Santoka Taneda Biography

Taneda Santōka (3 December 1882 - 11 October 1940) was the pen-name of a Japanese author and haiku poet. He is known for his free verse haiku.

As an exponent of free style haiku, Santōka is often ranked alongside Ozaki Hōsai, a fellow student of Seisensui. They both suffered from the ill effects of their drinking habits and were similar in their reliance on Seisensui and other patrons of the arts for aid and support. The literary tone of their poems, however, differs.

Haiku excerpts from Hiroaki Sato’s translation of Santōka’s Grass and Tree Cairn:

I go in I go in still blue mountains

Wakeitte mo wakeitte mo aoi yama

Fluttering drunk leaves scatter

Horohoro yōte ki no ha chiru

Haiku excerpts from Burton Watson’s translation For All My Walking:


where the fire was

something blooming

yake-ato nani yara saite iru

feel of the needle

when at last

you get the thread through it

yatto ito ga tōtta hari no kanshoku

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