10 haikuists and their works

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Chapter 3
Buson Yosa
(1716 ~ 1783)

In the 18th century, haikai-renga became less popular and the haikuists put efforts into the creation of hokkus.

Buson, excellent painter and poet, succeeded in evoking clear images in his picturesque hokkus filled with light.

Buson's hokkus, different from Basho's, don't present philosophy, nor show emphatic gestures. His expressions are so refined that he has no equal in technique. He had genius and he could make feel the eternity beyond the landscape by describing only one peaceful scene.

His poems are descriptive, but their scenery is idealized rather than realistic. This means that he wanted to describe the essence of things, not their surfaces.

Buson's hokkus, which utilized linguistic function beauty completely, have charmed a lot of poets and had a big influence on the modern haiku.

However, they depend deeply on the function of Japanese and it is difficult to translate them into foreign languages.

The air shimmers.
Whitish flight
Of an unknown insect.

Plowing the field.
A immobile cloud has disappeared.

A kite floats
At the place in the sky
Where it floated yesterday.

Spring evening.
To the half dying incense
I add it.

Short summer night.
A dewdrop
On the back of a hairy caterpillar.

A mosquito buzzes
Every time flowers of honeysuckle fall.

Four or five men dance in a circle.
Above them
The moon is about to drop.

The moon shines at the zenith.
I pass poor quarters.

Being awake
He says he is already asleep.
Autumn chilly night.

One lantern comes out of the castle.

Written by
Ryu Yotsuya

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