Willow (yanagi) and Ippen


Willow (yanagi)

***** Location: Japan, other areas
***** Season: Spring, see below
***** Category: Plant


Li Ch'ing-Chao, a famous Chinese poet, has this to say about the pussy willows:

Warm rain and soft breeze by turns
Have just broken
And driven away the chill.
Moist as the pussy willows,
Light as the plum blossoms,
Already I feel the heart of Spring vibrating.
© Bopsecrets

Su Tung-p’o, the famous poet of the T'ang period, writes about the beauty of the green leaves on the willow branches in spring:

yanagi wa midori, hana wa beni

Willows stand for things green,
flowers for things red.

© PHOTO Gabi Greve. Read more on this LINK.

The court at Kyoto during the Heian period also adored the willows and the cherry blossoms as harbingers of Spring.

Priest Saigyo, Saigyoo 西行法師 has this famous poem about the shade of a willow tree:


A stream by the path
With clear clear waters.
"In the willow's shade
I'll stay just for a while", I thought
but for long couldn't move away

Saigyo, poet and monk,(1118-1190)
For details, see below.

© Korin Ogata, 1658-1716
Artelino Gallery


Here are some kigo with the willow tree:

willow buds, yanagi no me 柳の芽
kigo for mid-spring

..... me yanagi 芽柳(めやなぎ)
budding willows, mebari yanagi 芽ばり柳(めばりやなぎ)

willow, yanagi 柳
kigo for late spring

yanagi no hana 柳の花(やなぎのはな)willow blossoms
..... ryuujo 柳絮 りゅうじょ
ryuujo tobu 柳絮飛ぶ(りゅうじょとぶ)willow blossoms scattering

hanging willows, shidare yanagi 枝垂柳(しだれやなぎ)
..... ito yanagi 糸柳(いとやなぎ),
green willows, ao yanagi 青柳(あおやなぎ)
willows along the river, kawabata yanagi 川端柳(かわばたやなぎ), kawazoi yanagi 川添柳(かわぞいやなぎ)
pussy willows, neko yanagi 猫柳

yanagi no ito 柳の糸(やなぎのいと) taoyanagi, 嬌柳(たおやなぎ)
This discribes the delicate branches of a hanging willow, with a beauty like a fair maiden.

willow without hanging branches, yooryuu 楊柳(ようりゅう)

willow at the corner, kado yanagi 門柳(かどやなぎ)
This is already a subject of poems in the Manyo'shu collection of poetry.

far away willows, too yanagi 遠柳(とおやなぎ)
shadow of the willows, yanagi kage 柳影(やなぎかげ)

Willow Festival, yanagi matsuri やなぎまつり 柳祭
Celebrating the willow trees along the famous Ginza in Tokyo. Pines and cherries had also been planted during the Meiji period, but the other trees all failed to survive. Even the willows were lost during the great fire in the Taisho period in 1923 after the earthquake.

willow branch hair decoration, yanagi no kazura

On the third day of the third month (hina matsuri), ladies would decorate the hair with willow branches in a wish for a long and healthy life. This custom came from T'ang China to Japan. Nowadays the shelf for the hina dolls is decorated with willow branches.

Doll Festival (hina matsuri) Japan Girl's Festival


kigo for early summer

hayanagi 葉柳 (はやなぎ) leaves of the willow
natsu yanagi 夏柳(なつやなぎ)willow in summer
yanagi shigeru 柳茂る(やなぎしげる)willow with plentiful leaves


kigo for mid-autumn

leaves of the willow are falling, yanagi chiru
柳散る, chiru yanagi 散る柳(ちるやなぎ)

willow leaves getting yellow, yanagi kibamu


kigo for the New Year

new year decoration with willow branches
kake yanagi 掛柳 (かけやなぎ)

..... yanagi kakeru 柳掛くる(やなぎかくる)
binding willow branches, musubi yanagi

Willow branches are hung out of a freshly cut bamboo vase in the tokonoma or over the hearth before making the first fire. The longer the branches hand down, the better. Sometimes even up to 5 meters long ! Long branches are also wound togehter to a ring, as a celebration to the sun gaining new strength for the coming year.

chopsticks made of willow wood, yanagi bashi

The whiteness of the wood was thought of as auspicious for celebrations. They are also used for wedding ceremonies and other auspicious family events.

