February 9, 2011

Haiga 497 Yosa Buson haiku 7

Haiku by Yosa Buson. Artwork by Kuniharu Shimizu.
Hototogisu, or cuckoo, is the kigo of summer, so this haiku is about the season. But what interests me is the word "diagonally".

The city of Heian is a planned city, modeled after old Chinese capital city; the streets are just like in the haiga, in rigid lattice. And this lattice shape corrisponds to the ritual manner also. Many formal ceremonies took place at the emperor's palace. One basic rule of human movements in the formal ritual is that you never move diagonally, they should be always right-angled.
I know this because a part of my priestly learning included the ritual manners.

Knowing all these, our appreciation of the word "diagonally" deepens more. Cuckoo is so free, free from all the rigidness and restraints in human world, which culminates at the emperor's city.


Area 17 said...

Fantastic haiga, and we have learnt more about history and literature because of it.

Alan, With Words
Alan’s Area 17 blog

kuni_san said...

Thanks, Alan san. "Free as a bird" seems like an universal thing.

Norman Darlington said...

Lovely haiga, and Buson's hokku is very nicely explained. By coincidence I was just now reading of the same hokku here: www.deepkyoto.com/?p=4350

kuni_san said...

Thanks, Norman san. I checked out the site. Keiji Minato is a friend of mine. Nice article.