Harvard-Yenching Institute

The Japanese Comic Linked-Verse Tradition Author(s): Howard S. Hibbett Reviewed work(s): Source: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 23 (1960 - 1961), pp. 76-92 Published by: Harvard-Yenching Institute Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2718569 . Accessed: 19/02/2012 17:51
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APANESE POETRY has thedistinction,howeverdubious,of extremebrevity its two principal lyric forms. constricting in So are these-the thirty-one tanka 5iA and the seventeensyllable syllablehaiku fIP4J-that theywould seem inconceivablewithoutthe techniques of ellipsis, of allusion, of association, throughwhich the poet seeks to evoke the latent meanings of his fewimages. Yet these same devices of concentrationare used in another major poetic form verse"-which sustains the intensity -that of rengaak or "elinked of the tanka and haiku to lengthsof dozens, hundreds,or even thourecorded in Japanese sands of lines. The most spectacular solo flight literary historyis the set of some 23,500 linked verseswhich the poetnovelist Ihara Saikaku 1TRN (1642-1693) composed at a public exhibitionin the summerof 1684, duringa single day and night.This short-winded surprisingoutburstof what has been called "ethe Japain nese muse" climaxed a series ofmarathonperformances, the course of which Saikaku had several timesbeen outdone by his competitors. Why so much energyshould have been expended in thiskind ofversification, and what in factthe verses were like, are questions that lead back to the obscure origins of Japanese linked verse. For Saikaku or wrotein the "efree" " comic" haikai IIPPV vein,a kind of linked verse which was at once the most popular literarygenre of the early Tokugawa period and perhaps the most deeply rooted. Although haikai no renga, or haikai, as it was usually called, had beforethe seventeenthcentury, scarcelybeen recognizedas literature its role as a poetic diversionwas an importantone long before that time.' Even the "eshort renga," oftenclaimed as the direct ancestor of
The bestconcise accountsofearlyhaikai are Itasaka Gen 4 M'Ml;, Iwanami koza: Nihon bungakushi; H*



"Shoki haikai" ; 7(1958) and





by exchange meansofwhicha single a was chiefly witty linkedverse, in playful tone,wouldbe composedby or tanka, riddling otherwise tanka thissort-henceit has been of recorded twopoets.The earliest renga-is one whichOtomo Yakamochi*M*nt called the first by finished of compiler the Man'yoshiu (718-785), principal XZ, composedby a hemistich") addingto a kamino ku ?E?4fi ("eupper fields nun; Yakamochigave an amorousturnto her phrase "erice rice" wouldbe the from Saho River"by askingifthe "enew watered occursin thetenth-century example Another famous eatenall alone.2 kami witha morepuzzling Yamatomonogatari Ickn11, beginning noku: no Watatsumi naka ni zo tateru wa saoshika ya aki noyamabe There In theocean Standsthedeermountains Perhapstheautumn

the completing tanka: responded, To whichsomeone
sokoni miyuran in Are reflected it.3

period, included in the poetry contests (utaawase E*-) at court. Probablyit grewout of the long-establishedcourtshippractice of ex(1320-1388), changinglove poems. Indeed, Nijo Yoshimoto =NAthe supreme arbiterof elegance in renga, declared that linked verse began withthe briefsongs sung at the meetingof Izanagi and Izanami,
kiyo "Waka renga haikai" J Ijichi Tetsuo I J tfi, k*Vp, Shoryobu WWWAU-N (1953)3.1-17. Furtherdetails will be foundin the relevantarticlesof the see also Kokugoto (1957). For bibliography indispensableHaikai daijiten%3-tCRfL supplemented by the continuing kokubungaku 34(1957)4.120-133, kenkyiu bibliographiesin thejournal, Rengahaikai jJ4.k%Mqf5tCollaborative I should like to acknowledgemy indebtedness to the Stanford-Tokyo Studies Programwhichmade it possible forme, in the summerof 1958, to discuss these of Tokyo Kyoiku DaiKonishi Jin'ichi'JAand relatedproblemswithProfessor My thanksare due also to my colleague Itasaka Gen, Visiting gaku * who has kindly Lecturerin Japanese Language and Literatureat Harvard University, read the manuscript. 2 Nihon koten bungakutaikei El *t A^ 2:S* ( 959)5.345. 3 Ibid.,9.298. The word soko, associationwith watatsumi, in suggestsa pun on soko ,x (the "depths" of the ocean).