Worldwide use


Weide, Weidenblüten, Weidenkätzchen

Heike Gewi, 2008

GERMAN Saijiki

Things found on the way

Willow Dolls (yanagi ningyo 柳人形)
Also called "Kamo Dolls (kamo ningyo 加茂人形)

Kamo dolls origininated at the Kamo Shrine in Kyoto in 1736-40 by Takahashi Tadashige, a ritual object craftsman at the shrine.
He is said to have made the first Kamo ningyo from leftover willow wood. Kamo ningyo are said to be the first to use the kimekomi technique of clothing decoration. The wood is carved in such a way to represent folds in the clothing;within the crevices, slits are made and the fabric is stretched over the wood and fitted into the slits. The fabric smoothly covers the surface of the wood and requires no adhesive of any kind to hold it in place.

The willow wood provides a nice pinkish color which resembles skin tones. Kamo ningyo are usually small size dolls and like daruma ningyo types which are ball shaped without any arms or legs. Their appearance is very playful and most figures represent everyday people doing everyday things. Miniature groupings are also seen.
True old Kamo dolls are rare although there are many Meiji Period dolls that look similar but lack the playful quality of the Edo pieces.
© The Yoshino Newsletter

© PHOTO B & C Antiques / at Trocadero

Click HERE to look at more of these dolls !

A few more LINKS on these dolls.


Sanjûsangendô Munagi no Yurai

The drama "Gion Nyogo Kokonoe Nishiki" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 12th lunar month of 1760 in Ôsaka at the Toyotakeza. This 5-act drama was about the legend of the willow tree that forms the long ridgepole of the hall of the Sanjusangendô Temple in Kyôto. It is famous for the work song that makes the willow tree move at the end.
The third act (the best one) became an independent play in the 7th lunar month of 1825, which was titled "Sanjûsangendô Munagi no Yurai".

On the occasion of an imperial hunt, a hunting falcon gets caught in the upper branches of a giant willow tree. They are about to cut down the tree to recover the falcon when a man named Heitarô deftly frees the falcon, rescuing both the bird and the tree. Some years later, Heitarô is living as a simple hunter together with his mother, his wife Oryû and their young son Midorimaru. Meanwhile, in the imperial palace, the retired emperor is suffering great headaches and a fortune teller has revealed that the roots of a willow tree are twisting around the skull of his former incarnation and says that the willow tree should be cut down and used to build a temple. As Heitarô and his family hear the sounds of the tree being cut down, Oryû suddenly collapses in agony.

In fact, she is the spirit of the willow tree that has taken human form and become Heitarô’s wife in gratitude for his saving the tree. She says farewell to her husband and son and disappears. As workers are pulling along the cut-down tree, suddenly it stops moving. Heitarô and his son appear and the tree does not move again until little Midorimaru sings a work song. At the sound of his tearful voice, the tree miraculously moves by itself.
source : www.kabuki21.com

. Sanjusangendo 三十三間堂 Hall with 33 Spaces - Legends .


. WKD : Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

furimukeba haya bijo suguru yanagi kana

turning 'round
just missing a pretty woman...
willow tree

source : Tr. David Lanoue

when I turn around
the beautiful woman's gone --
willow tree

This late lunar spring hokku is from Issa's Travels in the Western Provinces (Saigoku kikou 西国紀行) dated 3/27 (early May) in 1795, when Issa is 33. The haibun says it was written on the road as Issa walked from Osaka to the agricultural town of Hirano (just SE of Osaka), where he visited Dainenbutsuji Temple, at which there was a dramatic ceremony depicting Amida Buddha and 25 bodhisattvas coming down to escort a newly dead soul to the Pure Land. From there Issa went on and visited Fujii-dera, another temple.

The verb is vague, so it's possible to see the woman as having completely disappeared or as simply being hard to see, since she's already gone past a willow tree in the middle distance. The situation is probably a rural or semi-rural country road on the way to Hirano, and Issa's trip is made in order to visit a famous temple, so he doesn't seem to be cruising or preoccupied with staring at women. He apparently has passed a woman going the other way, and, come to think of it, he finds her very attractive, so a short time later he turns and looks back, expecting to see her -- and instead sees a willow tree. It's not clear whether the woman is partially visible beyond the tree or not. That's apparently not what Issa's writing about. The impression I get is that the hokku is about the shock of expecting to see a woman and instead seeing a willow, a shock which causes the willow and woman to momentarily strongly overlap or fuse in Issa's mind. There is no explicit indication that the willow is a hindrance or is annoying Issa by blocking his view.

