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Takahama Kyoshi

Takahama Kyoshi (February 22, 1874-April 8, 1959) was a Japanese poet during the Showa period. He was one of the closest disciples of Masaoka Shiki.

Short Biography

Takahama Kyoshi was born as Takahama Kiyoshi in what is now Matsuyama city, Ehime prefecture. His father was a former samurai. At the age of nine, he inherited from his grandmother's family and took the surname Takahama.

In 1894, he quit school and went to Tokyo to study Edo period Japanese literature. In 1895, he enrolled in Tokyo Senmon Gakko but left soon after to become an editor and critic for the literary magazine Nihonjin. While working, he submitted variants of haiku poetry and experimented with irregular numbers of onjin.

In 1898, he became manager of the haiku magazine Hototogisu and moved the headquarters from Matsuyama to Tokyo. He moved the magazines focus from purely poetry to include prose, but attached importance to traditional haiku as opposed to the modern trends.

During 1954, he received the Order of Culture award from the Japanese government. After his death, he was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, 1st class.

Haiku by Kyoshi Takahama

  • A dead chrysanthemum
  • and yet - isn't there still something
  • remaining in it?
  • He says a word,
  • and I say a word - autumn
  • is deepening.
  • The winds that blows -
  • ask them, which leaf on the tree
  • will be next to go.
  • A gold bug -
  • I hurl into the darkness
  • and feel the depth of night.
  • A white peony
  • it is called—but even so,
  • a faint redness.
  • An autumn sky, and
  • under it wild camomile flowers
  • with some petals gone.
  • With the pine-tree wind
  • go scooting and bustling about,
  • water spiders.
  • Flowing on by,
  • the leaves of radishes.
  • What swiftness!
  • A butterfly's
  • noises while eating something—
  • such quietness.
  • On distant mountains
  • the shining of the sun—
  • Oh, withered fields!

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