Biography of Kobayashi Issa (1763 – 1828)
Kobayashi Issa (June 15, 1763 – January 5, 1828) was a Japanese haiku poet. He was born with the name Kobayashi Nobuyuki (and also known as Yataro) in Kashiwabara, Shinano province (present-day Shinanomachi, Nagano prefecture). Leaving behind a troubled family, wherein his farmer father was widowed and remarried unhappily, he studied the art of haiku under Mizoguchi Sogan and Norokuan Chikua at the Katsushika poetry school in present-day Tokyo. He eventually gained patronage from Seibi Natsume.
Despite a multitude of personal trials, his poetry reflected a subjective and childlike simplicity, making liberal use of local dialects and conversational phrases:
In the depths of the lake
A peak of cloud.
Come with me and play
Under the pen name of Issa, Kobayashi wrote over 20,000 confessional and observational poems that still console generations of readers today. Though his haiku were very popular, he suffered great monetary instability. His most famous works are Chichi No Shuen Nikki (1801, tr. The Diary at My Father’s Death), and Oragaharu (1819, tr. The Year of My Life)
According to the Western Calendar, Issa died on January 5, 1828 in his native village of Kashiwabara, Shinano Province (present-day Nagano Prefecture).
According to the old Japanese calendar, he died on the 19th day of Eleventh Month, Tenth Year of the Bunsei Era. Since the Tenth Year of Bunsei roughly corresponds with 1827, many sources list this as his year of death.
Biography By: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Kobayashi Issa.