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Shuson Kato

Shuson Kato (May 26, 1905-July 3, 1993) belonged to the "Human Exploration School" with Ishida Hakyo and Nakamura Kusatao. Together, they influenced modern Japanese haiku greatly. He also published the magazine titled "Kanrai" which means "thunder in winter."

Short Biography

Shuson Kato was born Takeo Kato, but he was always referred to as Shuson. He was baptized at age 13.

When he was younger, he despised haiku and was more interested in the 31-syllable tanka. However, when he began working at Kasukabe Chu-gakko (Junior High School), the local hospital would receive visits from Shuoshi Mizuhara (a famed haiku poet). After Kato and his colleagues approached Mizuhara, Kato became his lifelong disciple. Soon, Kato became known as an excellent haijin (haiku poet) and won the famed haiku magazine Ashibi's prize.

In 1929, Shuson married and later had three children. In 1939, he published his first collection of haiku, Kanrai (meaning "Winter Thunder") and quickly became well-known.

In 1970, he began judging submissions for the weekly haiku page in the Asahi newspaper.

Haiku by Kato

  • I kill an ant
  • and realize my three children
  • have been watching.
  • Six feet of soil in
  • the frost of earth becomes room
  • enough for the dead.

"Six feet of soil in" is his "death haiku."


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