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<   2010年 11月 ( 6 )   > この月の画像一覧

Winter Orange and Pear

Yesterday I found myself totally mixing up the calligraphy lines and
the tanka syllables, for the calligraphy lines never match with 5-7-5-7-7
syllable nodes. Here is my tanka I composed about this;

the counting of the tanka syllables
totally wrong and mixed up
winter orange has no place to come out
at grandpa's bedside

In calligraphy you have winter orange and pear, as well as guld and
shore in all Chinese characters:


What is "winter oragne"?

This is too big and probably not that tasty when put on buckwheet
noodle or ordinary noodle. Yesterday I brought this big winter orange
to Grandpa's to show him, but forgot about it, for we had been too
absorbed in talking about his tanka and also mine as well.

This is my first tanka.

This is about tea blossoms.

tea blossoms
you bloom in absence of your master
in the stillnes of evening
which suddenly runs into the night

The calligraphy:
お茶の花 主なしと茂

In the conventional fonts:
お茶の花 主なしとも
by ars_maki | 2010-11-25 21:05 | 読書
This is going to be the last Medieval Japanese poem
I'm going to show you in order that how poem and
calligraphy interactively work.



how to read

    鳴く 山       

night fallingi guessed, no!

it is dawining
on the summer morning
althrough the night sings
the mountain little cockoo

I'd like you to take a look at the calligraphy.

  なく 山

These three lines mean the singing mountain little cuckoo.
The levels of the lines are to match with the altitudes of
the three entities; the mountain tree and the bird so that
one could picture the bird flying to a tree in the mountain.

My nephew's grandpa says this is not that extraordinary.
by ars_maki | 2010-11-25 01:18 | 読書

So mixed up!?

Yesterday I went to see my nephew's grandpa.
While telling him about the irregular syllables---that was
what I thought yesterday---I saw that I had mixed up
the calligraphy lines and the syllables of the poem--which
has made me realize that the syllables are just alright
and my mind was not working.

Sorry, I've mixed up the calligraphy lines and
the syllables of the poem.

The 5-7-5-7-7 syllables, to be articulated are:
the first 5 syllables 遊ふ散礼波the first 7 syllables 散保乃可
良乃 the second 5 syllables 可者き里耳the second 7 syllablesと
裳末と波世留 the last 7syllables 千とり
by ars_maki | 2010-11-25 01:04
Hideo Komatsu is a scholar of Japanese classocs.
I've read one of his books The Closer Reading of the Medieval
Japanese poems
, published by the Kasam Shyoin, in 2008.
His text criticism is drastic and worth taking a good consideration,
which I'd like to show here.

He has two poems to demonstrate his text reading and criticism.
The one if Turayuki Kino's famous poem.
I've done a calligraphy trying to copy the poet's own writing in
Indian ink. Here it is.

twilight moon in the chilly sky
Mt Ogura in dusky fog
only the deer crying tells me
today is the last day of autumn

Turayuki Kino from the Kokinwakashyu

Turayuki Kino (c. 868- c 945) was one of the 36 great poets.
He compiled the Kokinwakashyu and also wrote the Tosa Diary.
The calligraphy reads:

遊ふつくよ をくら

Hideo Komatsu demonstrates how writing with brush could
orient us the readers of this poem to the subtle nuances the
poet intended. The first letter "遊”, literally to play or hang aroud,
signifying 夕actually, looks rather round, which might suggest the
shape of the moon floating in the dusky fog. The Indian ink looks
outstanding in the words and letters, firstly in "をくら/Mt Ogura"
referring to the mountain in Sagano, Kyoto; not only because
this is the proper noun, but also the black ink is to differentiate
Mt. Ogura from "をくらの山/ogura no yama" or a mountain in a little dusk."
However, it is pretty obvious from the context that these three letters
should cover the both meanings.
[ In calligraphy they did not differentiate "く"and "ぐ"; you have to
stop the brush when you have to put the two dots for the latter].
The contrasting size of the letters in "こゑの" (in the crying of the deer)
is remarkable. It should suggest the volume of the deer crying,
not loud at all, rather faint but still distinctive; "の” is pretty large,
suggesting the poet can see and tell this is the last day of autumn
"in the sound of the deer crying."
Thus, the calligraphy tries to convey the delicate nuances visually.
Too bad that my poor calligraphy could not do justice to the subtleties.

The second poem is Tomonori Kino's.

on the bank of River Saho
evening dusk is falling
a plover strayed from his flock
his crying pierces the air

The poet is an older cousin of Turayuki Kino,
who compiled the Kokinwakashyu and wrote
the Tosa Diary.

This is one of the irregular syllable construction.
...or is a good example for us to know that
it does not have to be 5-7-5-7-7, with brush and
Indian ink.


