Shasei : Sketch from Nature

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Sketching from Nature , SHASEI 写生
shajitsu 写実, byoosha 描写

for more general haiku theories, see below


Matsuo Basho advises his disciples

. Learn from the Pine ! .

To do that you must leave behind you all subjective prejudice.
Otherwise you will force your own self onto the object
and can learn nothing from it.
Your poem will well-up of its own accord
when you and the object become one,
when you dive deep enough into the object,
to discover something of its hidden glimmer.

The word "shasei" has not yet been invented at the time of Basho,
but the idea was here.


Shaseiis the principle of "sketching from life" in a haiku, especially advocated by Shiki.

The idea is that a haiku should be descriptive of a scene rather than be about abstractions or thoughts on the scene. Furthermore, to be true to a scene, most haiku should be written from actual experiences directly experienced as opposed to imagined scenes.

Haiku should also be written while directly observing a scene and not generally from memory (which may distort an element of the scene). Thus, it may be considered inappropriate to write a "summer" haiku during the winter, since you couldn't possibly have been viewing a summer scene at that time.

. Reference : The Truth in Haiku .


Masaoka Shiki and shasei

Go back in time
when Japan was still trying to adopt somehow the "values of the West".
Until then,
learned people wrote poetry and hokku and enjoyed to show their learning, their wit and "metaphors" and "puns" among themselves.
Comes Shiki (and now Abe with "a society where all can shine").
Shiki wanted to make hokku available to people with less education and less literary background, to "mister and missus everybody" -
so he advocated using simple language and just write what is before your eyes - in a way that any other simple person could understand and "see" what the poet has seen
(hence the stress on the "image" of the haiku, not the "Zen moment" or other fuzzy philosophy).

Shiki was trying to improve the Japanese language itself for all to use freely

and so on in an NHK program in July 2016.

「生きた証か 見果てぬ夢か ~ 近代文学の祖 正岡子規の選択」
- reference : video.unext.jp/episode -

Masaoka Shiki: the Misunderstood Reformer, Critic and Poet
by Carmen Sterba
Shiki's reputation is often misunderstood for several reasons. First of all, Japanese and Western poets tend to connect Shiki's style only to his realistic observance of nature, which he named "sketch from life" (shasei). Secondly, poets have over-reacted to Shiki's criticism of Basho. Such a way of looking at Shiki ignores his intentions and overall contribution.

A "Sketch from Life" was One of Shiki's Many Techniques
Some other suggestions Shiki gave were (1) to "pay more attention to lesser-known locales" rather than famous places, (2) to walk and observe nature, but afterwards write at home, (3) to focus on "material and theme in a way that will reveal [your] individuality," (4)to read other's haiku to be informed, and (5) to know something of the history of tanka (originally called waka). Ueda also suggests that Basho wrote about the "beauty of external nature" and Shiki wrote haiku based on "internal, psychological reality of what is truthful (makoto)."
source : carmen-sterba.suite101.com


Masaoka Shiki - Three Ways of Sketching from Life

to copy reality as it is (for beginners)
to select carefully from experience (for advanced)
to include makoto, internal, psychological reality of what is truthful (for masters)

Modern Japanese poets and the nature of literature
Makoto Ueda
source : books.google.co.jp


ShaseiBy Hiromi Inoue

(1) Masaoka Shiki's shasei ( 1890's )

Very simple. He told that there are two methods of making a haiku.
One is shasei 写生 ( sketching from life) , the other is ku-so kuusoo 空想 ( fancy , imagination ) .
He wrote shasei is a simple way but " If a shasei ku has good taste, it will make a remarkable effect." Shiki prefered Buson to Basho. Certainly the core of Basho's haikus are far from sketching the objects as it is. Shiki told Basho's haikus were too idealistic.( But now, I guess no one agrees with him.)

(2) Takahama Kyoshi's shasei ( 1910's - 1950's)

He insisted on the pure-objective shasei. And he advanced "ka cho-fuei (kachoo fuuei 花鳥諷詠)" which means that haiku must center on the nature ( kacho: ka = flower, cho = butterfly : representatives of the nature ).

