Enjoy bilingual haiku of Kyoshi Takahama!
Vol.5 Kyoshi 100 Haiku (81)~(100)
(ryuhnotama fukakuzohsuto yuukoto-o)
(Age 65, S14. 1939)(Translation A)
fruitlets of dwarf mongo grass_
dwarf mongo grasses
hold the fruitlets
In the original haiku, it is expected for you to decide whether ”fruitlets of dwarf mongo grass” is the subject or the object.
Translation A is a literal translation. If you consider that the word ”fruitlets” is the subject and that the object of the word "containing" is omitted, you can supplement the object as you like. For example, you might consider that the object is the beutiful color of the fruitlets, or the beuty of the nature.
In Translation B, the word the ”fruitlets” is taken as the object, and the word ”dwarf mongo grasses” is considered to be the subject.
(waremomata kohnarito tsuitoide)
(Age 66、S15. 1940)me too, crimson_
as if so saying,
a burnet abruptly appeared
’waremokoh’ is a burnet.
Literally, the word 'waremokoh’ means: ’I also am crimson’. Thus, this haiku is a pun. (See the Japanese version of this haiku.)
(daikanno hokorinogotoku hitoshinuru)
(Age 67、S16. 1941)people die
like dust of
This haiku is a metaphor. (See the Japanese version of this haiku.)
(yamagawani hitorikamiarau kamizoshiru)
(Age 67、S16. 1941)god knows_
in a mountain stream
a woman alone washing her hair
(eigadete kajinoposutah mitetateri)
(Age 67、S16. 1941)walking out of a cinema,
I stopped, seeing
a poster of fire
(ametsuchino aidanihoroto shigurekana)
(Age 68、S17. 1942)a slight drop
between heaven and earth_
This haiku is a monody, which is a tribute to one of Kyoshi's disciple haiku poets, Hanamino Suzuki.
(ranranto hirunohoshimie kinokohae)
(Age 73、S22. 1947)the daylight star
This haiku was made as a farewell tribute to people in Koromo City. They gave mushrooms (=茸）to Kyoshi Takahama for a farewell present.
He lived in Koromo for about three years after moving there for refuge from air raid during the war.
The word ’daylight star’ means the sun, because the word ’爛爛’ (=glaring) is used for describing it. In the case of this haiku, it is possible to express 'kinoko' by a chinese character of '茸' or '菌'. However, the latter was adopted. When the letter '菌' is read to be 'kin', it means 'germ'.
Thus, it seems that with the cited haiku, Kyoshi Takahama intended to express the whole great nature by referring to the greatest thing ’daylight star (=太陽)’ and the smallest thing 'mushroom (=菌)'.
(tsurumodoki nasakewamotsure yasukikana)
(Age 73、S22. 1947)compassion
(shunchohni tatoirokaiwa omokutomo)
(Age 73、S22. 1947)Even if the oar is heavy
the spring tide_
This haiku was composed as a tribute to encourage Kyoshi's grand-daughter (Nakako Bohjoh) when she entered a nursing school.
The Kyoshi's haikus translated herein are cited from the writings of Toshiki Bohjoh (the son of Nakako Bohjoh, that is, a great-grandson of Kyoshi Takahama).
(kyoshihitori gingatotomoni nishieyuku)
(Age 75、S24. 1949)Kyoshi alone
goes toward west
with the galaxy
(kozokotoshi tsuranuku bohnogotokimono)
(Age 76、S25. 1950)(Translation A)
a stick-like thing
my belief in HAIKU
like a stick
like a stick
This haiku was highly appreciated by Yasunari Kawabata (a Nobel winner for Literature). In this haiku, metaphor as well as inversion is applied.
The word “kozokotoshi” is a kigo (= season word) established by Kyoshi Takahama, referring to New Year, on which yesterday is the last year, and today is this year. Thus, the literal meaning of kozokotoshi is “last year-this year”.
Translation A is a word-for-word translation and can be interpreted in various ways. However, “stick-like thing” should be considered as the real subject and a metaphor. In Translations B and C, “my belief” and “time” are added, respectively replacing the word “stick-like thing”. Thus, the kigo “kozokotoshi” should grammatically be taken as the object of “pierce”. Otherwise, this haiku makes nonsense.
In Translation A, if you take “kozokotoshi” as the subject for “pierce”, and “stick-like thing” as the object for “pierce”, then what do you think the “stick-like thing” indicates? Does it make any sense?
(akunareba iroakuyokere oinoharu)
(Age 79、S28. 1953)if any vice,
sensual vice would be better_
spring of old age
(akeyasuya kachohfuuei namuamida)
(Age 80、S29. 1954)daybreak getting earlier_
composing haiku of nature
’kachoh-fuuei’ was advocated by Kyoshi Takahama. He taught that the haiku should be composed on appriciation of nature including human affairs.
The term ’namuamida’ （南無阿弥陀）is Buddhist chanting words of sutra, which mean ’I believe in Amitabha'.
(warenomino kikubiyoritowa yumeomowaji)
(Age 80、S29. 1954)chrysanthimum-bright-day_
only for me
Kyoshi Takahama made this haiku when he received a Cultural Medal (=文化勲章).
(Ohzakura korenikasizuki ohtsubaki)
(Age 81、S30. 1955)a large cherry tree_
a large camellia
(haitataki tenimochiwareni taishinashi)
(Age 82、S31. 1956)with a flyswatter
in my hand
I have no great ambitions
(kumoniare amiokakeneba naranukana)
(Age 82、S31. 1956)a spider
born to spin a thread
must weave a web
(hitori kunosuikoh-o-shite osokihio)
(Age 85、S34. 1959)alone,
lengthening days of spring
(shiraumeni sumifuritarito iunomizo)
(Age 85、S34. 1959)white ume blossoms_
simply I say
I lived to be venerably old
The term ’ume’ means a kind of plum. It seems that Kyoshi Takahama composed this haiku in comparison with the following haiku of Buson:
(shiraumeni akuruyobakarito narinikeri)
what remains to me_
the night about to break into dawn
among white plum blossoms
(See the comments in “Chunu no tayori” by clicking here.)
（harunoyama kabaneoumete munashikari）(A)
（harunoyama kabaneoumete kuushikari）(B)
(Age 85、S34. 1959)(Translation A)
the spring mountain
with corpses buried
the spring mountain
with corpses buried —
all are vanity
In Translation A, the letters ”空しかり” are read to be ”munashikari” according to the conventional way. The word means ”empty” or ”vain”. In Translation B, the letters ”空しかり” are read to be ”kuushikari”, which means ”empty” or ”vanity”, as described in Hannyashingyoh (Sutra). The original haiku contains both of such meanings. To fully appreciate this haiku, it is advisable for you to read the Japanese version of this article if you understand the Japanese language.