This poem has 31 syllables, including the one missing syllable.
However, the way it is made of looks rather bizarre;
pretty irregular in the way it consists of the 31 sylables,
since it is formed 5-4-8-7-7 syllables, since the last syllabe
of the first line must be bridged with the frist syllable of
the second line; the last syllable of the second line is to be
bridged with the first syllable of the thrid line.
This makes the reading of this poem challenging
when you read it for the first time.

You might wonder why the plover gets strayed
from his flock. Hideo Komatsu says we should pay
attention to the first Chinese character 遊 denoting
hanging around; the size and the outlook of this kanji
or Chinese letter is relaxed and free. T...he same 遊 character,
in the other poem about Mt Ogura/ the dusky mountain,
looks formed in circle suggesting the moon shape.
This text reading and criticism is drastic, for the sudy of the Medieval
Japanese poems has been done as if each of these letters of this poem
was given the same amount of meaning and value.
by ars_maki | 2010-11-24 02:29 | 読書

Haiku in Calligraphy

As I mentioned earlier, I've been studying the Japanese Medieval poems
as well as the Tale of Genji. I've come to realize that what I learned
at school has to be examined, for example, Shiki denounced the Kokin-
wakashyu and praised the Manyoshyu, but I wonder what's behind this,
or if it is still to be justified or not.

When I started writing haiku in English, I sensed the strong want of rich
poetry resources. I could do nothing but try to look into what they used to
have back in old days before Shiki, before Bashyo. People talk about yugen,
but it has to be recaptured within our own perception not something beyond
our reasonable understanding. To do this I have to read the Japanese
Medieval poems.

I've come across an ice-breaking book. The Closer Reading of the Japanese
Classics, published by the Kasama Shyoin.
Hideo Komatsu published the book in 2008 and it is a must to those who
are concerned not only with the classic Japanese poetry but also with
modern haiku.
Komatsu suggests we should need to have a direct access to the old
documents that have recorded how they used to write with brush and in
Indian ink.
He demonstrates how in those days poets could be specific to subtle
nuances by orienting his or her readers to his or her work.
Komatsu shows how masterful they could be.
They were to use entendre by simply writing in hiragana; they
could use Chinese letters to denote and even give hints to their
readers' inquiries. Brush could be handy to let readers pay attention
to the size of letters or what shapes or forms brush rendered them.

I've hit the jackpot and here I am to show you what we can do with
the very basic ideas Komatsu demonstrates in his book.
For my demonstration I've chosen two haiku works.

Firstly I'd like to introduce Gene Myers' haiku.
He is a versatile journalist, writing weekly newspaper column;
he has been writing poems and they have been published with credits.
He has his own haiku site that might interest you too.

Gene Myers brought us two of his haiku:

throwing a rock
at the lake:
night with too many stars

throwing a rock
across the lake:
night with too many stars

and asked us which would work better. We had a livly discussion,
for each of us have different tastes and modes.
I voted for the second haiku, but the majority went to the first one.
Some said using gerund was not that recommending, but I loved and
still love using gerund forms, for it offers me something dynamic.
The reason they did not vote for the second haiku was it sounded
like you expect a rock reaching the other side of the lake, but how
could you be so sure to manage this, if the lake's circumference was huge?
Right! The less unclear is the better it could be as gem.
However, these two versions, with different prepositons, run into
the same haiku if they are put into Japanese!?

湖に 飛び石すれば 星数多

飛び石 is stepping stone(s) and categorized in gardening architecture,
while skipping stone is called "mi-zu-ki-ri." Using the gardening
architecture term, however, should work in poetry.
For the second line implying to have skipping stone i.e."if a stone is
thrown for skipping," I used "wave" to match "if."
This is, however, just a coincidence, for in the Medieval days they
used 波 the letter wave for the sound of "ha" or "ba."
For the third line of "too many stars" I used the skies or heaven
to cover "ama" in the syllable of "ama-ta" or many.



Here goes the calligraphy on shikishi--square piece of thick paper
for writing poem or drawing or painting a picture on it--and
tanzaku--oblong thick paper for writing poem.

Terri Hale French contributed to our discussion by bringing up with
her own haiku.
She is a prize winning haiku poet, which you can see in this haiku.

starry night--
one stone skimmed
across the lake

I put her haiku into Japanese before I have tried in on shikishi and tanzaku.




It was a surprise to find the Chinese letter 空 denoting sky/heaven as well as emptiness. This matches the haiku, doesn't it?
by ars_maki | 2010-11-22 23:44 | 翻訳

yesterday once more ?

have been collecting the tanka my nephew's grandfather wrote
today we talked about how those Medieval poets wrote their tanka
the grandpa said his poems were childish compared with them
told him that was what they had been up to, feeling he was right
not only tanka but almost all haiku pieces would be blown off
if they were to be juxtaposed with them one after another
with all good efforts trying to save the latter by different canons
by ars_maki | 2010-11-18 20:34