pastimeof the Heian became a fashionable Such verse-capping

? M ;



the gods among whose numerousprogenywere the islands of Japan. On this occasion the god Izanagi sang, "eHowdelightful!I have met a lovelymaiden"; and the goddess (who had earliermade the mistake of opening the exchange) replied, "How delightful!I have met a lovely youth."4Later lovers,thoughseldom achievingsuch awesome simplicity,oftenexchanged tanka of considerable wit. For example, we find this pair of tanka, probably of the late seventh or early eighth century,in the Man'yoshii: Narukami no sukoshitoyomite sashikumori ame mofuranu ka kimio todomen Narukami no suhoshitoyomite furazutomo ware wa tomaran imo shi todomeba The thunder Rumbles a little, Clouds thicken, And theremay be rain ... Perhaps you will have to spend the night. The thunder Rumbles a little, But even if no rain falls I will spend the night ... If you only ask me.5

A similarbut more sophisticatedkind of echoing imagery, witha turn in meaning,is seen in such exchanges of tanka as those in the Genji Naturally,the verse-cappingtechnique-that of the so-called short renga-led to more and more stress on the element of wit, by introducing a dissociation of sensibilityinto the tiny,intricatedesign of the tanka. Riddles were propounded, puns were freelyresorted to, unexpected associative leaps, beyond the ordinaryimplicationsof the in subject and imageryoffered thefirst came to be regarded hemistich, as the most effective response. Or so at least the scantyevidence suggests, such verses having rarelybeen considered worthyof preservation. But thereis no doubt that verse-cappingwas stimulatedby the competitive atmosphereof the utaawase,poetic gatherings whichwere
Tsukubamondo t bungakutaikei66.76. As Yoshimoto rPI in the Nihon koten goes on to point out, another early exponent of renga was the heroic Prince Yamatotakeru M9 one of whose verseswas replied to in verseby an old man in his en*AS, tourage. Since the Prince had sung of passing throughTsukuba, renga has long been knownas "the way of Tsukuba" (Tsukuba no michi$t a ). 5 Nihon koten bungakutaikei6.191.

monogatari i1M t1




sometimesenlivened by gamblingfor high stakes. Often the second emphahemistich(the shimono ku P043j) was writtenfirst, further sizing the artificial, intellectualaspect of the exercise; and fromthis it would not have been a long step to adding poetic links both before and aftera given verse, or, as in the oftenquoted verses in the Ima kagami 44c (1170), to adding a third link to cap the capped extension of the verse.6This was a process likely to lead to further chain of verses, though how the formactually developed is obscure. Probably the influenceof the associational techniques used in sequences and anthologieswas a criticalfactor,as Konishi Jin'ichi has convincinglyargued.7Thus, however many the missing links in the historicalsequence of this development,the curious additive process went on to its sometimesprodigious lengths. What may seem even more curious, perhaps, is that the "'distance" and thirdlinks,or betweenany two verses separated betweenthe first close by another,came to be as strictly required as the comparatively associations between adjacent verses. Even two successive verses are oftenso subtlylinked as to seem almost unrelated. The several varieties of linked verse are alike in their basic structure: a seventeenas syllableverse is followedby one of fourteen, in the tanka, then by another of seventeen, another of fourteen,and so on, to an agreed length.Each verse,while related more or less closely to the preceding direcone, must turn the thread of meaning in a somewhatdifferent in tion. Since no more than two links maybe bound together a logical seems akin to that of free association, or of a unity, the total effect highlystylizedstreamof consciousness technique. As in the horizona tal picture scroll (emakimono kt), which offers convenientanalWg ogy, the varied landscapes oflinked verse are seen in a kind of "floatSee Donald Keene, JapaneseLiterature(London, 1953), p. 33. "Association and Progression: Principles of Integrationin Anthologies and Sequences of Japanese Court Poetry,A.D. 900-1350," HJAS 21 (1958).67-127. It should however,that the Chinese formof linked verse (lien-chuii be remembered, I."iJ) was with the wakan renku knownand practiced in Japan during the Heian period, together a long-popularhybrid the two.AlthoughChinese linked versewas unified of kPks1314u, similarto the Japanese,its standardlengthsof by its subjectand thus only superficially fifty one hundred lines and its concept of a topic for the verses (fushimono and JRq, but soon restrictedto the opening verse) were among the influenceswhich helped to shape the renga. See Horst Hammitzsch,"Wakan- und Kanna-renku," OE 5(1958). 50-80.
6 7



