212 new Buson haiku discovered!


Tenri Library (near Nara) announced on 14 Oct. that they had discovered two new books of original haiku by Yosa Buson: one volume of Spring & Summer poems, the other of Autumn & Winter ones. Altogether, they contain just over 1,900 haiku, of which 212 are previously unknown! The name of the missing collection is Yahantei Buson Kushu. ‘Yahantei’ (Midnight Teahouse) was an alias inherited from his teacher, Hajin, which, later in his life, he used alongside his better-known one of ‘Buson’ (Turnip Village). Above is the first page of the Spring volume, bearing critical marks said to have been made by the poet himself. The book was once owned by his Kyoto disciple, Hyakuchi. They will go on show at the Library, along with many other Buson-related works, until Nov. 8. Hailstone is planning a trip there on Oct. 25 (Sun.). Free entry. Contact SHG (Tito) for details, or leave a message in the reply/comments box below.

To put the find into some sort of context, Stephen was interviewed over the phone by BBC Radio 4 on 16th and you can hear the resultant 3-4 min. passage in the arts programme, ‘Front Line’, (available on the i-player: wait until it has loaded, then fast forward to 17:48′) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06gxysv.

One of the new haiku is:

karakasa mo bakete me no aru tsukiyo kana

The torn paper umbrella
has just become a ghoul …
with moonlit eyes!

(trans. SHG)

9 responses to “212 new Buson haiku discovered!

  1. Pingback: 212 new Buson haiku discovered! | Icebox | word pond

  2. Went to see the exhibition today and it is only worth it if you can understand Japanese, but very interesting if you can. Amongst the gems, there is a wonderful painting of a Kyoto charcoal-seller and also a Chinese-style ‘profession’ Buson once brushed in formal Han calligraphy on the state of mind for composing haiku. I hope to get the Japanese text of this and translate it sometime. We were shown a fine reproduction of Kyoriku’s portrait of Basho and Sora in the Library afterwards, where Masako decided to stay on preparing for a Kyodai presentation the day after tomorrow! The ginkgo trees outside were golden.

  3. Here is another of the ‘new’ Busons:

    吟(とんぼ)や / 眼鏡(がんきょう)をかけて / 飛歩行 とびあるき

    The dragonfly – / It zaps about, here and there / Wearing glasses

  4. Would also like to know when a translation will be forthcoming. You’d think it would be first on any translator’s docket—akin to finding new poems by Keats or Goethe.

    I love Buson’s haiku and wish there were a good, complete translation of them.

    • Understood completely. The Museum only made a handful of the new verses available at the outset. If I find out anything further, I will post as a comment here. Once the rest are released in Japanese, anyone capable will be free to translate.

  5. Pingback: December 28th 2015 « PoemShape

  6. Reblogged this on Bastet and Sekhmet's Library and commented:
    Looking for new aspects of haibun I came across this fantastic bit of news … it was announced on October 14, 2015 that 212 new haiku by Buson (in a collection of 1900 haiku were discovered entitled Yahantei Buson Kushu. ‘Yahantei’ (Midnight Teahouse)) .. the piece along with other work by Buson were display at the Tenri Library (near Nara) Japan until Nov. 8.