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Taneda Santōka

Taneda Santōka (December 3, 1882-October 11, 1940) is often referred to as The Great Rebel Poet.

Short Biography

Taneda Santōka was born in a village on the southwestern portion of Honshū. At age 11, his mother committed suicide, thus leaving him to be raised by his grandmother.

In 1902, he entered Waseda University to study literature. Two years later, he dropped out of school. In 1906, his father sold the family land and arranged for him to marry a girl from the neighboring village.

In 1911, Santōka began publishing translations of Ivan Turgenev and Guy de Maupassant in literary journals. Two years later, he was accepted as a disciple of Ogiwara Seisensui, a haiku reformist. During this time, he took a number of literary trips and began publishing his works.

By 1932, he moved to Yamaguchi prefecture. While there, he published his first book of poems titled Hachi no ko ("Rice Bowl Child"). In 1938, he again moved to a small temple near Matsuyama City. He died two years later.

Haiku by Taneda Santoka

  • I go in I go in still blue mountains
  • Fluttering drunk leaves scatter
  • there
  • where the fire was
  • something blooming
  • feel of the needle
  • when at last
  • you get the thread through it
  • Somehow
  • the sound of swallowing sake
  • seems very lonely
  • so drunk
  • I slept
  • with the crickets!
  • a drink
  • would be nice now
  • sunset sky
  • sake slopping over
  • on our knees
  • wish we were together

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