Reminder : World Haiku Series 2021

The reminder of the World Haiku Series 2021 reminds me of Bashō’s Visit to Kisakata written in “The Narrow Road to Oku”, so first of all, I would like to tell you about it as follows.

   According to “The Narrow Road to Oku”, Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) arrived at Kisakata, Nikaho City, Akita Prefecture on the evening of August 1, 1689, when a misty rain started to fall, obscuring Mount Chōkai.   
   The next morning the weather cleared beautifully. When the morning sun rose in all its splendor, Bashō and his party took a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata. They put in first Nōin-jima, or the Nōin Isle, where they called at the remains of the hut in which Nōin (988-1050, or 1051), 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 Saigyo hoshi (1118-1190), Saigyo, who visited Kisakata in 1174.

    Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple (Kanman-ju-ji), which is now called (Kanman-ji), the Kanman-ji Temple. 

   Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, Bashō rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chōkai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water.

Bashō’s Haiku in Kisakata


              Seishi sleeping in the rain,
                   Wet mimosa blossoms.

                        -Translated by Donald Keene

Seishi (Xi Shi)

   Xi Shi was a famous Chinese beauty of the 5th century B.C. , who was presented to King Fu cha (- 473 B.C.) of Wu by King Gou jian (- 465 B.C.) of Yue. Fu cha loved her so much that he neglected political affairs and defense, and eventually Wu was defeated by Yue. She came back to Yue to her lover Fan Li, a royal retainer of Gou jian, with whom she disappeared from a boat on a lake. There are many stories about her, but not all of them are historical facts -- mostly legends.  She was so beautiful that even her grimace was still admired as beautiful.

   Xi Shi is one of the four beauties of China, born in Zhuji City, in north-central Zhejiang province, China.

 Bashō’s Quotation

   Bashō quoted Su Tung po’s poem about “Xi Hu” (the Western Lake) in his preface for the original version seen in “Tsugio-Shu” (compiled in 1692 by Fugyoku, -1697, a doctor and poet in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture).

        The Western Lake is beautiful
        Both on a clear day and on a misty day in rain,
        If we compare it with Xi Shi,
        She is likewise as beautiful as the Lake,
        Whether her makeup is heavy or light. 

    ― The original Chinese poems by Su Tung po (1036 -1101)

Kisakata Town and Zhuji City

   In September ,1990, a delegation of the Kisakata-machi Japan-China Friendship Association visited Zhuji City, in Zhejiang province, China, in search of the remains of Xi Shi, and the exchange began when a tree of mimosa was planted in the Xi Shi Palace.
   October 21, 2002, Kisakata Town and Zhuji City formally formed a friendly tie-up as it was confirmed that the exchanges deepened and a strong friendly relationship was built.

Nikaho City and Zhuji City

   October 23, 2008, Nikaho City and Zhuji City, based on the basic principles of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty, signed a friendship and exchange alliance agreement to promote friendship and understanding between the two citizens and further develop the friendship and cooperation between the two cities.

   In 2010, 11 high school students and 3 leaders from Nikaho City visited Zhuji City. The members were enthusiastically welcomed.

   In August, 2012, 12 high school students and 4 leaders from Zhuji City visited Nikaho City. Students enjoyed the Xi Shi Festival, climbed Mount Chōkai, and enjoyed Kanto Festival while experiencing a 3-day homestay. During the visit to Nikaho High School, they interacted with high school students in Nikaho City through club activities.

― Hidenori Hiruta, Akita International Haiku Network

Secondly, here is one photo of students from Zhuji City and students in Nikaho City. Here are also two photos of Kisakata and Mount Chōkai taken from the 5th station of the mountain.

Last of all, please check out the guidelines of World Haiku Series 2021 again, and please send and share your haiku with haiku friends in the world.

Here are its addresses of the website below.

World Haiku Series 2021 : Guidelines – Akita International …

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