Masaoka Shiki

Masaoka Shiki was one of the best Japanese poets; his real name was Masaoka Tsunenori. He was born in Matsuyama, in present-day Ehime Prefecture in 1867, one year before the Meiji revolution. He belonged to a humble samurai family; his father was Masaoka Hyata, who died when he was 5 years old. While Masaoka Shiki was still a child, he began to write prose and poetry; some years later, he studied Japanese Literature and poetry in the Tokyo Imperial University. Although, he died at the early age of 35 years due to tuberculosis, Shiki composed over 25,500 haiku in his short life.

Some of his most important work is:
  • Dassai sho-oku haiwa.
  • Haikai taiyô.
  • Haijin buson.
  • Masaoka shiki shu.
  • Shiki zenshû.
  • Basho zatsudan.


Poem 50

ちる花に

もつるゝ鳥の

翼かな



麥蒔や

たばねあげたる

桑の枝



松杉や枯野の

中の不動堂
chiru hana ni

motsururu tori no

tsubasa kana



mugi maki ya

tabane agetaru

kuwa no eda



matsu sugi ya kareno no

naka no Fudodo
Entangled with the

scattering cherry blossoms…

the wings of birds!



Wheat sowing…

the mulberry trees

lift bunched branches



Pine and cypress: in a

withered field, a shrine to Fudo


Poem 93

松の葉の

細き葉毎に

おく露の

千露もゆらに

玉もこぼれず



松の葉の

葉さきを細み

置く露の

たまりもあへず

白玉散るも



松の葉の

葉毎にむすぶ

白露の

おきてはこぼれ

こぼれてはおく
matsu no ha no

hosoki hagoto ni

oku tsuyu no

chitsuyu mo yura ni

tama mo koborezu



matsu no ha no

hasaki o hosomi

oku tsuyu no

tamari mo aezu

shiratama chiru mo



matsu no ha no

ha goto ni musubu

shiratsuyu no

okite wa kobore

koborete wa oku

On the pine needles,

each of the slender needles,

a dewdrop rest…

a thousand pearls lie

quivering, yet never fall



The tips of the pine

needles, so thin...

no sooner

does the dew collect

than white pearls scatter



To every needle of the

needled pine it clings…

the pearl white dew,

forming but to scatter,

scattering but to form



Poem 100

紅梅の

散りぬ淋しき

枕元



紅梅の

落花をつまむ

疊哉



瓶にさす

藤の花房

みじかければ

たたみの上に

とどかざりけり
kobai no

chirinu sabishiki

makura moto



kobai no

rakka o tsumamu

tatami kana



kame ni sasu

fuji no hanabusa

mijikakereba

tatami no ue ni

todokazarikeri
crimson plum blossoms

scattered over the loneliness

of the bed...



fallen petals of

the crimson plum I pluck

from the tatami



wisteria

in the vase

so short

it doesn't touch

the floor





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