November 1, 2015

Yosa Buson Lecture and newly found 212 haiku

A lecture was held at Buson exhibition at Tenri University Library yesterday (see the top photo). The lecture hall was so packed with haiku enthusiasts that some had to stand in the back.

Prof. Fujita, the lecturer from Osaka Univ., talked for an hour and a half, about how Buson conducted his Kukai, the letters Buson wrote to the absent members explaining how the Kukai went, and of course about the newly found 212 Buson's haiku. 

With the findings, Buson's haiku that remain today totals about 3000. In case of Basho, it is about 1000, and in Issa's case, it is more than 10.000.

Newly found haiku are written in the pre-published, hand written books called "Yahantei (Buson's haiku name) Buson Kushu (haiku book)", in which 1903 haiku are listed (see the bottom photo). The books were known to exist but somehow being lost for many years. Recently they were found at an old merchant's storehouse. The library purchased them several months ago, and as checking went on, these 212 haiku were found.

These haiku are written in Sosho style calligraphy, which is very difficult to read for the modern Japanese like myself. The Library published the haiku in the modern letters in the library journal, but unfortunately it was sold out, and I have to wait for the reprint.

Buson was born in1716, and the next year marks his 300th birthday. What a opportune time for a great new discovery.

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