Santoka, Sake - Ozaki

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Santoka and Sake

Taneda Santooka 種田山頭火 Taneda Santoka

(明治15年)12月3日 - 1940年(昭和15年)10 月11日

a haiku nonconformist who cast aside all the rules including the 5-7-5 syllable structure, is also associated with Matsuyama. Santoka, an ordained Zen priest, after spending most of his life wandering all over the country as a begging monk, chose to settle in Matsuyama only to die 10 months later. The humble cottage where he dwelt --
Isso-an (A Blade of Grass Hermitage) is preserved north of Ehime University.

His books and documents are also preserved in Shiki Memorial Museum.
Read more about Santoka and his Life here:
Terebess Asia Online (TAO): Santoka

Westerners like to conquer mountains;
Orientals like to contemplate them.
As for me, I like to taste the mountains.


Santoka Memorial Day, Santooka ki 山頭火忌
kigo for late autumn. October 11

Santoka :: Grass and Tree Cairn
tr. Hiroaki Sato
100 pages to read
source : thehaikufoundation.org

Woodblock print by Priest Inagaki Shodo.


Collection compiled by Larry Bole, September 2006.

Santoka had a troubled relationship with alcohol.

As early as a 1918 haiku, he considers the subject (no Japanese text available):

the sound of swallowing sake
seems very lonely

tr. Stephen Addiss
("The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Masters," Audrey Yoshiko Seo, catalog of the exhibit.)

Some other haiku Santoka wrote about sake and drinking, all translated by Burton Watson:

yoote koorogi to nete ita yo

so drunk
I slept
with the crickets!

ippai yaritai yuuyake-zora

a drink
would be nice now
sunset sky

yoeba iro-iro no koe ga kikoeru fuyuame

get drunk
you hear all sorts of voices
winter rain

yoi yado de dochira mo yama de mae wa sakaya de

nice inn
mountains all around
sake store in front

futo yoizame no kao go aru baketsu no mizu

that hungover face
bucket water

yoizame no hana koboreru koboreru

and blossoms
scattering scattering

aru dake no sake o tabe kaze o kiki

finish the last
of the sake
hear the wind

midori yoeba iyo-iyo midori

drunk and it gets
even greener

hiza ni sake no koboruru ni aitoo naru

sake slopping over
on our knees
wish we were together

And here are a few comments by Santoka from his diaries (translations by Burton Watson):

June 16, 1932
For the first time in five days, I had a drink of sake. It didn't taste very good, which makes me feel happy, and also rather depressed.
Anyway, there's no doubt that clearing up the problem of sake is the first step in clearing up the problem of myself.

July 20, 1932
People view all things, all events in terms of what they value in life, with that as their standard. I look at everything through the eyes of sake. Gazing far off at a mountain, I think how I'd like a little drink; I see some nice vegetables and think how well they'd go with the sake. If I had such-and-such sum, I could polish off a flask; if I had this much, I could buy a bottle.
You may laugh, but that's just the way I am--nothing I can do about it.

August 28, 1940
[written a little over six weeks before his death]
Sake is my koan. If I could understand sake--if I could learn the true way to enjoy sake, it would be my awakening, my breakthrough!

Compiled by Larry Bole


From John Stevens' introduction to his book,
"Mountain Tasting: Zen Haiku by Santoka Taneda"

"Sake was Santoka's koan.
He said that 'to comprehend the true taste of sake will give me satori.' He attempted to completely efface himself through drinking, a practice not unknown among certain types of Zen monks. ...

'When I drink sake I do so with all my heart.
I throw myself recklessly into sake drinking.'

"There is no point in romanticizing Santoka's alcoholism, however. He himself struggled with this problem for many years and never solved his greatest koan. On several occasions he was even arrested for public drunkeness and vagrancy. ...

"Santoka admitted that he could do only three things well: walk, drink sake, and make haiku. Sake and haiku were almost identical:

'Sake for the body, haiku for the heart;
Sake is the haiku of the body,
Haiku is the sake of the heart.'

Following are some of Stevens' translations of Santoka's haiku (with some overlap with Burton Watson's translations posted previously):

horohoro yoote ko no ha furu

Slightly tipsy;
The leaves fall
One by one.

