Yama areba yama o miru
ame no hi ame o kiku
haru natsu aki fuyu
ashita mo yoroshi
yube mo yoroshi
'' If there are mountains, I look at the mountains;
On rainy days I listen to the rain.
Spring, summer, autumn, winter.
Tomorrow too will be good.
Tonight too is good ''
- Santoka and the influence of Seisensui Ogiwara (1884-1976) , the founder of thejiyuritsu, or freestyle, school of haiku:
Following the death of Shiki (18671903) , who had revitalized and revolutionized the world of haiku, there were two main streams in the haiku world: one working in a more or less traditional form using modern themes, and the other, the shinkeiko, or new-development, movement, which abandoned the standard 5-7-5 syllable pattern and the obligatory use of a word to indicate the season, or kigo. In April 1911 Seisensui established the magazine Soun to expound the theory that it is necessary for a poet to express what is in his heart in his own language without regard to any fixed form. Seisensui felt that haiku should be an impression of one's inner experiences; individual symbolism is most important. Seisensui stressed jiyu (freedom) , jiko (self) , and shizen (nature) , together with the elements of chikara (strength) and hikari (brightness) , for his new haiku. Seisensui was influenced by European literature, especially Goethe and Schiller, and his poetry was essentially a combination of Japanese sensitivity and Western expressionism. However, it was neither agnostic nor scientific like much of the other new haiku. Haiku is a way rather than mere literature or art. Such a highly individualistic and subjective theory was criticized by many traditionalists, but it greatly appealed toSantoka. Beginning in 1913, Santoka became one of the main contributors to Soun and the free-style school.
Santoka is considered to be a great Zen master much like Ikkyu, Hakuin, and Ryokan, being his work filled with
the special Zen qualities of simplicity (wabi) , solitude (sabi) , and impermanence (mujo) conveyed in a modern setting by his haiku.
Santoka's life embodies the Zen spirit in three ways.
- First, since his life and poetry were one, he represents the ideal of ''no duplicity''
- Second, he did not mimic anyone else. In Japan, the life of a wandering poet is considered the most impermanent, irregular, and individualistic of all occupations. It is a life of freedom from everything: material possessions, mental concepts, social norms.
- Third is Santoka's simplicity of expression. In his verses there is no pretense, no artificiality. They can be understood at once without analysis. Sharp and direct, Santoka's haiku epitomize Zen writing: pure experience, free of intellectual coloring.
Santoka's poems are generally admired for their unadorned style, representative of the ''new haiku movement''
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