Yosa Buson : Harukaze


. WKD : Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


.................. 春風や 堤長うして 家遠し

Haiku Memorial Stone at Yodogawa, Osaka
© Photos : Isabelle Prondzynski, 2006


harukaze ya dote nagoo-shite ie tooshi

spring wind, spring breeze, harukaze 春風
(The reading shunpuu is almost not used in haiku.)

spring breeze -
the river bank so long and
my home so far

(Tr. 1. version, Gabi Greve)

For a translation of these words, click here.


Spring winds,
the embankment lies long and
home is distant



Blyth's translation:

The spring wind is blowing:
The embankment is long,
Houses far away.

Yuki Sawa's translation:

Spring wind --
the riverbank goes on and on
and home is far.

Hass' translation:

Spring wind--
the river bank goes on and on
and home is still far away.

Collected by Larry

Read more interesting material contributed by Larry on the background of this poem.


spring winds --
long the embankment
and far from home

© Photo : Isabelle Prondzynski, 2006



boarea primaverii—
digul e asa de lung
casa-i departe


tavaszi szel fuj—
hosszu a vedogat
a hazam messze


prolijecni vijetar—
obalski nasip je dug
dom je daleko

Cristian Mocanu
Read more about Cristian discussing this translation.

Read more about the translation of EMBANKMENT.
Forum : Translating Haiku

Discussion of some English translations


Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 (1716 - 1783)

Taniguchi Buson (boo-sahn) (1716-1784), later called Yosa Buson., was a Japanese haiku poet and painter. He ranked second only to Matsuo Bashoa, Japanese master of haiku, among poets of the Edo or Tokugawa period (1600-1868). Buson was born in a suburb of Osaka, Japan, and apparently lost both parents while he was still young. In 1737 he moved to Edo (now Tokyo) to study painting and haiku poetry in the tradition of Basho.

After the death of one of his poetry teachers in 1742, he toured northern areas associated with Basho and visited western Japan, finally settling in Kyoto, Japan, in 1751. Particularly active as a painter between 1756 and 1765, Buson gradually returned to haiku, leading a movement to return to the purity of Basho's style and to purge haiku of superficial wit. He married about 1760.

In 1771 he painted a famous set of ten screens with his great contemporary Ike no Taiga, demonstrating his status as one of the finest painters of his time. Buson's major contribution to haiku is his complexity and his painter's eye. Buson's technical skill as an artist is reflected in the visual detail of his poetry.

The poetry group that he formed published its first book in 1772. His haiku poems show a more objective, pictorial style than Basho's humane, wide-ranging work. While Basho taught, "Master technique, then forget it," Buson's technique is less transparent and his poems more consciously composed. He was a poet of enhanced sensibility and evocation.

In 1776 his group built a Bashoan (Basho house) for gatherings. Also, his daughter married that year, although this unhappy marriage grieved Buson. Despite his poetic brilliance, Buson was remembered more as a painter until essays by modern Japanese writers Masaoka Shiki and Hagiwara Sakutaro revived his reputation. Besides haiku, he wrote longer verse influenced by both Chinese and Japanese classics.

Blyth, R. H., A History of Haiku, 2 vols. (1971, 1976);
Henderson, Harold G., ed., Introduction to Haiku (1958, repr. 1983).

©  http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Island/5022/busonbio.html


The haiku was written as a part of a longer poem, Shunpuu Batei Kyoku of the homeland of Buson.

Spring Wind on the Riverbank of Kema
More background material on this poem.

Buson's intention with this haiku was to depict the thoughts of a young woman walking from Naniwa [Osaka],where she worked, to visit her home village.

The birth place of Buson is Settsu no kuni, Higashi-nari-goori, Kema Mura
摂津国東成郡毛馬村(ひがしなりごおり けまむら)in present-day Osaka.

The location of the stone memorial is the dike at North Osaka, Kema-Choo, in a special park, in memory of Buson's birth place
毛馬町3-7 毛馬堤防上
Kema Teibojo, 3-7, Kemacho, Miyakojima-ku, Osaka.

It is the handwriting of Buson himself, enlarged and in stone.
The current monument was created in 1980.

Here is a map of the Park.


. - Naniwa 難波 and Naniwazu 難波津 - .
Poems by Buson and Basho


English LINKs

Selected Haiku Poems of Buson 蕪村句集
.............Same in Japanese

Buson poem monuments (kuhi 句碑)

Japanese LINKs


In Italian

Brezza primaverile, lungo cammino sull’argine e la casa è lontana



More translations of this haiku
from the Translation Forum.

Please click the name of the author to read their thoughts and discussion about it.

spring breeze --
along the long embankment
so far from home

Grzegorz Sionkowski

English and Polish versions :

wiosenna bryza --
wzdłuż długiego nabrzeża
z dala od domu

Grzegorz Sionkowski



весенний ветерок -
долог берег у реки,
а до дому далеко...

vesennij veterok -
dolog bereg u reki,
a do domu daleko
Zhanna P. Rader



brizo printempa -
riverbord' longadas kaj
hejm' tiel foras

Norman Darlington


German and French

Frühlingsbrise --
der Leinpfad so lang und
nach Hause ist's weit

brise de printemps --
la berge si longue et
la maison si loin

Isabelle Prondzynski

Things found on the way

harukaze, Spring Breeze, more haiku

Related words

*****  WKD: Gentle breeze, soft breeze, Linde Lüfte Germany

*****  Embankment (dote) A Haiku Topic.

***** 。句碑 KUHI Haiku Memorial Stones in Matsuyama

*****  KUHI Haiku Memorial Stones around Tokyo


Buson and the sickle to cut water rice

. 水深く利(とき)鎌鳴らす真菰刈
mizu fukaku toki kama narasu makomo kari

. YOSA BUSON - - - Translations by Gabi Greve

. WKD : ABC- List of his works .