Naturally an objective shasei haiku contains no human emotion. On the other hand, he asserted these haiku must stand on the subjective/personal emotion. So they don't contain emotional words, but must make readers feel about haikuist's viewpoint and emotion indirectly.
His theory ruled over all of the haikuists in those days. As the haikuists who completed shasei haiku of this type,

4S is famous in Japan.Mizuhara Shuoshi
Awano Seiho
Takano Sujyu
Yamaguchi Seishi.
( 4S were named by Yamaguchi Seison )

*Sometimes shasei haiku are called "traditional haiku".

(3) Nakamura Kusatao's shasei ( 1960 - now )

Shasei is a way of making a haiku in which a haikuist observes an object and catch ( focus ) the figure which correspond to his/her deep emotion. I think it's his understanding, and perhaps the prevailing understanding.


More Reference :
Haikai before and after Shiki


Haiku Master Matsuo Basho teaches :

The poet can not interject anything of his personal, egoistic, or selfish attitude but must instead depict the impersonal quality of the moment.

© Kenneth Yasuda / Steve Odin


Haiku Master Kobayashi Issa teaches :

Single-mindedly, we should devote ourselves to befriending the four seasons, following the way of nature and revealing the truth that lies in our hearts, instead of concerning ourselves with verbal elegance.

(Tr. Ueda Makoto)


Haiku is Kacho Fuei Shi, a poem composing on the subject of Kacho. Kacho 花鳥  means not only the birds or flowers but also the phenomena of natural world and human affairs caused by the change of seasons.
I believe that behind this idea there is an Oriental world view, "Human beings are a part of nature".

© Inahata Teiko


Writing haiku is more like simply reporting what is going on.
Writing poetry is more about storytelling to embellish things.

Shiki once said:

...a visitor said to me, "This verse is called a masterpiece, known even by uneducated people such as pack-horse men and servantmen, yet no one can explain the meaning." As he wanted me to explain it, I answered, "The meaning of this verse is just what is said; it has no other, no special meaning. ... it only means that he heard the sound of a frog jumping into an old pond - nothing should be added to that.

If you add anything to it, it is not the real nature of the verse. Clearly and simply, not hiding, not covering; no thinking, no technique of words, - this is the characteristic of the verse. Nothing else."


Beyond the Haiku Moment
Haruo Shirane
One of the chief reasons for the emphasis in modern Japan on direct personal observations was Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), the late nineteenth century pioneer of modern haiku, who stressed the sketch (shasei) based on direct observation of the subject as the key to the composition of the modern haiku.

This led to the ginko, the trips to places to compose haiku. Shiki denounced linked verse as an intellectual game and saw the haiku as an expression of the individual. In this regard Shiki was deeply influenced by Western notions of literature and poetry; first, that literature should be realistic, and second, that literature should be an expression of the individual.

By contrast, haikai as Basho had known it had been largely imaginary, and had been a communal activity, the product of group composition or exchange. Shiki condemned traditional haikai on both counts. Even if Shiki had not existed, the effect would have been similar since Western influence on Japan from the late 19th century has been massive.

Early American and British pioneers of English-language haiku - such as Basil Chamberlain, Harold Henderson, R.H. Blyth - had limited interest in modern Japanese haiku, but shared may of Shiki's assumptions. The influence of Ezra Pound and the (Anglo-American) Modernist poetry movement was also significant in shaping modern notions of haiku.
In short, what many North American haiku poets have thought to be uniquely Japanese had in fact its roots in Western literary thought.

We are often told, particularly by the pioneers of English language haiku (such as D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, and the Beats) who mistakenly emphasized Zen Buddhism in Japanese haiku, that haiku should be about the "here and now". This is an extension of the notion that haiku must derive from direct observation and personal experience.
Haiku is extremely short, and therefore it can concentrate on only a few details. It is thus suitable for focusing on the here and now. But there is no reason why these moments have to be only in the present, contemporary world or why haiku can't deal with other kinds of time.

Read this most informative article here:

© Haikupoet.com : beyond_the_haiku_moment
Safekeep copy


Objective Haiku Poetics
Dr. Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Illinois
Objective haiku poetics emphasize the importance of reality, usually referred to as nature. The haiku moment is characterized as an instance of sensory perception of reality, without the blurring lens of human values or perspective. On a larger scale, the movement of thinking is from the observation of particulars about reality (or nature) to broader universal truths (the nature of nature) that is often viewed in haiku as universal seasons.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Masaoka Shiki called for a rejuvenation of haiku through a "shasei" approach which emphasized "realistic observation of nature rather than the puns or fantasies often relied on by the old school" . . .

