night, and once again
as i wait for you
cold wind turns into rain
– Masaoka Shiki (1867 – 1902)
Masaoka Shiki is one of the four Japanese great masters of haiku (along with Basho, Buson, and Issa.)
He is credited with modernizing Japan’s traditional verse forms and for bringing realism into haiku.
Shiki believed in concise representation of reality — without personal interpretations and bias.
Shiki was an advocate of a technique called sha-sei which loosely translates to “living sketches.” Here is an example of Shiki’s style:
lying sick in bed
i thought i felt
dew drops falling
(byōshō no | ware ni tsuyu chiru | omoi ari)
Shiki suffered from TB most of his life and was often bedridden. He had many disciples who loved him and adored his work. Below are scribble a friend and I made while talking about Shiki.