Reminder of 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest : Deadline is June 30
Dear Haiku Friends,
We are looking forward to your haiku for 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest, whose deadline is June 30.
Please check out the guidelines again on the website below.
Here in Akita, it is just June-like weather lasting these days, when I visited Kisakata(象潟) Basho visited on August 1, 1689, on his journey.
Basho and his party are said to have taken a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata. They put in first 能因島 (Nohin jima), Nohin Island, where they called at the remains of the hut in which 能因(Nohin)(988-?), a waka poet, lived in seclusion for three years.
After that, Basho and his party left for the opposite shore, where they landed from their boat, and they saw the cherry tree that stands as a memento of 西行法師(Saigyo hoshi)(1118-1190), Saigyo. Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which is now called 蚶満寺 (Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple.
Here are photos and haiku about the present-day Kisakata.
Basho wrote about Kisakata in his travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』 .
鬼怒鳴門（キーン・ドナルド）, Donald Keene, translated the last part about Kisakata into English as follows:
Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, I rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water. To the west, one can see as far as Muyamuya Barrier; to the east, the road over the embankment leads to Akita in the distance. The sea is to the north. The place where the waves of the sea break into the lagoon is called Tide-Crossing. Kisakata is about two miles in either direction.
Kisakata resembles Matsushima, but there is a difference. Matsushima seems to be smiling, but Kisakata wears a look of grief. There is a sadness mingled with the silent calm, a configuration to trouble the soul.
Basho’s last lines might say that there is something woeful about Kisakata.
I wonder if Basho predicted that such a natural disaster as earthquake might occur in Kisakata in the future.
In fact, on July 10, 1804, a big earthquake occurred in Kisakata about 105 years after Basho’s visit there. The earthquake caused upheaval of ground by 2.4 meters. As a result, the lagoons were changed into dry land, most of which turns into paddy field.
Here are some excerpts of The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』, translated by鬼怒鳴門（キーン・ドナルド）, Donald Keene.
Here is a photo of 鬼怒鳴門（キーン・ドナルド）, Donald Keene, my haiku friend and me, taken at Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo, Japan.
Lastly, there are more information about Kisakata at the following website.
By Hidenori Hiruta