[Santoka may be sober here, and it's just the leaves that seem tipsy to him]

ippai yaritai yuuyaki-zora

The sky at sunset--
A cup of sake
Would taste so good!

hitori shoogatsu no mochi mo sake mo ari soshite

Alone on New Year's Day--
There is mochi and sake

ama no kawa mayonaka no yoidore wa odoru

Beneath the River of Heaven
The drunkard dances all night.

sake ga yamerarenai ki no me kusa no me

I can't give up sake;
The budding trees,
The budding grasses.

taberu mono wa atte you mono mo atte zassoo no ame

I've something to eat
And something to make me drunk;
Rain in the weeds.

sake wa nai tsuki shimijimi mite ori

No sake;
I stare at the moon.

yoote koorogi to nete ita yo

Drunk, I slept
With the crickets.

yoi yado de dochira mo yama de mae wa sakaya de

What a splendid inn!
Mountains in both directions
And a sake shop in front.

boro utte sake koote samishiku mo aru ka

If I sell my rags
And buy some sake
Will there still be loneliness?

Compiled by Larry Bole

ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

Here is an anecdote about Santoka and a dog with a rice cake, from John Stevens' book "Mountain Tasting: Zen Haiku by Santoka Taneda:"

Santoka was used to sharing anything he had. One night, as Santoka prepared for another dinnerless evening, a large dog came to his door carrying a big rice cake in its mouth [perhaps a descendant of a rice cake-stealing dog that Issa wrote about?]. Santoka had no idea where the dog or the rice cake had come from.
He took the rice cake, split it in two and gave half to the dog, who then ran off into the darkness.
As soon as the dog was gone a little cat came up to Santoka and begged for some of the rice cake. Santoka split it again.

aki no yo ya inu kara morattari neko ni ataetari

Autumn night--
I received it from the dog
And gave it to the cat.

Compiled by Larry Bole

hitogoe natsukashigaru neko to ori

I stay with a cat
which craves to hear
words from us humans  

ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

音は 時雨 か
oto wa shigure ka

the sound, oh,
it's sleet !

(Tr. Gabi Greve)
Winter Drizzle (shigure)
Discussing Santoka's Haiku

Some Santoka Sake Haiku in French


haiku about water

Santoka in Kumamoto

. konna ni umai mizu ga afurete iru
such delicious water is overflowing here .

Such delicious water
Overflows from the spring.

kyoo no ohiru wa mizu bakari

Today's lunch:
Only water.

taberu mono ga nakereba nai de suzushii mizu

There's still something to eat:
The cool water.

Tr. John Stevens


. . . . . 炎天
. Blazing Sky (enten) haiku by Santoka


CLICK for original LINK


yama areba yama o miru
ame no hi wa ame o kiku

when there are mountians, I look at mountains
when there is a rainy day, I listen to the rain

Tr. Gabi Greve


Plowing the field,
one hears a song

Haiga by Michael Daniel Hofmann
calligraphy by Jikihara Gyokusei
Translation by James Green & Hisashi Miura

- shared by Michael Daniel Hofmann - FB


More about the Life of Taneda Santooka 

Santoka <>The master for all of us wandering pilgrims.

Santoka, "shinjin datsuraku" and the Begging Bowl


About Taneda Santoka and his Somokuto 草木塔

CLICK for original ... blog.goo.ne.jp

yuri sakeba o-Jizoo sama ni mo yuri no hana

when the lilies blossom
even Jizo Bosatsu
gets some lilies


yama no shizukasa e shizuka naru ame

on the stillness of the mountain
the stillness of rain

Santoka at temple Eihei-Ji 永平寺

Tr. Gabi Greve
MOUNTAIN, could also be translated "monastery, temple".

Great Zen-Temple in the cold mountains of Gifu
Eihei-Ji Temple 永平寺

The mountain stillness
Makes the rain still.

Tr. John Stevens

over the mountain’s silence
silent rain

Tr. Burton Watson

By way of interpretation after a stormy night in July 2009, I am tempted to interpret this

tera no shizukasa e shizuka naru kokoro

in the quietude of this mountain temple
my heart (mind, soul) becomes quiet

Gabi Greve


歩き続ける 彼岸花 咲き続ける 
aruki-tsuzukeru higanbana saki-tsuzukeru

I keep walking
the spider lilies
keep blooming  

. Spider Lilies (higanbana彼岸花, manjushage) .  

- - - - -

yoote nemu nadeshiko sakeru ishi no ue

I'd like enough drinks
to put me to sleep--on stones
covered with pinks.

