November 26, 2011

Basho passed away around here


The other day, my friends and I were in Osaka for a meeting. We discussed about the upcoming haiga exhibition to be held at a place right on the Mido-suji Ave, busiest street in Osaka. Also on the avenue, a bit away to the north, is a place where Matsuo Basho passed away. The photo here is the stone monument which says just that, "Basho passed away around here".

One of my friends, Kitahara san, who had taken this photo, shared a remark made by some young. "Did Basho die in traffic accident?" We just had to laugh at it. That is the extent of appriciation of Basho among ordinary young Japanese.

Mido-suji Ave. was a narrow street back in Basho's time. It was lined with small stores, and Basho was staying one of them, which sold cut flowers. It was Basho's second visit to Osaka. He was there to settle some dispute between two of his old disciples. He became ill, and though he never expected death, he passed away. In his sick bed, he wrote the following haiku:

Falling sick on a journey -
my dream goes wandering
over a field of withered grass

3 comments:

Matthew Thivierge (Mr.T) said...

I live in Busan South Korea but have visited Osaka and walked down Mido Suji. On our way (my wife and I) we passed that sign but didn't know what it said! Arigato Hajimashte!!!

Gwil W said...

That looks suspiciously like a radar box behind Basho's stone. I hope he didn't get a speeding ticket. That would be unjust.

kuni_san said...

Matthew san: the monument is so small and inconspicuous. Amazing you've noticed.
BTW, just a few minutes walk from there is "Bar Liseur", which is run by Gentsuki, a recipient of Akutagawa Literary Award. Gentsuki is a Japan-born Korean. Here is it URL: http://www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~liseur/

Gwill san: the mysterious box, isn't it?