POEMS OF MASAOKA SHIKI
Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) is often listed as the last of the traditional haiku masters, following Basho, Buson, and Issa. Yet Shiki remains distinct in his modernist approach, taking influence from Western writers and artists while reflecting changes within his own society.
In his Outline of Haikai, published in 1895, Shiki stresses “copying things as they are,” foreshadowing Imagism’s “direct treatment of the thing.” In the same text, Shiki writes about the importance of combining “reverie (kūsō) and realism (shajitsu),” allowing for a kind of reflective minimalism - sketches, both exterior and interior.
In recent years, Shiki's work has found several critics (especially when set beside Basho, Buson, and Issa). While Shiki certainly took influence from those who went before him, his goal was not to tread the same ground.
three thousand haiku
With the twentieth century looming, people everywhere were coming together and being pulled apart. Looking at smoke hanging in the night sky, Shiki didn’t write about the beauty of a local fireworks display, but rather:
after the fireworks
Poems of Masaoka Shiki is a short and varied collection of Shiki’s haiku. Each translation is accompanied by the original Japanese text and English transliteration (romaji).
Author: Masaoka Shiki
Translator: Anthony Opal
Booklet, 12 pp, 7 x 5.25 inLanguage: Japanese / English