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Matsuo Basho happened to be one of most renowned poets of the Edo period in Japan and is still being recognized for his work. Most of his poems are placed on monuments and traditional site. Matsuo Basho who made a living as a teacher had a burning desire to gain inspiration for his writings. This had made him to put aside social urban life of literally circles and inclined to wander throughout the country. Some of his journeys were risky even to a point where he thought that he would die on the way. However his moods would be influenced by many friends who he met on the way. He met a number of poets, of which some liked his counsel and later became his follower. This made him enjoy his journey. This paper explores some of the well recognized achievements associated with him, and trying to answer questions as pertains to the achievements and works of Basho and rarely confining itself much on his social life (Makoto).
Basho got this name from one of the Japanese banana trees. Apparently he received a gift of a banana tree from his fellow student and immediately after this, the poet was just identified with it. His father happened to be a poor Samurai farmer. In his teenage hood, Basho joined the service of the local lord, hence acting as a page. The lord was not that old and he was indeed a couple of years older that Basho himself.
This meant that the two could mix freely and share a lot and apparently they became great friends, most of the times enjoying the playful exchange of the haiku verses. Still while enjoying his young age, unfortunately who had become his great friend and lord passed away. His real manhood started showing its tips after this and he took a bold strep to leave home, abandon his Samurai status and commence a wandering life. It was after the long time of wandering that Basho suddenly settled in Edo (Tokyo), still not abandoning his passion for writing and publishing poetry. It was at this moment that his haiku began drawing the attention from many and even students were now surrounding him to hear of his intelligent work and prowess. At around this particular moment, Basho began going for the Zen medication. However, contrary to what many would think, Basho just remained restless amid his fame.
It is at this instant that one begins to see the hero in this man, the same character that guided him through the world of poetry, withstanding hard life and challenging periods, and still doing maintaining his passion for writing and publishing poetry, all thanks to the type of being he was born. A neighborhood fire had consumed the whole of his house situated at the Edo, hence this rendered him homeless. The brave Basho once again took up the former itinerant life, visiting disciples and people, taking up residence for just a short period of time only to commence another journey. The real Basho showed up at this moment and any question pertaining to his poetry prowess was answered during this particular time as amid all this, he composed some of the re-known great haiku.
In his early age Basho worked as a page for a local lord. He used to have a nice time playing game and also practicing his poetry. This went on until death did them apart. Basho decided to leave his home and start a new life. He later settled in Edon where he continued with his poetry. Through his good sense of humor he managed to attract attentions. His poems began to spread like bush fire all over the world. With now all this fame, he remained restless. His small house was claimed by a neighborhood fire and this meant that he had to begin another journey.
Although he was born in samurai family that was prominent among nobility, he lived a humble live in fact blissful poverty under a modest support by his many students and he being exposed to the world increased his creativity in poetry. His poems took a less prospective and more striking tones as he observed the world around him thus becoming a major genre of Japanese poetry. Basho's haikus are dramatic, and they embellish humor or depression, delight or confusion.
Matsuo Basho, born in the year 1644, and died in the year in November 28, 1694, besides him being the most famous poet of the Edo period, was also recognized for his great works in the collaborative referred to as ‘haikaino renga’. In the current world, after several centuries of commentary, he is apparently known to the master of brief and clear ‘haiku’. Internationally his poetry works are well recognized and particularly in Japan, most of his poems are normally reproduced in traditional sites and monuments.
It is worth noting of how Basho was introduced to the poetry world at a tender age, and immediately after integrating himself into what is referred to as intellectual scene of ‘Edo’, he instantly hit in th Japan. However, despite the fact that he made his living as a teacher, he actually renounced his social environment, the urban life that is of literary circles and was finally inclined to wander in Japan, heading west, east, and further to the Northern wilderness just to go and gain the inspiration for his writing. Research shows that his poems greatly were due to the influence of the world around him hence first his first hand influence and often this tended to encapsulate the feeling of a given scene in several simple elements.
But really what makes many think of Basho as a prominent and one of the finest poets whereas there exist many other poets who basically dwelled may be on the same issues basic that Basho addressed in his works? This may have some relation with the fact that Basho, besides being accepted to be the finest Japanese poet, of the Japanese haiku, may have famed due to the fact that he reflected the simplicity of his great and meditative life. Surprisingly, when he felt the strange feeling for solicitude, he just withdrew to his ‘Basho-an’, a hut that was structured of plantain leaves (basho) and hence his followed pseudonym.
It is apparent that Basho infused a recognized mystical quality into most of his verse and to address universal themes through the well known and simple natural images, all the way from the harvest moon to the fleas in his cottage. He brought to haiku “the Way of Elegance” (fuga-no-michi), greatly deepened in the Zen influence, and actually tried to make an approach to poetry itself just as a way of life “kado, the way of poetry” in the tight belief that the poetry could even provide a source of enlightenment, achieve the same enlightenment, and then go back to this world of the ordinary humanity, he advised. These are some of the issues one ought highlight and consider mostly in order for one to notice that Basho was not just a poem writer, but a distinguished poet as he did his thing wisely in a peculiar way that may have confused others, only to find that he is trying to drive some sense into one, thanks to his intelligence.
“Do not follow in the footsteps of the old masters, but seek what they sought”. His “way of elegance” never included just the mere trappings that tend to be associated with the elegance; he actually sought the authentic vision belonging to “the ancients”. His natural world concentrated attention, did transform this particular verse from what is termed as a frivolous social past time into one of the major genre of the Japanese poetry.
