Basho, The Chief Poet of Japan and the Hokku, or Epigram Verses
By: Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)
During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest master of haiku (then called hokku). He is quoted as saying, “Many of my followers can write hokku as well as I can. Where I show who I really am is in linking haikai verses.” This short anthology of haiku by Bashō and his pupils features poetry in their original Japanese, with translations and commentary in English by Basil Hall Chamberlain, a professor of Japanese at Tokyo Imperial University.