. WKD : Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .



Unknown said...

Oh this is good data base for Buson who is my favarite poet.

thank you for your information.
I will visit again.


Unknown said...

Isabela さんの淀川の写真とても

有難うGabi さん


Anonymous said...

This will appear in my next collection --

sound of rain ...
I have no more home
near the river

Ella Wagemakers

Anonymous said...

Detached or mundane?

Special to The Japan Times

The fame that Yosa Buson (1716-1783) enjoyed as a painter and haiku poet in his own lifetime quickly eroded in the years following his death. And while his poetic reputation was restored as early as the 19th century, it was only in the years following World War II that his paintings once again became acclaimed.

As early as 1801, the aspiring Sinophile Nakabayashi Chikuto had expressed misgivings about Buson's works, noting that
"What is wrong is his earthy haikai (humorous Japanese verse)?"

While Buson had worked in a Chinese-style of literati painting that celebrated worldly detachment and was intolerant of the mundane, he had introduced humor to the almost exclusive Chinese subject matter he portrayed.

Thus what Chikuto had deduced was the essential friction between what was appropriately high or low in Japan versus China.

Buson left for Edo (present-day Tokyo) from his hometown on the outskirts of Osaka at around age 20 to study haiku in the style of luminary Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). With the death of his teacher seven years later, Buson spent 10 years as an itinerant Buddhist monk. Then, forsaking religious life, he settled in Kyoto and took to painting to earn a living.

The minimal money that Buson also acquired from haiku lessons and published verse would seem to point to a lack of proficiency in the medium, but in fact the reverse was true. Buson is regarded as the most distinguished poet of his age, and second only to the pre-eminent master Basho.

But Buson's entry into painting was much less propitious. Literati painting celebrates a studied amateurism that creates room for spontaneous, impulsive brushwork. But the painter's early work was shot through with a much less prized pure second-rateness.

In "Landscape after Wang Shuming" (1760), the brushwork is undistinguished — even clumsy — and does a disservice to the mountains in the foreground and back. Art historian James Cahill notes that the inscription on the work, "Being drunk, I have casually imitated the spontaneous painting methods of Wang Shunming," was probably meant "to camouflage the real ineptitude."

The artist's real achievements in painting did not emerge until his most advanced years, though he was listed among popular painters of Kyoto in its "Who's Who" directory by 1768.

The transition was caused by an array of percolating resources — from the literati-haikai painter Sakaki Hyakusen, who was essentially Buson's precursor, to the comical sketchiness of Japanese folk paintings from Otsu (present-day Shiga Prefecture), which were popular in the Edo Period; from the careful and decorative style of the Chinese painter Shen Nanpin, who had visited Japan, to the depictive skill of the Chinese Northern Zhe School and the country's more esteemed Southern tradition.

Buson seemed uncertain about the distinctions between Northern (who were professional painters, and thus thought of as vulgar) and Southern (who were ideally nonprofessional, and thus praised) schools. And, though the artistic models Buson did take up were not disparaged in China, they were of minimal importance to its traditions.

For example, Jin Hong was most often cited by Buson in paintings done "in the style of" someone, but practically nothing is known of that Chinese painter, bar his birthplace, Suzhou.

Buson began painting haiga, simple images combined with 17-syllable verses, by the end of his 50s, bringing together Chinese and Japanese traditions. Further departures from conventional Chinese models and the development of a distinctive body of work emerged in accessible themes such as "Feeding a Horse at a Country House" (undated), where a rustic goes about his work-a-day tasks and a crow roosting in a tree prepares to scavenge corn-feed.

While divorcing himself from Chinese traditions was never his intention, Buson did push them in directions that could never have taken place in China.

In the Chinese literati lineage, the city was a worldly, vulgar place unfit for depiction; a more appropriate subject would have been the hermitages of scholar-officials deep within mountainous nature.

But a late and undated Buson painting, "Snowclad Houses in the Night" — arguably the premier work in the Miho Museum's current exhibition of the artist — depicts a snow-covered cityscape with traces of ocher that suggest townsfolk huddled inside, the work day over.

Buson's shifts between the vulgar and elegant mirror his renunciation of the religious values of detachment for worldly ones, such as his pursuit of a living as an artist in the marketplace.

These tensions are exposed, too, in Buson's own words about his poetry, which can be used to metaphorically comprehend the whole of the artist's oeuvre: "Haikai sets high value on using mundane language to distance us from the mundane, or using the medium of the worldly while standing aloof from it."

"Yosa Buson: On the Wings of Art"
runs till June 8 at the Miho Museum in Shiga Prefecture


Gabi Greve - Buson said...

Yosa Buson - Collections - 蕪村句集 Kushu

Buson in Edo !