Boredom, to be bored (taikutsu)


Bored, to be bored (taikutsu)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: humanity


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is an emotional state experienced during periods lacking activity or when individuals are uninterested in their surroundings. The first record of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852, in which it appears six times, although the expression to be a bore had been used in the sense of "to be tiresome or dull" since 1768.

Boredom has been defined by C. D. Fisher in terms of its central psychological processes: “an unpleasant, transient affective state in which the individual feels a pervasive lack of interest in and difficulty concentrating on the current activity.”
M. R. Leary and others describe boredom as “an affective experience associated with cognitive attentional processes.”In positive psychology, boredom is described as a response to a moderate challenge for which the subject has more than enough skill.
These definitions make it clear that boredom arises not from a lack of things to do but from the inability to latch onto any specific activity.
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Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko 旗本退屈男
Bored Hatamoto Samurai / Bored Samurai

The main hero is Saotome Mondonosuke 早乙女主水之介.

played by
Ichikawa Utaemon 市川右太衛門
later his son, Kitaoji Kinya 北大路欣也.

A movie and well-loved TV series.


ningen ni taikutsu shiori negi boozu

getting tired of
being a human -
Welsh onion heads

Matsuzaki Tetsunosuke 松崎鉄之介

Welsh Onion Head (negi boozu)


taikutsu na gogo ni narisoo ao-fukube

it looks like
another boring afternoon . . .
this green gourd

Tamura Kiyoko 田村清子

. gourd 瓢箪 hyootan, fukube  


kasumu hi ya sazo tennin no o-taikutsu

misty day--
no doubt Heaven's saints
bored stiff

Kobayashi Issa

An ironic view of Paradise.
Pure Land Buddhists maintain that there are "Six Ways" of possible future life reincarnation: (1) as a sufferer in hell, (2) as a hungry ghost, (3) as an animal, (4) as an angry demon, (5) as a human being, or (6) as an enlightened saint in the Western Paradise. This haiku is poem 6 of a six-poem series on the Six Ways. Two versions of this series exist; one appears in the 1812 book, Kabuban, while the other was published posthumously by Issa's students in Issa hokku shuu in 1829. The present haiku appears in both versions.

Tr. David Lanoue

. Rokudo (Rokudoo) 六道... The Six Realms of Existence.


A day of mist and haze:
The Dwellers of Heaven
May well feel bored and listless.

trans. Blyth

A hazy day--
even the gods
must feel listless.

trans. Hass

'Taikutsu' appears to have a connotation of describing a state of weariness, from which I assume both Blyth and Hass arrived at their English translation of "listless."

"Bored stiff," although more colloquial, has, for me, a connotation of restless, pent-up energy that is being frustrated by being caught in a boring situation with no opportunity for release. This is not quite the same thing as weariness or listlessness, although weariness and listlessness can be caused by boredom.

Again, for me, being "listless," when I'm feeling that way, is a state of being I tend to wallow in. Being listless is when I don't really want to do anything, even if there is something to do. Being "bored stiff" is a state of being I'm anxious to escape from, when I'd rather be doing something, but I just can't think of what to do.

Discussion of the translations:
Larry Bole

Related words

***** . Emotions in Kigo and Haiku

. WKD - LIST of haiku topics and Keywords  




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