ing perspective," rather than froma fixedpoint of view. To ensure most sets oflinked verse were composed jointly by two,three, variety, often,howor more poets gatheredat a meeting,formalor informal; ever, this genre was practiced by a single poet, observingthe same was generally conventions. Such a solo performance(dokuginMW'4) and as merelya formof trainingfor the regarded as less interesting rigorsof group composition.Except fora few individualistslike Saito by poets preferred seek harmonyin variety subkaku, linked-verse to the spiritof the group. ordinatingtheirown poetic impulses Always,of course, the poem itselfgoes fromseason to season, from from the mood to mood, witha dreamlikefreedom place to place, from limitationsof time and space- wie auf einer Flussfahrtdurch das Marchenland der Wirklichkeit."8But this delight in the dissolving view thatblends one set of images with anotherhas been a featureof Japanese poetry fromearliest times. There is, to cite a particularly example, the device of the kakekotoba flagrant 4PM1or "pivot-word," The ever-changing flowof a linkedthe despair of the translator. long verse sequence carries this poetic principle to its ultimate-one hesitates to say logical-conclusion. century, then,longerchains ofverseswerebeing During the twelfth as composed, perhaps frequently a parlor-gamein which the participants recited one verse afteranother at a fixedtempo, much as Saiexhibitions.One is remindedof the kaku did in his solo linked-verse new Japanese word-gameofshiri-tori P1R 9 ("tail-catching,"forming syllable of each taken fromthe last words in sequence with the first syllableof the word before) or, forthatmatter,of its currentpsychohowever, century, analyticalWestern counterpart.By the late twelfth the "serious" renga had begun a rapid developmentunder the influence both of the hundred-poemtanka sequence (hyakushuuta Wf6fk) anthologies,soon designed imperial thenin vogue and of the carefully to culminatein the Shinkokinshui V1ti+i4 (compiled ca. 1206). Both were importantpoetic acrenga compositionand anthology-making tivitiesat the court of the cloistered but vigorous Emperor Go-toba (1180-1239), himselfa poet who liked to compose renga, *Jft. whose own tankawere largelyin long, integratedsequences, and who in reached a new height of virtuosity saw to it that the Shinkokinshui
8 Oscar Benl, "Das japanische Kettengedicht,"ZDMG 104(1954).449.







flowers,the ceremonial calendar, and, fromone poem to the next, images linked by association, by contrast,by allusion, and the like. It was to such rarefiedtastes that the new renga appealed. Like the harmoniouspatternsof association and progressionof the tanka sequences and anthologies,the linked images of the ushin7;Ni (eeserious," literally "mind-possessing") school of renga were consonant with classical tanka poetics. This was naturally the kind of of renga favoredby such professionalcourtier-poets the palace wakaThfkJ ("Poetry Office") as Fujiwara Teika *qZ1 (1162dokoro (1158-1237). But there was also a 1241) and Fujiwara Jetaka-* mushinftii ("mind-lacking," or "frivolous") school of renga, devoted to the haikai mode, and it was this group which preservedsome of the freedomsof the uninhibitedword-game.With the flourishing or ofthe serious renga,the mode ofcomic linked-verse, haikai,instead away,became morevigorous.Even the most serious poets ofwithering indulged in such diversionsat theirgatherings.Still, Nijo Yoshimoto relegated haikai to a subordinate place in his influential"Tsukuba Collection" (Tsukubashui i-XRZ) of 1356, the firstimperial anthology of renga; and in the second such anthology, the Shinsen (1495) compiled by the renga master Sogi Tsukubashui VIhUM haikai were omitted entirely.Nevertheless,Sogi @i'J (1421-1502), himself composed haikai, although these were distinguished from standard rengaby hardlymore than the presence ofwords of Chinese derivation.Such violationof the rules of diction which had long been enforcedin classical tanka was enough to satisfythe haikai requirement of a juxtaposition of the vulgar and the elegant. For the "true renga," which had alreadybecome establishedas the mostvitalpoetic genre, was composed in accordance with the strict and elaborate poetics ofthe tanka,as well as witheven moreelaboraterules designed in to enforcethe principles of change and continuity linked verse. gatherRules of one sort or anotherforthe conduct oflinked-verse ings had of course been necessaryfromthe verybeginning.But they and fourhad sprung up in especial profusionduring the thirteenth

patcomplexassociational of the manipulation key imagesto form obviousthattheyhave only wereso farfrom terns. These patterns Thus, theanthology scholars. by beenrediscovered Japanese recently arrangedto suit the changesin the includespoems meticulously and of trees the landscapes, succession blossoming changing weather,