Tr. Harold Henderson

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


Contributions by other Haiku Poets

so drunk
the tick that bit me

[2003, true story]

AA meeting
in the far corner
a cricket

Friday 9/14/06, local AA's, The Broken Bottle Club, Vineland, NJ.

Gene Murtha


palm wine sloshes
in my calabash -
sandals wearing thin

The delicious, milky-white drink is made by tapping the sap of the palm-oil tree, then allowing it to spontaneously ferment for several hours. It is sweet and lightly alcoholic. It is also hugely refreshing, and probably the nicest drink I've ever enjoyed!

Norman Darlington, written in Togo (West Africa)


窓あけて 窓いっぱいの春
mado akete mado ippai no haru

opening the window
a window full
of spring

Old Scroll by Ando san, Photo from Ishino

Details about this haiku are HERE !


. 生死の中の雪ふりしきる
seishi no naka no yuki furishikiru .

"To resolve life and to resolve death
are the most important Karma for a Buddhist"
- Shushogi (修証義).


during the war at 街頭所見 - (thinking of Nagasaki)

tsuki no akarusa wa doko o bakugeki shiteiru koto ka

the brightness of the moon
will it show where
the bombs are going to fall ?

Tr. Gabi Greve

another translation

Moon’s brightness I wonder where they’re bombing

source : Montage #20 THF Blog


Kiefernwind und Grüne Berge
Der Wanderdichter Santōka und das Freie Haiku

aus dem Japanischen übersetzt und erläutert
von Robert F. Wittkamp
mit Kalligraphien von Mineko Sasaki-Stange und
Tuschemalereien von Mira Wallraven Ono

Etwas im Wasser
lässt selbst die Wolkenschatten
keine Ruhe finden

ISBN 978-3-932185-12-0
source : www.verlag-ganzheitlich-leben.de


The Santoka: versions by Scott Watson

source : www.imcbook.net/poietikos

Walking by My Self Again - Taneda Santoka -
Versions by Scott Watson

Taneda Santoka (1882-1940) is a free style haikuist, which means he shed the various rules governing traditional or mainstream haiku composition. He is from Houfu in Yamaguchi Prefecture and is also connected with Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku, which is where he died. Santoka spent much of his adult life living in humble cottages or wandering the land as a mendicant Zen priest, composing haiku poems through each, as each, instance. Matsuyama is where he settled in a cottage he called Isso-an (A Blade of Grass Hermitage), dying there not long after. Scott Watson's versions seek to produce the sense that Santoka intended but not word for word translation.
- source : www.amazon.com

Walking By Myself Again: Santoka,
translated by Scott Watson
- source : lilliputreview.blogspot.jp -Issa's Untidy Hut
- source : www.mountainsandriverspress.org

Scott also shared this information
- on facebook in 2013 -

Santoka went into the sake brewing business with his father.
The business failed but the rights were purchased by another family and the brewery continues. They make a brand called Santoka. It is in Hofu, in Yamaguchi Pref. Which is Santoka's home town.

- source : yadolog/omiyage

Related words

***** WKD : Ricewine (sake) and related KIGO

***** WKD : Matsuyama and the Shiki Memorial Museum

. Ozaki Hoosai 尾崎 放哉 Ozaki Hosai .
- and Sumitaku Kenshin  住宅顕信


. . . . . BACK TO

Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 

Memorial Days of Famous People ..... SAIJIKI

- #santoka #santooka #taneda #sake -


Anonymous said...


chris e.

Gabi Greve said...

Hi Gabi

I found your listing of kigo related to sake fascinating.

As brewing is something of a hobby of mine, I have been tempted to try and make sake at home for years (even got koji once), but never got to do it.

Thanks for posting - it is extgrememly interesting!

Best wishes


Good luck with your home made sake!


Anonymous said...

Hi Gabi
Santoka is indeed well-known for his booze-ku. Your extensive list of various sake-related kigo is quite fascinating:


Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Santoka did not think of yesterday or of tomorrow, but lived each today as it came on him.

In Zen every single breath is appreciated to the full.
Santoka gave full justice to each breath, each moment, each day, as if it was his last.

Each step, each movement, each haiku formed a consummate whole in his life.


