Temple Saimyo-Ji



Daruma Pilgrims Gallery


Temple Saimyo-Ji (Saimyooji) and Issa

in Kazahaya, Hojo City, Iyo no Kuni, Shikoku

CLICK for original LINK

turning my back
to the wood fire...
Saimyo Temple

hota no hi ni senaka muke keri Saimyooji

by Issa, 1819
Tr. David Lanoue

yattto tsukitaru konban no yado

at last arriving at
the inn tonight

© Haiga and Renku by Nakamura Sakuo


In the temple compound is an "Issa Walk" with four memorial stones.

eda orete nan to iu beki kuzu kazura

broken branches
what shall I say
arrowroot creepers

Tr. Nakamura Sakuo .. with an explanation

After leaving temple Saimyo-Ji he wandered toward the capital town of Matsuyama.

門前や 何万石の 遠がすみ
monzen ya nanmangoku no toogasumi

finally Matsuyama !
the far away haze
of a thriving town

(this is a rather free translation)


"Issa Walk" in Kazahaya 風早一茶の道

In his 30s, Issa spent some seven years on the road in Shikoku, Kyushu and Western Japan. In February 1819, at age 33, he was in Iyo, now the area around Matsuyama in Shikoku, in the town of Hojo 北条市, trying to visit his haiku friend by the name of Gekka-An Sarai 月下庵茶来, who was headpriest at this Zen temple in the 11th generation.

But when Issa arrived at the temple, he was told that the headpriest Sarai had died many years ago in 1789. Issa had walked more than 900 miles to meet him in vain. He could not even stay at the temple over night, however, because most of the temple had been burned down by a recent fire, and the new headpriest refused him to stay. Issa was quite sad about these events. But it seems he found shelter for the night in the home of a nearby villager, who was also a haiku poet.

Now the temple is rebuilt and has a stone monoment in honor of Issa with the following haiku, which reflects the state of Issa's mind on hearing on the death of the friend and the burnt-down temple.

obroro oboro fumeba mizu nari mayoimichi

hazy hazy night -
I step into a puddle,
lost on my way

The memorial was built in memory of the 170th year of his visit in 1964.

Click for enlargement
Stone Memorial of Issa at Temple Saimyo-Ji


Being driven from the temple Saimyo-Ji, Issa went looking for another haiku friend to stay. He walked down the slope for about 100 meters and found the home of Takahashi Gosei 高橋五井(ごせい), where he wrote the following haiku

tsuki oboro yoki monsaguri ataru zo

hazy moonlight -
looking for a gate (: place to stay over night)
I find a nice one

Other haiku by Issa, written in the town of Hojo, now on stone memorials in the temple compound:

「雀の子 そこのけそこのけ 御馬が通る」
suzume no ko soko noke soko noke uma ga tooru

little sparrow!
out of the way, out of the way!
the honorable horse is passing

「やれ打つな 蝿が手をすり 足をする」
yare utsu na hae ga te o suri ashi o suru

hey, don't swat!
a fly wrings its hands
wrings his feet

「痩がへる まけるな一茶 是に有り」
yasegaeru makeru na issa kore ni ari

come on, little frog!
don't loose this battel!
Issa is right here!

and here is a haiku by Sarai

asagao ya irinokoritaru hoshi hitotsu



External LINKS

Dogo Park
Matsuyama Memorial Stone of Issa

Matsuyama Memorial Stone of Issa


all translations on this page by Gabi Greve, unless stated otherwise


Issa also stayed at temple Sennen-Ji in Shikoku 専念寺, close to Kannonji town.

Kobayashi Issa (June 15, 1763 - January 5, 1828)

Daruma Pilgrims in Japan



haiku-shelf (Angelika Wienert) said...

very interesting, Gabi!

thank you, that you told about it at the WHC-German-group

best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting, Angelika!
I hope to visit the temple this year, it is about 4 hours from my home by car, across the big bridge to Shikoku.
When I imagine Old Issa walking all the way from Edo to see his friend there ...


Anonymous said...

burned temple
the prayers now scattered
with the ash

Temples are places of meditation, and when one burns down you still hope that the significance it held for some people will linger.

burned house
the grass still remembers
to grow there

Ella Wagemakers

Unknown said...

Thank you Gabi san for your nice edition.
All elements are well arranged.
It became a good guide to Matuyama where I am longing to visit.