teenth centuries-that is, until Yoshimoto, of unsurpassed literary and political influence court,codifiedexistingrules forrengain his at definitive Oan-shinshiki (1372). Yoshimoto's rules were enM-g; dorsed by imperialdecree the following year,and later rule-makershaikai mode of linked verse-tended to followthem as even for the well. Thus the renga poetics established in the fourteenth century continued to exert an influenceas long as linked verse was written. Besides such superficialmattersof decorum as the seating arrangements and the way of foldingthe paper used to record a poem, even and distribution importantthemesand images were of the frequency subject to minuteregulation.For example, the moon had to be mentioned on or beforecertainfixedverses (seven timesin a hyakuin , n therewas a similarrule forcherrybloshundred-verse a series), and soms, that prime symbolof springand the transienceof beauty (four times in a hyakuin). In the kasen WNW, the thirty-six-verse series which came into vogue in the seventeenthcentury,cherryblossoms appeared twice and the moon three times. Poets were customarilyreluctant to claim the privilege of using these time-honoredimages before they were forced to do so by the rules. However, some things-the horse, the grasshopper,the peony, etc.-were considered too obtrusiveto mentionmore than once in a single hyakuin.A fewwords were so alarming that they were traditionallysupposed to occur only "once in a thousand verses": oni * ("demon"), tora LE ("tiger"), tatsu K ("dragon"), and onna ("woman"). Again, there were a number of categories of subjects, some of which-"grass" and "trees," for instance-could only be mentionedin a single link, and not again until fivemore verses had passed (one need wait only threeverses if the "grass" had been followed by "tree," or vice versa), while others-love, forinstance-had to be mentioned in at least two but not more than five successive verses of a hyakuin. (Love was considered an indispensable theme; however,like religion,it was excluded fromthe opening verses.) If autumn or spring happened to be the season implied in a certain verse, the next two verses (but not more than fivein all) were supposed to suggest it too. Summeror winter,since theywere regarded as less conducive to poetic inspiration,could be dropped aftera single verse and were not to be endured beyond threeversesat the most. The rules for the early verses were particularlydetailed, in order to




establish a smoothlyvaried pattern.9And this poetic legislation was remarkablyeffective.Indeed, the requirementsfor the important "opening verse" or hokkuR4U, which had to have both an emotive particle (kireji4-1J4)and a seasonal reference(kigo jf), have been of observedby most writers independent haiku ever since.10 Of course even classical renga poets violated some of these rules or set up new rules of theirown fromtime to time. Most haikai poets were a good deal freer.Freedom, not to say license, was the keynote of the firsthaikai collection, the modestly entitled Inu Tsukubashiu JU"Ai'A, or "Mongrel Tsukuba Collection," which was compiled chiefly Yamazaki Sokan LlllhW's (1465?-1553?). The Inu Tsukuby containsonly fragments linked-verse of bashui sequences, in the versecapping manner,but its range of subjects and diction goes farbeyond the bounds of traditional poetic propriety.And the vulgar is set against the conventionallypoetic, whetherby simply minglingthe two or by specificparody of well-known poems. A cloudless moon is said to be "stark naked" (akahadaka), most inelegantly;and one of the poet Narihira's greatesttanka,on the subject of the pain of unre9 For a translation with commentary illustrating renga rules, see Kenneth Yasuda,

Minase Sangin Hyakuin (Tokyo, 1956) and Donald Keene, Anthology Japanese of Literature(New York, 1955), pp. 314-321. On later haikai see Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai, Haikai and Haiku (Tokyo, 1958), pp. 93-118, and Horst Hammitzsch,"Das Sarumino, eine Haikai-Sammlungder Bash8-Schule," DGNVO (1955) 77.22-37 and 78.44-60. 10The locus classicusfor the principle that theobligatory season word should corretjJ spond to theactual timeof compositionis to be foundin Sogi's Azuma mondo in the Nihon kotenbungaku taikei66.218. Sogi reportsthat the nun Abutsu FPJT? ;, when requested to compose a hokku the last day of the ninth moon, produced on JM, thisverse: Kyowa haya aki no kagiri ni narinikeri Today We have already reached The end of autumn.

To this the others present added the remainingninety-nine verses of a hyakuin.The followingday another gatheringwas held, and Abutsu was again asked to supply the opening verse. She readilyresponded: Kyowa mata fuyu no hajime ni narinikeri Today We have once more reached The beginningof winter.

and proceeded to lecture the company on the importancein composing hokku conof to forming the actual season.