Anonymous said...

anonymous comments
I drink a glass of vodka
and give them names

Vodka and gin are Ellasan's favourite drinks, although she kicked the habit 26 years ago.

with drink
I was lonely
now I'm lonelier

Somehow, Santoka's drinking ku remind me of an acquaintance of ours in Manila who likes to smoke hash. He is a writer, too, and a columnist, and if you scrutinize some of his works, you may conclude that he was under the influence when he wrote them.

hazy morning
the night and I
turn in together

two glasses of sake
suddenly I'm not
such bad company

an empty glass
the morning full
like an insect swamp

The drink and loneliness are familiar, Gabi san. Now, only the loneliness is left ... but a very conscious one.

Suddenly wondering how my haiku would sound in Japanese.

late night
always with the last
haiku verse

Ella Wagemakers

Anonymous said...

Santoka's book For All My Walking finally arrived yesterday ... that was a quick order! I have to say, reading Santoka to the music of Liquid Mind is a potent combination. His alcohol poems are awesome enough. His poems on loneliness go down to the bone. Here are some of them:

nothing else
but to die
mountains misted over

long day
going from house to house
nobody home

sound of waves
far off close by
how much longer to live

crossing the mountaint -
another mountain

in the wind
walking alone
blaming myself

no desire to die
no desire to live
the wind blows over me

even in
my iron begging bowl

front, back
weight of baggage
I can't throw off

sleep on the ground
sooner or later
peaceful as a clod of dirt

The sincerity of his verses is what strikes me the most. He did't write haiku; rather, he lived it. Some of mine in response:

all my mountains
tireless wind

as I walk to the sea
I fill with water

on the path
only the autumn moon
and my sandals

no hope
of finding my mother
a lie I like to tell

the house
that knew my childhood
I have burned it

on the road
talking to myself
a poplar tree listens

my bed
at the edge of moonlight
no dreams come

© Ella Wagemakers

Gabi Greve said...

Thanks for adding more haiku by Santoka, dear Ella san!


anonymous said...

shiroku shiroku dokomademo ai yori fukaku inotteru

white so white my prayer deeper than love
種田スガル Sugaru Taneda

from “Chô-Shinsen 21” , (“Super New Selection 21,” an anthology of the haiku poets under 50-year-olds) edited by Bansei Tsukushi, Yasuko Tsushima, Leona Takayama, You-shorin, Nagano, Japan, December 2010

Fay’s Note: According to the bio and the editor’s note, she was born in 1986 and started writing haiku in 2010 right after she read “Shinsen 21,” a haiku anthology under 40 years.
She chose ‘Taneda” for her haiku name because Santoka Taneda is a brother of a grandmother of her grandparents. This is free-style, non 5-7-5 format.

Tr. and Comment
Fay Aoyagi

info said...

ドロップアウター 山頭火

poems and illustrations by
shoashima (sorasima) san


Gabi Greve said...

BIWA lute concert in memory of Santoka


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Oita, Kyushu
Yufuin (由布院 as onsen resort, 湯布院 as city)

Yunohira Hot Springs (湯平温泉):

It has long been said that these springs are effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders. The nearby stone-paved road, built during the Edo period, suits the atmosphere of the Yunohira Hot Springs, with their history as therapeutic baths.
The Haiku Poet Santoka spent some time here.
MORE about Yufuin

Gabi Greve said...

Larry Bole of facebook
Circa 1998, I saw an exhibit titled, "The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Masters" at the Japan Society in New York City. The exhibit, which also traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, included calligraphy and artifacts of Santoka. I saw a 'kasa' worn by Santoka, and a walking stick used by him.
The catalog reproduces three examples of Santoka's calligraphy that appeared in the exhibit -- three of his haiku in his own hand.

hitori hissori take no ko take ni naru
Alone, silently, / the bamboo shoot / becomes a bamboo
(trans. Stephen Addiss, Ink on decorated paper, Shooka Collection);

enten hateshinaki kaze fuku
Endless scorching sun -- / the wind blows
(trans. Addiss, Ink on decorated paper, Private Collection);

kane ga nai mono ga nai ha ga nai hitori
No money / no things / no teeth / just me
(trans. Addiss, Ink on paper, Chikusei Collection).

Gabi Greve said...

Kumamoto Mitori Kannon 味取観音
The wandering priest 種田山頭火 Taneda Santoka stayed here for some time.
Mitori, the postal station in the Edo period, flourished with tea stalls during Sankin Kotai.