Oyamazaki Ginko-no-renga

May 20, 2017 (please see the preceding post, “Spring at the Edge”)


A clear sky …
sprouting green leaves
breathe with us                                                    (Akito)

The sound of ice
being dropped into a glass                                    (Tito)

Beside the hot train tracks
the old man mutters
“Don’t hog the shade!’                                           (Richard)

Three rivers join and flow –
Hideyoshi’s proud pagoda                                      (Eiko)

Only the red roof left,
the museum returning
to nature’s green                                                  (Hiroko)

Birdsong carried
by stream ripples                                                   (Akira)

At Takara Temple
recalling Soseki –
an early summer breeze                                          (Teruko)

Distilled on Mt. Tenno
“Angel’s Share”                                                      (Kyoko)

The girl counts out
twelve visitor cards at reception –
cool interior                                                            (Hisashi)

in the western window                                            (Kayo)

A black swallowtail
visits the Siberian irises –
afternoon heat                                                        (Eiko)

Until the liquid turns amber
long way to go                                                        (Noriko)

Enma and his fierce men:
heaped before them
fruits, jellies, just desserts                                        (Eiko)

Slippery on this steep slope
pilgrims’ straw sandals                                            (Noriko)

A mayfly lands
on my handlebars –
the luminous day                                                    (Tito)


Ed. by Hisashi Miyazaki and Richard Donovan


4 Responses to “Oyamazaki Ginko-no-renga”

  1. This has turned out to be a nice, lively renga with good links. It manages to make reference to several of the historical and literary aspects that make Oyamazaki such an intriguing place. For the benefit of readers with none of this knowledge, perhaps you will permit me to mention a few. Stanzas 2, 8, 9 and 12 all presumably allude to Japan’s first whisky distillery, which we visited. Oyamazaki has for centuries been famed for the delicious water running out of Mt. Tenno. Stanzas 4, 7, 13 and 14 refer to Hoshakuji temple, high on the hill overlooking the confluence of the three rivers, Katsura, Uji and Kizu. Emma-o is the Japanese King of Hell. I like the punning ‘just desserts’, which I can imagine piled up as offerings before the terrifying wooden statue of him (seen on the day, but phrased in keeping with the playful humour of Oyamazaki’s most famous haiku poet, Yamazaki Sokan, a haikai-no-renga master, the site of whose salon we also visited). Stanzas 5 and 6 probably allude to Oyamazaki Sanso, now an art museum with a fine garden through which we walked. Please don’t let this background information get in the way of the sheer enjoyment of the renga’s link and shift. ‘A Clear Sky’ is a fine memento of the day and something worthy of offering to the gods of poetry near Mt. Tenno. Well done, Hisashi, Richard and Akito!

    • Thanks for the historical and literary aspects. It adds a useful dimension to the reading.

      ” A black swallowtail” – lovely poem, and nice before and after linking here.

  2. Richard Donovan Says:

    As some of us have remarked, Oyamazaki turns out to be a nexus of many historical, social, geographic, industrial and linguistic threads. There is a lot to be explored here.

  3. Eiko Mori Says:

    I enjoyed the Ginko very much with my haiku-minded friends. When I was asked to visit the museum or the temple, I chose the latter where I found the magnificient Enma and his men. It was a humorous moment when Richard asked the guide if jelly was Enma’s favorite food. The contrast of Enma’s fierce look and jelly made us laugh and relaxed. I had so much fun both in hiking and writing haiku.

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