The pair of to quitedlove,is parodiedto refer a toothextraction." of edition theInu Tsukuwhich openstheoldestprinted verses linked of in is bashui typical itsmistreatmenta classicalimage:thatof Prinare whosegarments cherry cess Sao ftIa4 , theGoddessof Spring, and a robeofmist. blossoms Kasumino koromo The robeofmist susowa nurekeri Is soakedat thehem, Sao, no Princess Sao-hime On thefirst ofspring, day haru tachinagara ... o Makeswaterstanding 12 shito shite "whilerising," line in The pivot-word thenext-to-last (tachinagara: as or "beginning," of spring,or simply"standingup") links the way,at that-withone ofthevariunladylike goddess-and in a most into intrudes whichthehaikaipoet cheerfully ous humanfunctions and riddling, irrevpunning, oflanka.Parody, world theharmonious or so haikaias well,butnever vigorously in erencehad existed earlier to haikai, of as so pervasively in those-a widecollection Muromachi be sure-of theInu Tsukubashln. in are verses clearly theold tradiof A great many itspairsoflinked no ku) to an inverse seventeen-syllable (kami tionofaddinga witty as iilJ4WfJt laterknown maekuzuke no nocuousshimo ku,in themanner amongothby which was practiced Saikaku, linking"), ("front-verse satirical senryu VIIJ. to ers,and whichled eventually theimpudent, versesrangefarbeyondthe polite the Like senryui, Inu Tsukubashfi ribald.And of and classicalrenga-evento thefrankly subjects tanka downand written humor was carefully vulgar thefactthatthisoften of a is which itself parody one oftheimperial in preserved a collection had of of power what evidence thegrowing is anthologies, theclearest movement. underground been a literary haikaiis represented in A rather moresobertendency Muromachi by sequencescompleted Araof by thecollection tenhundred-verse Haikai in 1540 and entitled (1473-1549) kida Moritake t*fl1K f#W("One Thousand Solo senku fXWg no rengadokugin senku), Thousand Verses" (Moritake Haikai Verses"). "Moritake's

taikeiH VNihon haisho
Ibid., p. 37.

(1926) 131p#k* 6.38,41.




as theyare usually known,are not only decorous in comparisonwith but obedient to the formaldiscipline of those of the Inu Tsukubashli serious renga composition. Moritake pointed out that many renga disapproved of haikai by haikai, and he strongly mastershad written as anyone withoutrenga training, well as ofhaikai whichwere marred by solecisms or excessivelycolloquial diction; indeed, he went so far in as to express the view thathaikai ought not to differ the least from "true renga," except by being "humorous" (okashi).13 Although his by verses were seldom actuallyfunny any standards,he evidentlyfelt His obliged to defend his haikai fromthe charge of utter frivolity. to efforts establish haikai as a major genre were to be repeated with success by poets of the seventeenthcentury;its acceptance as an imexpressionwas achieved only afterits circle portantmeans of literary of devotees had widened to include many membersof the risingclass of well-to-dotownsmen,persons outside the clergy and militaryor court aristocracy-who were the repositoriesof the traditionalculture. Yet neitherSokan nor Moritakewere ordinaryplebeians of the sort thatwere takinga greaterand greaterpart in haikai composition: Sokan was a scholar and Buddhist priest, probably of aristocratic lineage; and Moritake,who was a Shinto priest, eventuallybecame head of the great Ise Shrines. Both were also mastersof the classical renga. It was in the seventeenthcentury,afterthe conclusion of the long formmedievalwars, thathaikai at last became a recognizedliterary the mostpopular ofall until the rise of the ukiyo-zoshi rTUIXf school itselfstronglyinfluencedby haikai. In an age of of fiction-writing, peace and prosperityunder Tokugawa rule, commercialprintingbeand haikai books were published in increasingnumgan to flourish, new anthologyappeared in 1633, preceded only by a bers. The first edition of the "Mongrel Tsukuba," to which it respectmovable-type , or "Puppy Collecfullyalluded by its filialtitleof Enokoshuik tion." In the next fifty years nearly three hundred works concerned withhaikai were published. Soon haikai poets were appearing all over Japan, thoughespecially in the greatcities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo, and the production of light verse became somethingof a cultural industry.Teachers and criticsof haikai were beginningto make a living
13 Ibid.,p.




at it; some later ones made a verygood living. Rule-books were pubfifteen lished too,beginningin 1636 and culminating yearslaterin the Gosan 001)A influential ("August Umbrella") of Matsunaga Teitoku e thatTeitoku accept>*0 (1571-1653). Yet it was only reluctantly Like his predecessors,he role as leader of the haikai movement. ed his as a of regarded himself primarily renga poet. The formality practice his by his school reflected own background as well as the somewhat uneasy respect for culture of the newly prosperous townsmenwho studied under him. Teitoku provided his pupils with extremelydetailed instructions on the proper way of writinghaikai, insistingin particularthat they include haigon {PIRE;("haikai words," words which were taboo in renga) in each verse. Lists of such words were soon being supplied to the many who needed them. This sort of paradoxically stereotyped noveltyextended to subject matteras well as to diction. There was also a growingtendencyto prescribecorrectassociations,and, above all, to exclude coarseness. Indeed, Teitoku not only criticized the whichwas accepted as the classic livelierversesoftheInu Tsukubashli, but went so faras to rewritethem.For example, he haikai anthology, proposed that the lines about the robe of mist soaked at the hem (quoted above) be followedby these: Amabito ya amakudarurashi haru no umi A heavenlybeing Seems to have descendedThe sea in springtime.'4