The willow's importance may be mainly psychological. Perhaps Issa didn't realize how much time had gone by after he'd passed the woman because he was thinking or imagining things about her (or her image), and the willow and the absent woman are a kind of clock that converts space into time and shows Issa just how far he is from the tree and woman and thus how deeply he's been thinking or imagining things about the woman -- and perhaps this suggests shared karma. Perhaps Issa also feels a strong similarity between the image of the woman and the willow.

In Japanese willows are often associated with women: for example, "willow hair" is used for women with long straight hair, and "willow waist" means a slender woman. Willows are generally regarded as beautiful trees and also associated with borders, ghosts, dead souls, and the other world, so perhaps suddenly seeing a willow tree when he's expecting to see a woman makes Issa feel as if he could momentarily see the woman's soul. If so, this might almost be a scene from a noh play in which a local person suddenly reveals herself / himself to be a god or a dead soul.

Chris Drake


neru hima ni fui to sashite mo yanagi kana

asleep when
something's poking me --
a willow tree

Tr. Chris Drake

This spring hokku is from the 3rd month (April) of 1814, the month before Issa got married, when he was mainly staying at the houses of students and friends in towns not far from his hometown. Issa seems to have fallen asleep on the ground or perhaps on a porch, when suddenly (fui to) he's woken by what seems for a moment to be the poke of another person or animal. When he opens his eyes, however, he sees that a breeze was just pushing the end of a willow branch against his skin. Halfway between sleep and waking, he perhaps wonders if the willow could possibly be pointing something out.

Chris Drake


cha no kemuri yanagi to tomo ni soyogu nari

tea steam
and willow
sway together

Tr. Chris Drake

This spring hokku is in the collection published by Issa at New Year's in 1794, when he was traveling around to various parts of western and southwestern Japan. It doesn't seem to evoke a tea ceremony. Rather, people have been served green tea freshly made from tea leaves steeped in a teapot into which boiling water was poured. Right after being poured into teacups, the tea is quite hot and sends up wisps of steam, especially during cool or cold weather. It is still cool when willows put out their first new leaves, and the sliding doors of at least one room must be open, revealing a willow in the garden or standing somewhere nearby the house. Probably the sliding doors in two rooms are open, or perhaps this is a teahouse, since the breeze moves the willow limbs and the wisps of steam simultaneously, removing the distinction between inside and outside. The wisps of steam and the willow limbs sway gently at the same time and in the same direction, as if they were harmonizing and moving with each other.

Chris Drake


aoyagi ni koomori tsutau yuubae ya

Kikaku  宝井基角

According to Shiki, this haiku comes from a 'Kuawase' that Kikaku made with Sampuu, which would be, according to my research, either "The Rustic Haiku Contest" ("Inaka no Kuawase") or "The Evergreen Haiku Contest" ("Tokiwaya no Kuawase").

Shiki considers this haiku an example of moving beyond the Danrin School, beyond "the mere play of words." Shiki says "their humour was in their taste, a high-class humour" [Translations in quotes by Blyth].

It's in Haiku, Vol 1, page 147. Blyth writes:

"Kikaku especially was given to using suitable passages and 'translating' them into haiku. An example is the following:

The bat
Flying from willow to willow
In the evening glow

This is taken from the No play called The Willow of Yugyo. Yugyo Shonin was the name given to each of the head monks of Yugyooji Temple in Kanagawa Prefecture, the main temple of the Jishu Sect. In the play, the Yugyo goes on a pilgrimage and meets an old man who directs him to the narrow road where the willow tree stands that was made famous by Saigyo's waka:

The clear water of a stream
Flows beneath the shade
Of a willow by the roadside;
It was long indeed
That I stood there.

The old man thinks that if such a saint were to lift up his voice and intone the sutra, even trees and plants would become Buddhas. He disappears and the Yugyo reads the sutras all night. Later the old man reappears in a more august form; he was really the spirit of the willow tree. He dances to express his pleasure at being able to go to Paradise and his first words are:

The windy-feather dance of the uguisu from the willow,--it calls to mind the court music called Ryukaen.