In the previous ten years of his life, Basho happened to make several journeys, just drawing from them many more images in order to give inspiration to his contemplative poetry. He also made collaboration other local poets on the particular linked-verse forms referred to as ‘renga’. Besides being the most re-known and supreme artist of ‘renga’ and ‘haiku’, Basho wrote ‘haibun’ the brief prose-and-poetry travelogues like ‘Oku-no-hosomichi’. This happens to be absolutely nonpareil in the recent literature in the entire world.
Rather than just remaining to the formulas of ‘kigo’, which tends to remain a hit and greatly famed in Japan, Basho thought reflecting his real emotions and real environment being what he ought to aspire for, and particularly in his ‘hokku’. Even during the times he lived, the style and effort of his poetry were really impressing and appreciated and most surprisingly after his death, it only increased. Most of his students, went ahead to compile quotations from him, especially about his poetry, especially the ‘Mukai Kyorai’ and the ‘Hattori Doho’.
Amid the 18th century, Basho’s poems appreciation actually grew more fervent, having commentators, the like of Moro Nanimaru and Ishiko Sekishui going to deeper to fathom the references in his ‘hokku’ to the existing historical events, the medieval books besides some other poems. It is apparent of how these commentators that they were lavish in their praise of the references that Basho used as they referred to them as obscure references. It was later argued that some of these were probably literary false cognates. During the year 1793, Basho was deified by the so called the Shinto bucracy and for some given period of time, critics to his poetry was literary termed as blasphemy.
It was until the period associated with late 19th century that, it being a period of unanimous passion for Basho’s poems that they came to an end. However it is quite important to remember that this does not mean that his works completely vanished in poetry libraries as stilll some of the many poets who followed greatly depended on the same to finalize their work, as Basho’s books seemed to have some kind of literature skills that were yet developed.
Masaoka Shiki, arguably the most famous critic towards Basho, consequently tore down the long existing orthodoxy with his bold cum candid objections towards the one and only Basho’s style. It is however notable of how Shiki was instrumental in making Batho’s poetry get accessed to prominent intellectuals and the Japanese public at large. He was the founder of the term ‘haiku’ after replacing the term ‘hokku’ to refer to what is referred to as freestanding 5-7-5 form which according to him happened to be the most desirable cum artistic part of the ‘hakai no renga’.
Come the 20th century, critical interpretation of Basho’s poems continued to take their due course with great works by Ogata Tsutomu, Imoto Noichi and Yamamoto Kenkichi. The same 20th century witnessed the translations of into varied editions and languages around the entire world. His then position in the eyes of the west as the ‘haiku’ poet ‘par excellence’ granted him great influence, and by the virtue of the western preference for ‘haiku’ over other more traditional forms like the ‘tanka’ or ‘renga’, have paved way for him to be considered as the archetype of the Japanese poets and at large poetry, with some of the western scholars tending to believe that he is the one who invented the ‘haiku’.
One tends to think that Basho was just an awesome writer as all these happens in consecutive centuries long after his death. The particular impressive and brief nature of his verses impacted particularly Ezra Pound and also the imagists, then later on the poets belonging to the Beat generation. Take for example, one of his poems, “Frog Haiku”. It is alleged that this is probably the most famous in Japan. What makes the issue interesting is that even after around three hundred solid years and probably more years of repetition, it has; understandably shoot up as a stale for the entire population in Japan.
It thus follows that English readers have at something of an edge in applied effort in order to see it freshly. Considering the first line, it is simply “The old pond”. This in actual fact sets the scene a great, may be an overgrown lily pond in a public garden somewhere. One may tend to imagine that the edges are mossy, and may be somehow broken down. With the frog as the only clue, one guesses that this is twilight in the late spring. Apparently this setting of time and the instant place require to be established, but then there still exists more.
It is notable of how Basho’s haikus are dramatic, as that tends to exaggerate depression or humor, confusion or even ecstasy. It is worth noting that the same dramatic expressions usually have a paradoxical nature. The despair and humor are actually normally expressed in a way such that they are never implements to believe in the possibility of the human being and to just glorify it. If anything, Basho’s literature has a certain character tied to it in a way such that the more he expressed deeds of men, it appeared the more human existence’s smallness would stand there in relief, and this makes one conscious of the greatness of the ensuing power belonging to the nature.
If only today’s poets would go back and try to review Basho’s poetry works and they will at last note something peculiar and in fact that may be helpful in upholding their reputation as pertains to the kind of poems they write. Basho is long gone but apparently his legacy remains forever. Either through his strategy or whether it came naturally, his poetry work was very unique and appealing and this particular style lacks in many of today’s writers as after a close scrutiny, one will tend to notice that most of the today’s poems talk of the same social experiences using the same styles and even causing a feeling of monotony to readers.
When one considers where Basho exactly had come from, a humbled back ground, then it is apparent that this may have highly contributed to his excellence when it came to doing his perfect job. This however may lack in many of the today’s poets as most of them usually hear of how poverty does and may have never experienced hence their content is a just from what they hear or read.
Poetry becomes enjoyable when one is reading something one has never ever experienced being communicated and incase one is conversant with the same, it should be produced in style such that one feels real knew to what is being addressed in that particular poem.
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