Under such leadership, haikai became a well-regulated,demanding, and eminently respectableart. In the latter half of the seventeenthcentury,however,Teitoku's conservatism was challenged by a numberof new, comparatively unlearned poets. Foremost among these, and the most talented and energetic of all, was Saikaku. Although his so-called Danrin A4* school'5 had as its nominal head the poet Nishiyama Soin f1ithlMI
14Ibid., p. 61. 15The name Danrin ("Sermon-Forest",an irreverent allusion to a Buddhist training centerforpriests) came fromthatof the meeting-place a group of haikai of poets whom SMinvisitedwhile in Edo during the summerof 1675. A hokku which he composed for themcombinedthe imageofplum blossoms (alluding to his own haikai name ofBai6 W*




(1605-1682), there seems no doubt that Soin, who was a former samuraiand who was accomplishedin rengaas well as haikai,held the place of honor chiefly because of his age, background,and prestige. Soin's versesare stillfrequently anthologized,perhaps morefrequently than those of any otherhaikai poet beforeBasho; but thatis probably because his styleis neitherso dry as Teitoku's nor so difficult as Saikaku's. Still, he did on occasion writesuch parody hokkuas this: Nagamu to te hana ni mo itashi kubi no hone Gazing on and on Till the blossoms have become A pain in the neck.'8

The first two lines are borrowedfroma familiartanka,but end with a pun which can be taken in the colloquial-and quite literal-sense of "painful." Thus Soin shattersthe lyrical mood much as Teitoku, though reversingthe process, joins a prosaic proverb to an elegant allusion: Hana yori mo dangoya arite kaeru kari Bread ratherthan blossomsIs that why The wild geese return?'7

But Soin does not go so faras Saikaku in leaping fromone verse to
') withthatof "the treesof the Sermon-Forest." Ten hyakuin were completedin three days, and published in 1675 under the titleDanrin toppyakuin g. f ;gJ I 16 Hyoshaku Edo bungakusoisho (1935) 7.26. The hokku parod;fff UP ,Z=ir ies a Shinkokinshii tanka by the priest Saigya iff (ii 18-i1go):
Nagamu to te hana ni mo itaku narenureba chiruwakarekoso kanashikarikere Gazing on and on Till the blossoms have become Painfullydear, And the partingwhen theyfall Brings deep sadness.

17 Hyoshaku Edo bungakusosho7.11. The proverbhana yoridango ("Dumplings before cherryblossoms") has called to mind a familiarpoetic conceit about the wild geese abandoning theprospectof cherry blossoms to returnin springto theirdrearynorthern home. Teitoku mayhave had in mind specifically Kokinshiu the tanka:

Haru-gasumi tatsuo misutete yukukari wa hana naki sato ni sumiya naraeru

Though springhaze spreads, The wild geese Fly awayBecause theyare at home Only in flowerless villages?



in thenext;his practice linking verses, in writing as hokku, more is closerto the Teitoku-school whichSaikaku conservative, orthodoxy called "old style" (kofui tETA). Certainly Saikakuand the otheryoungDanrin poets,in Osaka, Kyoto,and Edo, were the most vigorousexponentsof the "new of style"(shimpii members theTeitokuschooldid their VA), which Saikaku'sexhibitionistic feats solo werepartofthe bestto discredit. and between newand old styles, probably too newand the far battle for exuberant Soin's taste.But evenduringthe 1670's whenDanrin the was an influence at itsheight, Teitokuschoolremained important of one, theauthority against whichSaikakuand theothers his group The claimed thesepoets,though wererebelling. freedoms by perhaps wereregarded extremely as mildenoughto a modern view, daring. certainmetrical Besides permitting themselves irregularities, they of on verses a humorous, realistic of basedmany their observation the of aboutthem-notonlyofthecharms nature, also ofthose but world and thebrothel and of all the otherfacets of of the theater quarter, of curhowever citylife.Yet anyexamination Saikaku'slinkedverse, of showsthatit has boththecharacteristics his prosefictionsory, of free at a profusion imagery suggesting association itsmost libertine, withwitand an often touched of cynical gaiety-and many thecharof The acteristics linkedverse of the aristocratic renga tradition. violencewhichhe does to thattradition dependsupon a thorough in grounding it. werenotso radicalas thepolemics thetime Danrinpoets,thus, of their"enew marked distinct a might suggest.Still, style" changetowardthestyle developed thepoet MatsuoBashoN"ANK (1644by 1694), whichhas held a positionof supremacy the presentday. to Danrin tasteavoided the stereotyped associations earliersevenof in of teenth-century haikai, favor a fresh, spontaneous playofwitand realism. Insteadofmerely beinghumorous vulgarizing by traditional the poeticmaterials, Danrinpoets also often reversed technique the of ironicjuxtaposition and used an elegant,traditional mannerin treating subjects which were, theold standards, by hopelessly vulgar. OtherDanrincharacteristics its use ofa moreChinesevocabuwere moreimaginative linksbetween lary,ofwider, verses, a technique of of extreme allusiveindirection. Basho had begunhis own careerby in writing theDanrinvein-his earliest versesappearedin 1664,two




