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Kobayashi Issa

Kobayashi Issa

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Published by yashar430

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Categories:Types, Comics
Published by: yashar430 on Apr 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Kobayashi Issa
) (June 15, 1763 - January 5, 1828), was a Japanesepoet and lay Buddhist priest of the Jodo Shinshusect known for his haikupoems and journals. He is better known as simply
), a penname meaning Cup-of-tea
(lit. "one [cup of] tea"). He is regarded as one of the four haiku masters in Japan, along withBashō,BusonandShiki. Reflecting the popularity and interest in Issa as man and poet, Japanesebooks on Issa outnumber those on Buson, and almost equal those on Bashō
Issa was born and registered as Kobayashi Nobuyuki
), with achildhood name of Kobayashi Yatarô (
), the first son of a farmerfamily of Kashiwabara, now part of Shinano-machi,Shinano Province  (present-dayNagano Prefecture). Issa endured the loss of his mother, whodied when he was three. Her passing was the first of numerous difficultiesyoung Issa suffered. He was cared for by his grandmother, who doted onhim, but his life changed again when his father remarried five years later.Issa's half-brother was born two years later, and when his grandmother diedwhen he was 14, Issa felt estranged in his own house, a lonely, moody childwho preferred to wander the fields. His attitude did not please hisstepmother, who, according to Lewis Mackenzie, was a "tough-fibred'managing' woman of hard-working peasant stock."
He was sent toEdo (present-day Tokyo) to eke out a living by his father one year later. Nothingof the next ten years of his life is known for certain. His name was associatedwith Kobayashi Chikua (
) of the Nirokuan (
) haiku school, buttheir relationship is not clear. During the following years, he wanderedthrough Japan and fought over his inheritance with his stepmother (his fatherdied in 1801). After years of legal wrangles, Issa managed to secure rights tohalf of the property his father left. He returned to his native village at theage of 49
and soon took a wife, Kiku. After a brief period of bliss, tragedyreturned. The couple's first-born child died shortly after his birth. A daughterdied less than two-and-a-half years later, inspiring Issa to write this haiku(translated by Lewis Mackenzie):
Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara
  The world of dew --A world of dew it is indeed,And yet, and yet . . .
A third child died in 1820, and then Kiku fell ill and died in 1823. Issa marriedtwice more late in his life, and through it all he produced a huge body of work.Issa lived in this storehouse on his last days. (Shinano, Nagano, Japan)As a big fire swept thepost stationof Kashiwabara on July 24, 1827,according to the Western Calendar, Issa lost his house and had to live in hisstorehouse, which is still kept in the town. He died on January 5, 1828, in hisnative village. According to the old Japanese calendar, he died on the 19thday of Eleventh Month, Tenth Year of theBunseiera. Since the Tenth Year of Bunsei roughly corresponds with 1827, many sources list this as his year of death.
[edit] Writings
He wrote over 20,000 haiku, which have won him readers up to the presentday. Though his works were popular, he suffered great monetary instability.Despite a multitude of personal trials, his poetry reflects a childlikesimplicity, making liberal use of local dialects and conversational phrases.His works also includehaibun(passages of prose with integrated haiku) suchas
Oraga Haru
"My Spring") and
Shichiban Nikki
"NumberSeven Journal"), and he collaborated on more than 250renku(collaborativelinked verse).
One of Issa's haiku, as translated byR.H. Blyth, appears in J. D. Salinger's 1961 novel,
:Osnail ClimbMount Fuji,But slowly, slowly!Another, translated byD.T. Suzuki, was written during a period of Issa's lifewhen he was penniless and deep in debt. It reads: Trusting the Buddha (Amida), good and bad,I bid farewell To the departing year.

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