Kobayashi Issa

Biography of Kobayashi Issa (1763 – 1828)

Kobayashi Issa
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
Parentless sparrow

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.

Poems By Kobayashi Issa


In these latter-day (No Comments »)

The Essential Haiku

A bath when you’re born (No Comments »)
A cuckoo sings (No Comments »)
A huge frog and I (No Comments »)
All the time I pray to Buddha (No Comments »)
Asked how old he was (No Comments »)
Blossoms at night (No Comments »)
Children imitating cormorants (No Comments »)
Don’t know about the people (No Comments »)
Don’t worry, spiders (No Comments »)
Ducks bobbing on the water (No Comments »)
Even on the smallest islands (No Comments »)
Even with insects (No Comments »)
Face of the spring moon (No Comments »)
Having slept, the cat gets up (No Comments »)
Hey, sparrow! (No Comments »)
How much (No Comments »)
I’m going out (No Comments »)
In spring rain (No Comments »)
In the thicket’s shade (No Comments »)
In this world (No Comments »)
It once happened (No Comments »)
Last time, I think (No Comments »)
Napped half the day (No Comments »)
Napping at midday (No Comments »)
New Year’s Day (No Comments »)
New Year’s morning (No Comments »)
No doubt about it (No Comments »)
Not knowing (No Comments »)
Not very anxious (No Comments »)
Pissing in the snow (No Comments »)
Seen (No Comments »)
Summer night (No Comments »)
That pretty girl (No Comments »)
That wren (No Comments »)
The crow (No Comments »)
The man pulling radishes (No Comments »)
The moon tonight (No Comments »)
The pheasant cries (No Comments »)
The snow is melting (No Comments »)
The toad! It looks like (No Comments »)
These sea slugs (No Comments »)
This moth saw brightness (No Comments »)
Under my house (No Comments »)
Under the image of Buddha (No Comments »)
Visiting the graves (No Comments »)
What a strange thing (No Comments »)
Windy fall (No Comments »)
With my father (No Comments »)
Writing shit about new snow (No Comments »)