Subjective Haiku Poetics
Subjective haiku poetics emphasize the inner world and life of the writer. The haiku moment is characterized as an instance of self-awareness about the feelings and significance of "being in my own world." ...

Transactional Haiku Poetics
Transactional haiku poetics emphasize the social nature of haiku as a call and response process of creative collaboration between the writer and reader. The haiku moment is characterized as a union of reader and writer who meet in a beloved haiku as co-creators of the felt significance of the poem. This approach seems especially fitting to haiku traditions, given haiku's origins as the hokku, or starting verse, in Japanese linked poetry. ...

Literary Haiku Poetics
Obviously literary haiku can and have been written based on the objective, subjective and transactional theories of writing. ...

Conclusion – Does Haiku Poetic Theory Matter?
... The haiku community has matured beyond the beginner's need for definitions and "do and don't" rules. We celebrate the diversity of a global haiku genre that is rich and strong only to the extent that there is a wide range of practice and a surprising freshness of voices and perspectives.

source : Frogpond 2011

(I call this Subjective Haiku Poetics the "internal shasei".)
see below


The Art of Haiku:
Its History Through Poems and Paintings by Japanese Masters

Stephen Addiss

... a syntax that is natural rather than "poetic" .

..... Haiku present images rather than ideas.

source : books.google.co.jp


Interview With Michael Dylan Welch
by Robert Wilson

Q) Which of the haiku masters have influenced you the most and why?

A) I think I would have to say Shiki, because the revolutionary thought that he promoted a hundred years ago is central to the revitalization of haiku as we know it even today.

His notion of "shasei" (sketching from life) haiku is akin to the objective approach to haiku. Yet haiku is not simply bald "so what" descriptions, which Shiki realized. Sketching from life should be selective, in the same way that a camera is "objective" (like a "shasei" haiku), yet there are clear elements of subjectivity in that the photographer aims his or her camera here rather than there, at this height or angle rather than some other way, at a certain time of day, and perhaps at a certain moment of action.

This is how haiku, even the seemingly "objective" or "shasei" poems, can become subjective, especially when the poet is carefully selective in choosing his or her subjects and how they are depicted.

Quoted from : Simply Haiku


... ... ... Larry Bole contributed this quote:
Here is something gleaned from a Michael Dylan Welch essay,
"The Haiku Sensibilities of E. E. Cummings:"

"Similarly, Alan Watts observed in The Way of Zen that 'the artificial haiku always feels like a piece of life which has been deliberately broken off or wrenched away from the universe, whereas the genuine haiku has dropped off all by itself [like a leaf], and has the whole universe inside it.'"

Cherry Poetry Club, January 2007


Some Thoughts on Shasei
by Gabi Greve, July 2006

If you take your camera and go out photo hunting, you get snapshots that reflect your own personality in very limited ways, like choice of the subject and angle, but leave most things as they are
... You catch what everybody else also saw but nobody has noticed so far !

That is just the way a good haiku snapshot should be: Introduce the moment that made you pause and experience nature, not elaborate about your own ego with all its thoughts and judgements.

Just think of a beautiful photo of a sunset!
It reveals a lot about the photographer too, but still just shows plain nature, from his angle, through his lense, with his sensibilities, his equipment, his bias for nature and how it should be represented in his art. SHASEI !

With haiku, shasei is like a snapshot with your camera, and would not allow for the judgements of your ego, using adjectives loaden with emotions and distinctions, like "sad" or "lonely", but for adjectives that can be used for things that you experience and discribe with your five senses: red, large, loud ... (even these adjectives carry a load of judgement, though), things that your egoless snapshot camera would capture.

Finetune your mental lense to smaller and smaller details. Filter out the really important, the essence of this moment and describe it in simple words.
In that respect, I personally do not even consider Japanese haiku as "poetry", it is much too simple and straightforward for that! (Smile!)
I think it comes close to the advise often given by American poets "Show, do not tell".

.............. How much is ONE HAIR?
One hair in my soup is rather a lot.
One hair on my head is rather few, little.

Any judgement is rather relative.