years beforethose of Saikaku-and it was the application of Danrin techniquesto poetryofhigh seriousnessthatmarkedhis revolutionary new style. Soon there was a great increase in the popularity of the comic maekuzuke styleof versification, which had become a steppingto haikai forthose who lacked trainingin tanka and renga; and stone during Saikaku's later years the vogue of maekuzuke and a varietyof related forms(zappai Uf4P) began to surpass that of Danrin haikai. Eventuallythe poetics of Basho became orthodoxforhaikai, and only Kobayashi Issa 'I't*-+f (1763-1827), among the major eighteenthand nineteenth-century poets, admitteda comic elementto his haikai had long since turned to maekuzuke. verses. Most Danrin followers Such was the success of Basho's sober, dedicated school of haikai (though only afterhis death) that Saikaku's haikai have long languished unread-even unstudied. They are indeed the antithesisof conventionalmodernJapanese poetic tastes. Today, Saikaku's novels and stories have been elevated to the rank of classics of Tokugawa for literatureand enjoy a good deal of popularity,chiefly theirerotic seems merelyan incrediblelegend. realism,but his poetic virtuosity Yet the factis thathe continued to writehaikai,and to regardhimself in as a haikai poet, even afterturningto prose fiction 1682. His most under suitablyleniastonishingfeatof solo versification-composing, ent ground rules, 23,500 verses in a single day and night-was performedin 1684,18and in his last years he was once again an active in figure the haikai world. Indeed, one of the most important, though solo haikai which he least accessible, of his worksis the hundred-link probablycomposed in the autumnof 1692, theyearbeforehis death.'9
18Improbable as this marathon haikai may seem, it is now generallyaccepted as in is historicalfact.Evidence forits authenticity summarized Noma K6shin T ri;,, (1952), pp. 149-153. However, the manuscript j Saikaku nembukosho it has been lost; forobvious reasons,both commercialand literary, was neverpublished. 19See FujimuraTsukuru j YakuchiiSaikaku zenshui t (1947) Oft has not yet appeared. a edition of this hyakuin 2.269-417. Unfortunately, trustworthy by scroll,withcommentary Saikaku himself existsin a superbsixty-foot The manuscript to whichhave been attributed him,in the possession of the Tenri as well as illustrations is 323 Library.Saikaku's commentary sometimesmoreobscure than the verses themfantasy the same themesand images as the on selves. Much ofit is simplya free-ranging like verses-a vividillustration, all his novelsand stories,of the haikai mannerin prose. (i688), see G. W. On Saikaku's use ofhaikaitechniquein Nipponeitaigura [i *.A(t CiR England, 1959), pp. XxIx-xxxxI. (Cambridge, FamilyStorehouse Sargent,tr.,TheJapanese



A translation its first of verses(thesho-omote eight U*J20) will at of leastserveto illustrate someofthecharacteristics theDanrinstyle to as wellas its general linked-verse comfidelity therulesofformal the position. Although opening verses always are comparatively quiet in tone,even thisfragment a late hyakuin-oneof Saikaku'sless of daringworks-willsuggestthe rangeand compression his style. of

ni The long roadsofJapanYamatoji path, yamajitsumoreba If you calculatethemountain chiyo kiku no Chrysanthemums a thousand for ages.

The hokku beginson an auspicious note,probably with allusion an to the timeand place ofits composition: seasonwordis kiku the AJ ("chrysanthemum"), a flower which bloomsin autumn, and Saikaku is thought have been visiting Kumano 11Of district the to the in mountainous of province Kii VI#. The noun phrasechiyo kiku, no which the roundsoff verseand givesit thenecessary resonance, sugof geststhe endlessprosperity Japanas wellas thelongevity the of there an allusionto theChrysanthemum is Japanese. Further, Festival on (Choyo moon) and to AM, celebrated theninthday of theninth thesupposedly Chineselegendofits origin.2" According thelegto end,KingMu - ofChou,angered a breachof etiquette, by exileda favorite to a mountain youth valleythreehundred1i Ei. fromthe the palace; there, youthdrank chrysanthemum and attained dew imNot mortality. onlyhas thefestival beenimported Japan(where into a similar elixir,a chrysanthemum wine,was preparedby dropping petals of the flower into sake); but, since the Japaneseri X- (2.44
20 Literally, the"first-outside" manuscript sheet.A hyakuin written fouroblong was on sheets of paper, each of which was folded lengthwise.Eight verseswere written the on faceof thefirst sheet,above thefold,and fourteen the otherhalf;therewere fourteen on each on the two halves of the second and thirdsheets,and fourteen and eight,respectively, the front on and back of the last folded sheet. These were the groupingswithin which renga rules prescribedsuch mattersas the proper stationsof the "moon" and "blossom" verses. 21 My colleague Lien-shengYang informs me thatthislegend is not foundin Chinese sources. MoriyaMitsuo, suggeststhatit mayhave been a Japanese invention: KochizKeiso saijiki i (1950), pp. 170-173. The legend is freb quentlyalluded to in no plays and is the subject of the play Kiku-jido ,j ; the earliestJapanese source appears to be a passage in scroll 13 of the Taiheiki = (Nihon bungakutaikei [1915]17.357-358).




