Haiku harusamu 寒き春(さむきはる) / Haiku for This Cold Spring…Kyoshi & Issa

Toronto Canada 2014_Haiku harusamu

Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959)

Translations by Katsuya Hiromoto



harukaze ya / tohshi idaki te / oka ni tatsu


Spring wind:

Full of fight

I stand on the hill



Me tsumureba / wakaki ware ari / haru no yoi


Shutting my eyes

I find a young me found

In the spring evening



Kono niwa no / chijitsu no ishi no / itsumademo


The rocks in this garden

Remain forever

In the lengthening days of spring



Nanigoto mo / shirazu to kotae / oi no haru


I know nothing”

Is my answer:

Spring in my old age



kore-yori wa / koi ya jigyoh ya / mizu nurumu


From this time on

Love, enterprise, and such:

Water has warmed up

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The following haiku by Kyoshi were translated by Aya Nagayama and James W. Henry:



Toki mono o kaiketsu suru ya haru o matsu

May time solve
Worries and difficulties –
Awaiting the spring




Kin no wa no haru no nemuri ni hairikeri

I have entered
The golden circle of
Spring slumber




Tohshi nao sonshite haru no kaze o miru

Steadfast in my soul
My fighting spirit remains
And I see the spring breeze




Hitori ku no suikou o shite osoki hi o
In your solitude
Honing and perfecting your haiku –
On a slow spring day


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Plus: two by Issa – to have with your cup of tea :-)

(Issa was the haiku pen-name of Kobayashi Nobuyuki Yataro. Issa means Cup of Tea.)

Issa / 一茶 (1763-1828)



manroku no haru to nari keri kado no yuki


some “proper spring”
this is!
snow at the gate




haru tatsu ya gu no ue ni mata gu ni kaeru


spring begins –
more foolishness
for this fool


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Fuyugomori / 冬篭り : Issa’s Haiku of Winter Seclusion

ZP_A light snowfall 2_Toronto Canada December 13th 2013

Toronto, Canada, December 2013…

The early arrival of not cold but unusually cold temperatures we associate with January – normally – may have people feeling sad – or feeling S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Well, poetry’s been there before; witness these Haiku composed two hundred years ago…

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Kobayashi Issa / 小林 一茶 (Japanese poet and lay Buddhist priest, 1763-1828)


no nashi wa tsumi mo mata nashi fuyugomori

no good deeds
but also no sins…
winter isolation.



asana-asana yaki daiko kana fuyugomori

morning after morning –
damn roasted radishes –
winter seclusion!



fuyugomori akumono-gui no tsunori keri

winter seclusion…
on a foul food eating


Foul food” may have referred to cicada pupae or “bee worms” but might also have meant beef – something prohibited by Issa’s Buddhism.


he kurabe ga mata hajimaru zo fuyugomori

the farting contest
begins again…
winter confinement.



hito soshiru kai ga tatsunari fuyugomori

another party held
to badmouth other people –
winter confinement.



sewazuki ya fushô-bushô ni fuyugomori

the busy-body reluctantly
his winter seclusion.



neko no ana kara mono wo kau samusa kana

buying from the peddlar
through the cat’s door…
it’s cold!



fuyugomoru mo ichi nichi futsuka kana

one more day
of winter confinement…
makes two.


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Gabi Greve writes:

Fuyugomori / 冬篭り means “winter seclusion/isolation/confinementin Japanese.

In rural Japan, especially in the Northern areas along the coast of the Sea of Japan, the winter was long and brought enormous amounts of snow. There was nothing much to do but wait it out. Farmhouses were difficult to heat and the family huddled around the hearth – iroriin the kitchen. Great endurance was required during such winter seasons.

Fuyugomori also may refer to cold-season hibernation – the habit of bears – and the “fantasy” of numerous Canadians at this time of year!


ZP_A light snowfall_Toronto Canada December 13th 2013

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