If you take a canvas, brush and paint, a lot more of your interpretation of the scene, a lot more of your own EGO, will show, like in love lyrics or other forms of poetry.
Haiku is best without your interpretation, the judgement of your EGO, just your plain statement of what IS the essence of your observation (if you are really able to capture that ! )

... Just a frog jumping in an old pond ...

a sound of water
from the old pond -
I am the frog

In Zen, we train to loose the EGO, or rather, feel one with the ALL. In that sense, I am the FROG! I am the butterfly and the dandelion by the roadside. So there is no need to state that in every haiku. The above is an example for what I think haiku should NOT BE.

Will you be a painter or a photographer?
Will you be a tanka poet or a haiku poet?

It takes some training to go into the objective mode of plain observing, noticing and stating, loosing your EGO completely to be one with ALL ... without much emotional judgement or obscure phrases. You might read up on the concept of ... MU 無 ... .


The concept of shasei was of course taken from painting.

Symbolic talk

If you take 10 people to the beach to capture a sunset, some with simple cameras, some with professional equimpent (for example a great knowledge of kigo), some with brush and colors, some with pencil and notepad ...

Each will come up with a work of art according to his abilities, his knowledge and his equipment ... all showing different aspects, all beautiful (I hope) and all classified different.


If I write normal poetry and paint a landscape, I am free to transform it as I please, but with my haiku, there is a difference.
I hang on to external and internal shasei, sketching from nature and the inspiration of moment.

"internal shasei", writing a phrase that corresponds to your inner feeling of the moment, which is inspried by the scene you see around you (usually expressed in the kigo). This happens often to me when the outside coincides with a strong feeling that I am just having about something and I do not want to suppress, but simply spell it out.

. my internal shasei - examples  

. THF - discussing internal shasei .

This leads us to the concept of expressing your true emotions in haiku:
Emotions ... Loneliness, sadness, melancholy and more Sabishisa, kanashisa and more


In March 2008, a friend asked:

When evaluating haiku ...

When evaluating haiku, how often is whether or not a haiku is commonplace taken into consideration, regardless of how pretty or shasei it is?
When composing a haiku, should effort be put into trying to give it some element of uniqueness?
Does a search for an element of uniqueness, whether in point of view, subject matter, and/or use of language, run counter to shasei theory?

My answer would be:

Trying to make a special effort with uniqueness, word smithing and other verbal summersaults, one is bound to use the spontaneity of the moment, the EGO-LESS part of it for sure. That is what makes haiku different from normal poetry, in my feeling.
It is only a simple frog jumping in an old pond, no more!
Trying to be subtle or ambiguous or whatever ON PURPOSE does usually not add depth or yuugen, but just puts the mind of the reader on the intellectual side, trying to understand instead of simply SEE in his heart ... and thus the original haiku situation is lost.


Show, do not tell

a piece of adivse often heared in Enlish language. I am not sure how to say this in Japanese.

Haiku: A Poet's Guide" by Lee Gurga,
©2003, page 48:
Nouns and literal images
"With nouns we are most clearly able to convey our experiences without interpretation.
"Show, don't tell," is the haiku way.
Here is an image: a boy on a swing. Here is a statement: I saw a boy on a swing. The image presents what was experienced without putting the author in the picture.
Further, the image here, like many images in haiku, does not contain a verb. Though verbs are certainly used haiku, they are not absolutely necessary and many haiku poets do without them. Nouns are the meat of haiku."

May I add the following advise for beginners:

there are indeed many ways to write haiku, some depend on the form (especially in Japan) and some on the contents of it.

KERI is one of the most common cutting markers, and it can only be used at the end of a Japanese verb, for example.

Whether to choose only nouns or one or two verbs or some emotionally loaded adjectives or any other variety, in my understanding, depends on the contents one wants to convey.

If you pay close attention to the situation when the haiku "came to you", you will most probably come up with the best vocabulary needed to express it.

I advise a beginner strongly to keep to the three rather formal aspects

short/long/short (instead of five seven five in non-Japanese language)
one kigo
one cut marker

and hang on to shasei, take it from the moment, from YOUR situation.

Reading many haiku will bring you to an understanding when to use which ... shall I say ... trick ... to bring your meaning to life ! Spontaneity is important ! And based on a broad knowledge of haiku written it will be even better, so for a Japanese haiku student, it ends up in

study study study ... your saijiki ! on a daily basis to get familiar with what we have so far.



