Matsuo Basho

(1644 - 1694 / Iga Province / Japan)

Matsuo Basho
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Bashō was born Matsuo Kinsaku around 1644, somewhere near Ueno in Iga Province. His father may have been a low-ranking samurai, which would have promised Bashō a career in the military but not much chance of a notable life. It was traditionally claimed by biographers that he worked in the kitchens. However, as a child Bashō became a servant to Tōdō Yoshitada, who shared with Bashō a love for haikai no renga, a form of cooperative poetry composition. The sequences were opened with a verse in the 5-7-5 mora format; this verse was named a hokku, and would later be renamed haiku when presented as stand-alone works. The hokku would be followed by a related 7-7 ... more »

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Comments about Matsuo Basho

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/21/2016 7:09:00 AM)

    荒海や佐渡によこたふ天河
    araumi ya / Sado ni yokotau / amanogawa
    the rough sea / stretching out towards Sado / the Milky Way [1689]

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/21/2016 7:08:00 AM)

    古池や蛙飛びこむ水の音
    furu ike ya / kawazu tobikomu / mizu no oto
    an ancient pond / a frog jumps in / the splash of water [1686]

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/19/2016 12:16:00 PM)

    the 'FOUR GREAT': Matsuo Basho, Issa Kobayashi, Yosa Buson, Masaoka Shiki..

  • Christable Anon (2/18/2012 7:44:00 PM)

    IF YOU LOVE BASHO, COME HELP ME BUILD THIS PAGE ON HIM.

    https: //www.facebook.com/pages/edit/? id=332598100115869&sk=basic#! /pages/Matsuo-Basho/332598100115869

  • Judy Meibach Judy Meibach (4/30/2010 9:26:00 AM)

    I never quite understood haiku until I started reading the works of Basho - now I am studying haiku - and it is quite enlightening - something very different than the poetry that I have often been accustomed to.

  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (11/16/2008 3:19:00 PM)

    How much can be said in so little words.I'm glad I finally discovered who wrote and invented the haiku.Thank you.I wrote some haiku based on THE OLD POND haiku-which is this poet's most famous.

Read all 6 comments »
Best Poem of Matsuo Basho

The Old Pond

Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:

Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

- Basho



Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)


Translated by Fumiko Saisho



The old pond-
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.


Translated by Robert Hass



Old pond...
a frog jumps in
water's sound.


Translated by William J. ...

Read the full of The Old Pond

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