Kikaku has taken this and changed the uguisu into a bat, something less beautiful and poetic, but more odd and humorous, and therefore more significant. Humor is found in No, but seperated from the main body of the play in comic farce, interludes called Kyogen. The humor of haiku is found everywhere, even where least expected or noticed; perhaps chiefly there."

This leads me to believe a singular bat was intended. I'm still not sure about the humor, though. Is it simply because a reader would be expecting a uguisu, and got a bat instead?

Compiled by Joshua
Translating Haiku Forum

. . . . Read another possible translation of this haiku HERE !


Temple Yugyoo-Ji 遊行寺

The Ji Sect is an offshoot of the Jodo Sect, or the Pure Land Buddhism.
Priest Ippen was the patriarch of the Sect and his successors were given the title of Yugyo Shonin. (Shonin is the Japanese counterpart of the Christian saint).

The term Yugyo of Yugyoji denotes being itinerant and wayfaring for missionary work.
Today's Yugyo Shonin (73th) holds the post of Fujisawa Shonin (55th) concurrently.

Near the east entrance of the Temple facing the old Tokaido Highroad stands a stone cenotaph. It was installed in 1418 by Priest Taiku (1374-1438), the 14th Yugyo Shonin, for the solace of those who lost their lives during the Zenshu Revolt. The battle was waged between the Uesugi and Ashikaga factions and many were killed or wounded.

Thus, it was called "Cenotaph for Friends and Foes." Engraved on the cenotaph are words meaning "May god lead those men and beast that were killed under the tortures of hell to the Pure Land Paradise without discrimination."

Priest Taiku may remind noh and kabuki fans of Sanemori Saito (?-1183), a distinguished samurai in the late Heian Period (794-1185).

Please read the details HERE
- Temple Yugyoji, Fujisawa -

Tracing the Itinerant Path: Jishu Nuns of Medieval Japan
Medieval Japan was a fluid society in which many wanderers, including religious preachers, traveled the roads. One popular band of itinerant proselytizers was the jishū from the Yugyō school, a gender inclusive Amida Pure Land Buddhist group. This dissertation details the particular circumstances of the jishū nuns through the evolving history of the Yugyō school.

The aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the gender relations and the changing roles women played in this itinerant religious order. Based on the dominant Buddhist view of the status of women in terms of enlightenment, one would have expected the Buddhist schools to have provided only minimal opportunities for women. While the large institutionalized monasteries of the time do reflect this perspective, schools founded by hijiri practitioners, such as the early Yugyō school, contradict these expectations.

This study has revealed that during the formation of the Yugyō school in the fourteenth century, jishū nuns held multiple and strong roles, including leadership of mix-gendered practice halls. Over time, as the Yugyō school became increasingly institutionalized, both in their itinerant practices and in their practice halls, there was a corresponding marginalization of the nuns. This thesis attempts to identify the causes of this change and argues that the conversion to a fixed lifestyle and the adoption of mainstream Buddhist doctrine discouraged the co-participation of women in their order.
source : www.medievalists.net


observance kigo for mid-autumn

. susuki nenbutsu-e 薄念仏会 Pampas Grass Memorial Service .
At the temple Yugyoji (Yuugyoo-ji) 遊行寺 in Fujizawa on September 15.

In a long vase in front of the alter the priests arrange long susuki ears and pine branches and hang small paper slips from them where the Amida Prayer is written.

observance kigo for the New Year

Yugyooji no fudakiri 遊行寺の札切 (ゆぎょうじのふだきり)
cutting amulets at temple Yugyo-Ji

..... ofudakiri お符切(おふだきり)
..... hatsu ofuda 初札(はつおふだ)

January 11

Amulets with the name of Amida Buddha 南無阿弥陀仏 are printed on paper, cut into small pieces and distributed to the pilgrims.
The actual printing and cutting is not open to the public.


Yugyoo Yanagi, a Noh Play

Click HERE for some photos !


Matsuo Basho writes in Sesshoseki

The willow that Priest Saigyo wrote of, "Rippling in the pure spring water," is at the village of Ashino, where it still grows on the ridge between two paddyfields. The magistrate of this area had sometimes said to me, "I wish that I could show you that willow of of Saigyo's," and I had wondered just where it might be. And today I have actually come and stood in its shade.