Shasei and Allusions to History

nao mitashi hana ni ake yuku kami no kao

I would like to see
in the cherry blossoms at dawn
the face of this god

Matsuo Basho at Mt. Katsuragi

Hitokotonushi, the God of One Word

This haiku might sound as a riddle at first reading.
But if you share a common cultureal background and know the place where this haiku was written, you can see it is a form of shasei, of stating what kind of energy is alive in this place.
Here we have the most intriguing aspect of Japanese haiku, which is mostly lost in translations.

Translate the last line as : the face of god.
This would lead any good Christian to imagine the old man with the beard, I guess...
kami no kao, the face of the most ugly Deity of Japan, something not to be seen in reality, yet in this place it comes alive and is well present.

Another example of this kind is the octopus haiku by Basho. If you know the history of the place where it was written, it is not a riddle, but a sketch of the energy of that place.

takotsubo ya hakanaki yume o natsu no tsuki

an octopus pot --
inside, a short-lived dream
under the summer moon

Matsuo Basho
(Tr. Makoto Ueda)

Read the details HERE please !



by the lake
feathers from the Hawk’s meal

Joan Payne Kincaid

Joan has this to say about her haiku:

"This is in the moment because these things were there when I was. To be in the moment one must die to everything in the past and filter it out entirely thus leaving one to be totally at one with the moment at hand and the subject or subjects relating to it.

The pivot, or second line, connects that which otherwise would not be connected. It is a wonderful surprise.

The writer must be totally one with the subjects... the writer becomes the subject and lets go the ego, memory, past relationships, everything but, in this case, the snowflakes, lake, and feathers.

It is being in the now, not the past nor future. It is a poetic snapshot or postcard. The lake is there and the snowflakes, but the feathers — being the only evidence of a prior and riveting event — is a total surprise. One that led the ancient haikuist to exclaim "AHA." "

Notice that Joan has not merely reported the conditions of her walk. This is not a weather report. This is an account of the moment of a realization; the moment the poet has come to understand a dramatic natural event that occurred prior to her arrival. She then uses the seasonal language of haiku to signify the event. In other words, "snowflakes" connotes "winter" which connotes "death." That the white flakes and the feathers resemble one another relates them by unifying them, exemplifying another aspect of well-made Zen-influenced art.

Tracy Koretsky

Read the details HERE please ! External LINK


getting older -
even the gods
need glasses

Read more of our discussions:

Riddles : The Real, the Surreal, the Irreal, the Metaphysical, the big human EGO ... and haiku

Judgement, Duality, Yin and Yang ... and haiku


Metaphors, similies and other poetic tricks ...

If you compare one thing to another, you are expressing some kind of worldview.
If you use poetic vocabulary to talk about a thing, you are expressing your own self with respect to that thing.

If you state a thing as it is (shasei, shajitsu 写実), you are expressing a completely different kind of worldview.

Metapher and Haiku, an Essay

Other Haiku Theories

SHASEI is of course only one of many haiku theories.
Even Shiki himself did not write 100 percent haiku according to this theory only.

Another term of haiku aescethics is
MAKOTO まこと 誠, sincerity.

Quote from Lucien Stryk,
A Cage of Fireflies: Modern Japanese Haiku

"Among the poet's [Shiki] major contributions to haiku aesthetic were his very original concepts, shasei and makoto, which because of their importance to those who followed him must be defined. Shasei, simply put, is realism and means copying the subject, but selectively, emphasizing elements most characteristic.

He gave the following example: a red camellia blooming in dark woods would strike one as especially beautiful in haiku if the darkness of the woods were emphasized, and the flower described as briefly as possible. The Tenro Haiku School, led by Seishi Yamaguchi, holds shasei as virtual creed, and speaks of it as on-the-spot composition with the subject 'traced to its origin.'

"By makoto Shiki meant shasei directed toward 'inner reality,' with the same concentration on the direct rendering of subject, but the subject being the poet's self. The self is experienced as objectively as anything in nature. More than anything, perhaps, makoto is 'truthful feeling,' and as members of Soun, and other haiku schools, would have it, Significance. Because makoto naturally leads to a focus on revelations of spirit, the poet may write less than those who practice shasei alone.
Makoto may also lead, at times, to flaunting of formal elements . . ."

