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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016


Ray Rasmussen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Issa’s Humanity and Humour: A Haibun Passage from His Travel Journal Oraga Haru

| Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | About Issa | Endnotes |



This article is reprinted from A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014.

My thanks to Margaret Dornaus and Beverly Momoi for bringing Issa’s Travel Journal to my attention; to Beverly Momoi, Nancy Hull & Gary Ford for comments on various drafts; to Jeffrey Woodward and Beverly Momoi for their detailed comments; to Lorin Ford for her comments and copy editing; to Ron Moss for his haiga with Issa’s haiku; and to Jim Sullivan and Lorin Ford for the layout of the original on the pages of A Hundred Gourds.

Footnotes in Order of Citations:

1 “Kobayashi Issa,” taken on Jan. 30, 2014 from Wikipedia.

2 Donna Fleischer in The American Haibun website writes: “The first haibun are found in Matsuo Basho’s (1644 – 1694) travel diaries in which he recorded his outer and inner journeys on foot throughout 17th century Japan, of which, Oku no Hosomichi, or Narrow Road to the Interior, is the best known.

3 Sam Hamill, “Sam’s Haibun Tips,” taken on January 17, 2014 from Paul Nelson’s Website.

4 “Kobayashi Issa”, Petri Liukkonen Website, taken on Jan 27, 2014.

5 Jon LaCure, “Kobayashi Issa: Two Very Different Views,” Modern Haiku, 35:3, Autumn 2004.

6 Makoto Ueda, Dew on the Grass: The Life and Poetry of Kobayashi Issa, Brill Academic Publishers, 2004.

7 David G. Lanoue, Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa, Buddhist Books International, 2004.

8 Kobayashi Issa, The Year of My Life: A Translation of Issa’s Oraga Haru, Translation and notes by Nobuyuki Yuasa. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960.

9 Kobayashi Issa. The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku. Translation and Introduction by Sam Hamill. Boston: Shambhala, 1997.

10 Joan Zimmerman, “What English-Language Haibun Poets Can Learn From Japanese Practices,” Contemporary Haibun Online 9:4, January 2014.

11 & 12 Robert Hass, The Essential Haiku, The Ecco Press, 1994.

13 Harold G. Henderson, An Introduction To Haiku: An Anthology of Poems and Poets From Basho to Shiki, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, Doubleday & Company.

14 David G. Lanoue, “Master Bashô, Master Buson ... and Then There’s Issa,” Simply Haiku, 3:3 Autumn 2005.

15 “Oku no Hosomichi,” taken from Wikipedia on January 30, 2014. Basho’s travel journal is translated translated alternately as The Narrow Road to the Deep North and The Narrow Road to the Interior.

16 Steven D. Carter, from the Preface of the Kindle Reader version of Haiku from the Renga Masters: Before to Basho Haiku, New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Carter writes: “Abroad or in Japan, mention of the word haiku brings to mind Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), the greatest master of that genre.”

17 “Tsuru & Kame (Crane & Turtle)” Taken on January 15, 2013 from the Miyokographix website.

18 “The meaning of Japanese New Year traditions,” Taken on January 15, 2015 from the Japan Today website

19 For an example of Wakamizu in today’s Japan, visit the Ryukyu Gallery website.

20 “Crow,” Wikipedia, taken on February 17, 2014.

21 David G. Lanoue, “Stories Behind the Haiku: Cultural Memory in Haiku,” Modern Haiku, 44:3, Autumn 2013.

22 Jeffrey Woodward. From a personal correspondence with the author. March 1 and 2, 2014. Published with permission.

23 Ken Jones, “Writing Reality: Fictional Haibun Stories,” Contemporary Haibun Online 3:3 September 2007.

24 The Heron’s Nest website.

25 Jeffrey Woodward, "Haibun Tomorrow? Maybe, Maybe Not." Haibun Today (March 12, 2008).

26 Jane Hirshfield, The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (Vintage Books, 1990) with Mariko Aratani

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