Planted, the single field -
All too soon I must leave the shade
Of Saigyo's willow.

© Earl Miner, University of California, 1976

ta ichimai uete tachisaru yanagi kana

they planted one field
but now I have to leave
the willow (of Saigyo) . . .

Tr. Gabi Greve

(This hokku has the cut marker KANA at the end of line 3.)

a whole field of
rice seedlings planted - I part
from the willow

Tr. Haruo Shirane

One field
did they plant.
I, under the willow.

Tr. Carl Sensei

One whole field planted:
I arise and take my leave
of the willow tree!

Tr. Burleigh

Oku no Hosomichi - Station 9 - Sesshoseki 殺生岩
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. . . . .

Matsuo Basho and Willow Haiku

A green willow,
dripping down into the mud,
at low tide.

With every gust of wind,
the butterfly changes its place
on the willow.

© Terebess Asia Online (TAO)

. . . . .

haremono ni yanagi no saharu shinae kana

haremono ni fureru yanagi no shinae kana

Supple as the hands
Softly touching the tumors —
Willow sprays bending.

Tr. Yuasa

. . . . .

to the willow ~
all hatred, and desire
of your heart.
source : Chilali Hugo, harp.

(Attributed to Basho, I am still looking for the Japanese.)


Quote from "Some landscapes"

For landscapes in haiku, an obvious writer to consult is the poet-painter Buson (1706-83), famous for his objective style and visual imagination. For example, from 1742 this poem about a willow tree:

yanagi chiri shimizu kareishi tokorodokoro

The translation posted in several places on the web is by Robert Hass:

The willow leaves fallen
the spring gone dry
rocks here and there.

Earl Miner has translated the last two lines as ‘in fresh waters weathered stones scattered here and there.’

The poem seems to be a simple landscape, describing a scene encountered by Buson, but it is also about poetry and the passing of time. The willow tree alludes to a poem by Priest Saigyo (1118-1190) in which he lingers in the shade watching the reflection of the tree in rippling water:

Michi no be ni Shimizu nagaruru Yanagikage
Shibashi tote koso Tachidomaritsure.

Buson is also referring to an encounter with the tree at Ahino by Basho (1644-94) on the Narrow Road to the Deep North. As Haruo Shirane writes,
‘Basho pauses beneath the same willow tree and before he knows it, a whole field of rice has been planted. In contrast to Basho's poem, which recaptures the past, Buson's poem is about loss and the irrevocable passage of time, about the contrast between the situation now, in autumn, when the stream has dried up and the willow leaves have fallen, and the past, in summer, when the clear stream beckoned to Saigyo and the willow tree gave him shelter from the hot summer sun.

Like many of Basho and Buson's poems, the poem is both about the present and the past, about the landscape and about other poems and poetic associations.’ For Buson (as Miner puts it in Japanese Linked Verse), ‘Saigyo and Basho are gone from the earth, remaining however in the mind as a cherished idea shrouded in the mystery of memory.’

© Some Landscapes, by Plinius BLOG

fallen willow leaves --
the clear stream gone dry,
stones here and there

The hokku is a description of a natural scene, of "here and now", but it is simultaneously an allusion to and a haikai variation on a famous waka, or classical poem, by Saigyo (1118-1190), a 12th century poet:

by the side of the road
alongside a stream of clear water
in the shade of a willow tree
I paused for what I thought
would be just a moment

source : Haruo Shirane

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


Issa and the Willow Haiku

furimukeba haya bijo suguru yanagi kana

turning 'round
just missing a pretty woman...
willow tree

ao yagi no mazu miyuru zo ya sumida-gawa

green willows
are the first thing seen...
Sumida River

mi suji hodo matsu kakureshi yanagi kana

three strands or so
hide in the pine...
willow tree

utomashiki kata kabe kakusu yanagi kana

it hides one wall...

iriai wo machidooshigaru yanagi kana

waiting and waiting
for sunset...
the willow tree

asayake mo mata mezurashiki yanagi kana

dawn's glow
even more of a wonder...
willow tree

Tr. David Lanoue.
Read more HERE !