mustbe six times itself as miles)is six times longas theli, thefestival of At glance,thediction thisverseseemstobe imas efficacious. first ("if peccablyclassical.Then one noticesthattsumoreba you calcutsumoru in classical verb written kana,is nottheproper late"), though and hence word, ofsnow)buta prosaic, businesslike ("to pile up," as a haigon.The echoic Yamatojiand yamaji are both elegantwords is and foundin the classicaltankaanthologies, evenkiku one of the in are from Chinesewhich permissible classical the few wordsderived tanka.

ni Eventheparrot at homeunderour moon is emumotsuki us. narete hitomane And beginsto mimic

"side verse") continues literally The secondverse (wakiku 0J1J, to it exoticmoodofthehokku, which mustbe closely thefar-fetched, linkhereis thattheparrot a foreign is bird,natulinked.The chief in Festival, Japan;it has evenbegun liketheChrysanthemum ralized, and to chatter Japanese.To be sure, the link is an unorthodox in of comicone, as is the combination moon and parrot-one rather is would expectthe hototogisu W.% ("cuckoo"). Anothercuriosity verse-is used so thatthemoon-whichmustappearby theseventh it the of early.As a symbol autumn(unlessqualified), continues season ofthehokku. 3. yakusha-gasa ni aki no yu2be mitsukushite Actorsin their sedgehatsStaredat endlessly In theautumn evening.

in comesinto the Here thehumanelement suggested the wakiku streetscene of actorsgoinghome afterthe a foreground: realistic intotheir facesas they by. shadowed go admirers peering play,their and the autumn, theverseends, It is stillevening, seasonis explicitly of -te in correctly, theinconclusive form theverb.Since the parrots in they mentioned abovewouldhavebeenexhibited a show-booth, are world. but theatrical partofthesamedisreputable glamorous 4. clothes kirumono tatamu Packingup their waitfortheboat. yadonofunamachi As they

for their and The sightseers finished playgoing arewaiting the have The "sedge hats" boat whichwilltakethemhometo theprovinces.



above are linked to the "clothes" of this verse,but the seasonal referscene. ence has been dropped. It is the next day-a bustling,cheerful 5. umoregini kai toritsuku no na o tazune A shell clinging To a bit of driftwoodThe travelers ask its name.

While waiting (departuretimeswere veryuncertain), the travelers strollalong the shore and happen to finda strangeshell. "Driftwood" is linked to "boat," but the scene has turnedfromgay to quiet, with an air of mystery. 6. hidenno kemuri komorumyoyaku The smoke of a secret tradition Hangs over a sovereignremedy.

or, The smoke suggests burning driftwood, in the new context,a possible link is that medicine prepared by burning shells. A further were kept in shells. There is a hint of quackeryin that the ointments identified. earlier "shell" had not even been satisfactorily 7. kanjin no gun no shinan ni ri o semete The instructions For a crucial battle Leave nothingto chance.

is Another kind of tradition: the smoke of drug-making linked to torches,and othersecret devices of the waterproof thatof signal fires, art of war. A new and sternernote has been struck. 8. kodomo korasu ni mado no yuki no yo To teach a childAn open window on a snowynight.

The verse alludes to a tradition of rigorous child-rearing (Sun of from an K'ang 4?M, the Chin R dynastystudied by the snow-light The notion of thus preparingfor the battle of life is open window). linked to the "battle" of the preceding verse,as teachingis linked to logic. Here, of course, the season is winter. fold (sho-ura And Saikaku continues,on the other side of the first with a spring verse about a mock-ghost a frightening naughty UKJ), child, anotherabout an abandoned templewhich is really haunted, a late springverse about a scandal at a worldlytemple,and still others as varied as these. But in haikai, as in renga,one should look neither nor back. Each verse,each moment,is to be savored foritself, forward precedes it. in its ineluctable relation to what immediately

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