Read also

by Susumu Takiguchi

Fuga no Makoto (fuuga no makoto 風雅の誠)in: Haiku As a World Phenomenon
by Susumu Takiguchi


Peipei Qiu

In haikai history, Uejima Onitsura (1661–1738) is famous for the following statement concerning the nature of comic linked verse:
‘Without makoto , there would be no haikai.’’
The two Japanese terms used in this statement, haikai and makoto, present an obvious semantic conflict. Makoto in Japanese basically means ‘‘truth,’’ ‘‘faithfulness,’’ and ‘‘genuineness.’’

Haikai, on the other hand, literally means ‘‘facetiousness’’ or ‘‘humor.’’ The term is used to refer to facetious poems in Japan since the first imperial poetic anthology, the Kokin wakashu (905). When haikai no renga (comic linked verse) became a popular genre during the later medieval and early Edo periods, it was conceived basically as a playful and facetious poem.

By saying that ‘‘without makoto there would be no haikai,’’ Onitsura declared a revolutionary change in the nature of the comic linked verse, a reform carried out by the joint effort of a number of haikai poets during the last two decades of the seventeenth century. Before this change took place, haikai had been characterized as a poem of ‘‘free exaggerations’’ and ‘‘the most deluding falsehoods.’’
The shift of the critical emphasis from falsehood to truthfulness transformed the genre from an entertaining pastime to a serious literary form.
source : www.jstor.org

まことの外に俳諧なし Makoto no hoka ni haikai nashi.
. Uejima Onitsura 上島鬼貫 (1660-1738) .

... ... ...

Another aspect of haiku

Yugen (yuugen 幽玄)



- Reflections on Haikai –

Perhaps we made a false start. If that be the case, then the subsequent developments cannot all be really right.

We started with HAIKU. We should have started with HAIKAI, instead.

Little wonder that so many grievous mistakes have been made and still remain uncorrected in our understanding of haiku.

HAIKAI is a common sense in Japan.
It is not so outside

Japan. Looking back, that has been the real problem.
Even those non-Japanese who understand HAIKAI may do so rather vaguely.
So, what is the difference between the two? What is HAIKAI at all?

© Susumu Takiguchi, March 2008


Mono no Aware 物の哀れ

"A deep feeling of sympathy induced by small things or events."

Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801)
Literary and linguistic scholar.
He invented the crucial concept of mono no aware to define the essential of Japaneseness and Japanese culture. The phrase, derived from aware, which, in Heian Japan meant something like "sensitivity" or "sadness", means "sensitivity to things."

- quote -
Retracing the life of 18th-century scholar Motoori Norinaga
Norinaga hailed from the castle town of Matsusaka in modern-day Mie Prefecture, where he is celebrated and beloved to this day.
He was a Japanese scholar of Kokugaku active during the Edo period. He is probably the best known and most prominent of all scholars in this tradition.
- source : MORE in the wikipedia -

. Motoori and Sakura cherry blossoms .

. gakumonjo 学問所 Academies of Higher Learning - Introduction .

... ... ...

Sei Shonagon - Mono no Aware

In spring it is the dawn that is most beautiful. As the light creeps over the hills, their outlines are dyed a faint red and wisps of purplish cloud trail over them.

In summer the nights. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is!

In autumn, the evenings, when the glittering sun sinks close to the edge of the hills and the crows fly back to their nests in threes and fours and twos; more charming still is a file of wild geese, like specks in the distant sky. When the sun has set, one's heart is moved by the sound of the wind and the hum of the insects.

In winter the early mornings. It is beautiful indeed when snow has fallen during the night, but splendid too when the ground is white with frost; or even when there is no snow or frost, but it is simply very cold and the attendants hurry from room to room stirring up the fires and bringing charcoal, how well this fits the season's mood! But as noon approaches and the cold wears off, no one bothers to keep the braziers alight, and soon nothing remains but piles of white ashes.”
source : www.goodreads.com/quotes

... ... ...

"An uttered trace of the heart's outburst, aware requires the presence of like-minded witnesses who share in the emotional experience and help the experiencing subject to get free from the oppressive power of feelings by becoming new transmitting agents in a chain of communications."

Norinaga Motoori: Mono no Aware

... ... ...

mono no aware
"the pathos of things", "the moving power of things"

The Poetics of Motoori Norinaga: A Hermeneutical Journey
translated and edited by Michael F. Marra
Simply Haiku, Autumn 2007

More LINKS about
Mono no Aware


Environment and emotion:
keijo (keijoo 景情 けいじょう)

combination of fuukei 風景, landscape and kanjoo 感情, emotion.

