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Haiku Classic: Dec. 6, 2015

ningenwa kudayorinareri himijika

    --

    human beings

    are made of tracts

    days getting shorter

    --

    Tenkou Kawasaki (1927-2009)

    Translated and commented on by Isamu Hashimoto

    The author is one of the best contemporary haiku writers, and furthermore a researcher on Kyoshi Takahama (1874-1959), the modern haiku monarch. He had two phases of living in this floating world. Quite often, he got drunk heavily, like a decadent, at a democratic watering hole called "Bolga" in Shinjuku, central Tokyo. As a professor at Meiji University, he was a sober gentleman taking good care of his health -- cherishing the "one hundred bones and nine holes" of his body. Nevertheless, in his last few years, he remained in hospital. His farewell haiku epitaph was engraved in Kanazawa, northern Japan: "tiny floating whites / in the early winter air / might have heart and mind" (tr. by IH)

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