Kobayashi Issa

(1763 - 1827 / Kashiwabara / Japan)

Kobayashi Issa
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Kobayashi Nobuyki (Issa) was born in Kashiwabara, Shinano province, to a farming family and began writing in his childhood, which was marred by misfortune and sadness, his mother died and his father remarried resulting in torment at the hands of his step mother and step brother.

In 1777 he was despatched to Tokyo to study the Haiku form under such masters as Sogan and Chikua. He was forced to support himself by taking menial jobs before gaining entry into the Kasushika poetry school. At the age of 28 he was to be given a teaching post at the school but lasted just a year after it became clear that his modern style of haiku did not suit the clerical confines that were expected of ... more »

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Comments about Kobayashi Issa

  • trigg (9/24/2019 3:37:00 PM)

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  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/11/2016 8:19:00 AM)

    After Kobayashi Issa’s death, haiku poetry began a steady descent into mediocrity... until Masaoka Shiki saved it

    30 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Glen Kappy (1/31/2016 5:08:00 PM)

    my favorite among the great haiku triumvirate. so human. i became familiar with him through robert hass's the essential haiku and recommend it heartily. i don't usually buy books when i can borrow them, but i bought this one to refer to over and over. -glen kappy

    8 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/5/2015 4:15:00 AM)

    Basho, Issa Kobayashi, Buson, Shiki..4 shining stars..!

    98 person liked.
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Best Poem of Kobayashi Issa

A Bath When You'Re Born

His death poem:

A bath when you're born,
a bath when you die,
how stupid.


Translated by Robert Hass

Read the full of A Bath When You'Re Born