
hyakufuku no hajimeru fuigo hajime kana

David’s English
starting the New Year's luckfirst stokeof the fire

David’s Comment
Issa doesn't overtly mention New Year's in this haiku, but fuigo hajime ("first bellows") is a New Year's seasonal expression. His first act of the morning, puffing air into the hearth's fire, is humble and ordinary, but it will, he hopes, begin the process of "a hundred blessings" (hyakufuku) showering down upon him in the year ahead.

1825, Age 63
Last year, he marries Yuki, but after three months , they divorce.

sakuo Comment
Issa’s home village has been famous for blacksmith of agriculture tool and a horseshoe.
There were many blacksmiths at Issa’s age, the only one is surviving now.
The hearth opening was important ceremony at the village.
All villagers hope the safety and prosperity of this Year.

sakuo Renku
pray family safety
and business success

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Eta、monkey team busy ! 

Issa Original 1816
mai-zaru mo kutabire-gao wa sezari keri

David’s English
dancing monkey--its face alsoisn't weary

David’s Comment
Dancing monkeys perform their tricks in the New Year's season. Shinji Ogawa asks, "Who else didn't show a weary face? The master of the dancing monkey? In any case, I am totally at a loss. I cannot see any significance in this haiku. When we read haiku, we should make our effort to understand the haiku. However, it is largely of the composer's responsibility to make the haiku understandable." I agree. Though a good haiku must leave something unsaid so that readers can complete it with their imaginations, this particular example perhaps leaves too much unspoken.

Sakuo’s Comment
Why the monkey aren’t tired ?
Why did Issa put “mo=also” in this haiku ?
I suppose the monkey is tired as well as his master ,
because monkey dances are busy at New year days.
The competitors of the dance didn’t appeared in Edo city,
The business of monkey show was monopolized by discriminatory people
who belonged to the lowest class in Edo stratified society.
They were called Eta.
Owing this structure the monkey dance team must do their best in New Year’s
performance. I think there would be boss of the business who exploited 
each teams. but poverty of Eta needs the team work at special Year event.

sakuo Renku
Eta is busy
on New Year in Edo

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

other five zonis are in the Heaven

Issa Original 1823
motomoto no ichininmae zo zôni zen

David’s English
like in the beginning
just one helping...
zoni on the table

1823 age 61.
Issa was now sixty one, and had lost his wife and four children.

Zôni, glutinous rice cakes with vegetables, is enjoyed
in the New Year's season.

sakuo Renku
other five zonis
are in the heaven

Monday, January 16, 2006

Don Don bonfire,Don Don snow !!

Issa Original 1818
dondo yaku dondo to yuki no furi ni keri

David’s English
New Year's bonfireand a New Year's snowcoming down

1818 age56
After the first son born, soon dies last year,
on fifth month, a daughter born

David’s Comment
Issa repeats and puns with the word, dondo, which refers to a Little New Year's bonfire and also describes the faling of the snow: "rapidly." In my translation, I try to match this effect with the repetition of "New Year's."
On Little New Year's, the day of the year's first full moon ( First Month, 15th day), New Year's decorations of pine-and-bamboo and sacred Shinto rope are burned.

Sakuo Comment.
Dondon bonfire is pleasant event.
Dondon snow fall imply gloomy and long winter life.
The haiku bring us brightness as well as darkness, making the haiku sharply contrast.

Sakuo Renku
short celebration
again long winter

Sunday, January 15, 2006

just as I am, this year too

Issa Original 1821
kado-guchi ya jinen bae-naru matsu no haru

David's English
at my gate
wildly it grows...
spring pine

sakuo Renku
just as I am
will live this year

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Kiku is busy !

Issa Original 1814
kado-guchi wo inu ni azukete kiku no hana

David’s English
trusting the dog
to guard the gate...

1814, Age 52
Fourth Month, he marries Kiku ("Chrysanthemum": age 28).

Sakuo’s Comment
His young wife named Kiku was cheerful.
She worked very well at housekeeping as well as farm working
She assisted Issa’s half brother’s work in rice field.
And she kept good relationship with the neighbors, of course with
the next door.

sakuo Renku
Kiku is always busy for the sake of Issa

Friday, January 13, 2006

I will make a flower bloom still more

Issa Original 1824
ôyuki wo kabutte tatsu ya fukuju kusa

David’s English
covered by the big snowyet they stand...New Year's grasses

1824, Age 62
Fifth Month, he marries Yuki, a samurai's daughter (age 38).
After three months they divorce.
New Year's grasses,
is called Fukuju kusa literally, "prosperity grass"

sakuo Renku
what still more making a flower bloom

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Congratulations, New Issa site !

Sakuo Original 
onedetou sai syupatu ya hotoke tomo

Sakuo’s English
making a fresh start
with Buddha

For four months, Hurricane Katrina broke the web server at Xavier
University in New Orleans.
Dr. David Lanoue could not send Issa’s haiku to subscribers around the world.
Then I had to pick up Issa’s haiku from the book, Pure Land Haiku,
written by Dr. David.
I was lucky enough to study the religious ideas of Issa that lie hidden under his
seemingly childish poetry.
I must thank the hurricane for this.
I will back to the site” Haiku of Kobayashi Issa”

Congratulations, New Issa site, and please enjoy Issa’s image with us.


Saturday, January 07, 2006


Issa Original
mida butsu wo tanomi ni akete kesa no haru

David’s English
in Amida Buddha
spring’s first dawn

Sakuo Renku
trust! trust!
the year starts

Friday, January 06, 2006

can survive the winter

Issa Original
fuyugomori tori ryouri ni mo nenbutsu kana

David’s English
winter seclusion---
cooking a chickin
praising Buddha

Sakuo Renku
thanks to you
can survive the winter.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

once more three pennies

Issa Original
san mon ga kasumi mini keri tomegane

David’s English
for three pennies
nothing but mist…

Issa visited Kanda myo-jin that is the symbol Temple of Edo civilian.
The temple stands on the highest place in the city as same as the
central tower of Edo castle.
At there Issa made this haiku in the gentle spring day.
He had very familiar friend who is a priest of the Temple in Nippori where is
far 3 kilo-meter.
Then I asked in my Renk.
Sakuo Renku
more three pennies
do you see Nippori ?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

the flower Heaven!

Issa Original
namu namu to sakura akari ni netari keri

David’s English
praise Buddha!
sleeping in the light
of cherry blossoms

Sakuo Renku
spreading in the dark
the flower Heaven

Monday, January 02, 2006

together to the Buddha!

Issa Original
hae hitotau utte wa namu amida butsu kana

David’s English
swatting a fly
and praising Amida

Sakuo Renku
Together with the fly
go to the Buddha

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2006, the Dog Year !

To all
Happy New Year 2006

2006 is the Dog’s year that is the symbol of faith and friendship.
I will keep conveying Issa’s mind over the World.
I hope it will help mutual understanding among different cultures.
Wishing real peace will come to us.