The kei of keijo means scenery or landscape, expressing the concrete image of a thing just as it is, without clever artifice. In Chinese poetics we also find the phrase, 'unification of environment and emotion' (J. keijo itchi); basically it means expression in which landscape is depicted, charged with emotional resonance. Therefore, it is not a mere copy or sketch of a scene . . . expressions of environments that come to possess emotion of their own accord.

"Also, of course, many different qualities exist in the emotions that derive from the environments, but the one that Basho most emphasized in his last years was ordinary feeling, feelings that can casually emerge from everyday life. This is what is called 'zokutan heiwa' (lit., commonplace stories in ordinary language) --- writing verse about everyday things in plain, easy words.

quote from:  Matsuo Basho's Poetic Spaces:
Exploring Haikai Intersections
edited by Eleanor Kirkham
Simply Haiku Nr. 5


© www.intweb.co.jp/basyou_nozarasi


bara o kaku hana wa yasuku ha wa kataki

The flowers are easy to paint,
The leaves difficult.

Masaoka Shiki
trans. Blyth

kabocha yori nasu muzukashiki shasei kana

Sketching from life--
eggplants are harder to do
than pumpkins

Masaoka Shiki
trans. Burton Watson

asagao ya ware ni shasei no kokoro ari

morning glories -
my heart yearns for
sketching your image

Masaoka Shiki
Tr. Gabi Greve


More to be added.


***** BACK TO
Haiku Theory ARCHIVES, Gabi Greve





Anonymous said...

There are those, of course, who harbored a different view of shasei than the one held by Shiki. For example, Saito Mokichi (1882 - 1953), once wrote: "Shasei means depicting life by empathizing with real objects."
He later expanded on his definition of shasei, writing:
"For us, shasei is not a means, a technique, or a process, it is totality."

Writes Donald Keene in his text, Dawn to The West, "He believed that the tanka was by nature lyrical, and that it should express the poet's feeling; it might happen, then, that the poet would not need to depend on external objects to express his inner feelings. However, if the poet turned to external objects, he must penetrate their essence, not merely decorate his own feelings by mentioning flowers and birds.

I lie beside my mother
Who is close to death---
Piercing cries
Of frogs in distant fields
Echo from Heaven

Saito Mokichi
translated by Donald Keene


Anonymous said...

Quote from the NOBO list

Shasei is not nor ever has been a theory. It is a method of approach which does not preclude nor exclude the possibility of other aproaches. Automatic seeing perhaps, as compared to automatic writing.

"Shasei theory" is a phrase that makes as much sense as calling a left-handers approach "left-hand" theory. I think that it would be relatively unusual for a writer not to use one or the other hand or both, as well as not to use the senses he has.

To wonder when Shiki decided to use shasei theory is to wonder when he first started to use his sense of smell or sight.


Anonymous said...

The principles of true art is not to portray,
but to evoke.

Jerzy Kosinski

Anonymous said...

tooyama ni hi no ataritaru kareno kana

Takahama Kyoshi 高浜虚子

the mountains afar
lit by sunshine -
and withered fields

Written on November 25, 1900 at Kyoshi-An

Stepping out of his home, he could see the Shikoku mountains behind Dogo Hot Spring in Matsuyama Town. When the last sunshine hit these mountains, he felt some sort of comfort and security in his life. This is all he wanted to express in this haiku.

He did not want interpret this haiku as a talk about the change of seasons, the change of the human heart or anything personalized in this haiku, as his son tried to interpret it.

"No need to interpret it in the lines of "jinsei kan", an outlook of human life, or a generalization about the human condition. If you do that, it will only be "tsukinami", a mediocre haiku.
I only wrote about what was in front of my eyes!"

anonymous said...

Suspending Judgment
Brenda Anderson

Suspending Judgment is the gateway skill of the Power Zone. This choice will help get you out of the Fear Zone, where you most likely ended up after making some sort of negative judgment. Suspending Judgment opens up other possibilities and saves you a huge amount of upset and stress. . . . No matter how dire a situation appears, if you resist the urge to attach too quickly to a position, you allow for the possibility that it might not be so bad and that perhaps even good things may result.


The Old Way of Doing

Life as usual for most of us includes opinions about those we encounter and interpretations of events that stay fixed in our minds. When you make a judgment, you unconsciously set into motion a certain chain of events.