ara ao no ... how densely green,
yanagi no ito ya .... the willow boughs
mizu no nagare .... in flowing water

Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738)

chiru yanagi ... falling willow-leaves;
aruji mo ware mo ... Master and I
kane o kiku ... listen to the bell

Matsuo Bashō (1644-94)

kimi yuku ya ... you leave;
yanagi midori ni ... in the green of willows
michi nagashi ... the road is long

Yosa Buson (1716-84)

hashi ochite ... fallen bridge
ushiro samushiki ... and lonely behind
yanagi kana ... the willow

masaoka shiki (1867-1902)

hayanagi no ... down Temple-Street
teramachi suguru ... with leafy willows;
amayo kana ... rain at dusk

Kaya Shirao (1735/8-1791/2)

sukashi mite ... looking through,
hoshi ni sabishiki ... the willow is lonely
yanagi kana ... with stars

Miura Chora (1729-81)

© Tr. Michael Haldane


雪どけの  中にしだるる 柳かな
Akutagawa Ryuunosuke 芥川龍之介

猫柳 高嶺は雪を あらたにす
Yamaguchi Seishi 山口誓子

猫柳 ときをりの 水のささやき 
Nakamura Teijo 中村汀女

門の灯や  昼もそのまま 糸柳
Nagai Kafuu 永井荷風

柳の芽 雨またしろき ものまじへ
Kubota Mantaroo 久保田万太郎

Related words

***** Willow robes (yanagi gasane)

***** Saigyo Hooshi Memorial Day, Saigyoo-ki

***** Yugyoo-Ji Kaisan-Ki 遊行寺開山忌
Memorial Day of the Founder of Temple Yugyoo-Ji
kigo for spring


***** Ippen-Ki 一遍忌 Memorial Day of Saint Ippen
..... Yugyoo-Ki 遊行忌 Memorial Day of the Travelling Saint

kigo for mid-autumn

Saint Ippen (1234 – 1289)
His death anniversary is the 23rd day of the 8th lunar month.

Ippen came from Iyo (伊予) province, (modern Ehime prefecture, in Shikoku (四国)island and was originally called Chishin (智真). He first studied Tendai (天台) Buddhism on Mt. Hiei (比叡), Kyoto, and then Pure Land (Jodo 浄土) Buddhism at Dazaifu (太宰府), Kyūshū island.

During a pilgrimage to Kumano (熊野), the kami deity enshrined there revealed to Ippen that enlightenment was determined by Amida Buddha (阿弥陀) and that Ippen should devote himself to preaching the importance of reciting the name of Amida, nembutsu (念仏).
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Ippen and the Dragon Legend of Mount Koryujigatake .

Ippen and the Hot Spring in 鉄輪温泉 Kannawa Beppu, Kyushu

It is the very hot spring of symbolic view above all Beppu Hatto with tremendous steam rising. In the year of Kamakura the rough hell called "Kuberiyu-no-iu" was developed by Ippen Shonin.
The area around Mushiyu (Steam Bath) which he founded has now become the heart of Kannawa and has flourished with many public baths, accommodations and souvenir shops lined along the narrow and winding streets. Also the inns for rent peculiar to Kannawa remain standing to take in the guests from afar.
source : www.city.beppu.oita.jp

There is a festival where the statue of Ippen is carried to the great hot spring pool and cleansed in the hot water.
People pray for healing to the statue, and also statues of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Healing.

Yuami hooyoo  湯あみ法要 Yuami Festival
At temple Eifujku-Ji
source : yuami-festival-in-kannawa2012


. The second Yugyo Saint Ta-A Shonin 他阿上人 .
他阿弥陀仏上人, (1237 - 1319)
and Kehi Shrine 気比神宮 in Tsuruga.





Anonymous said...

In Dutch, the weeping willow is called a 'treurwilg', literally 'mourning willow'. One such tree has been standing for more than a century near the house where my husband was born (all his siblings but one were born there, too).

sad willow ...
the widow has moved
to a nursing home

lone willow ...
we no longer see
my mother-in-law

willow tree
why still in mourning
this spring day?

April morning
even the willow tree
catches sunlight

spring morning
I think of Giethoorn
and its willow trees

Ella Wagemakers

Anonymous said...

drooping willow--
the gate's crookedness
not quite hidden

tare yanagi kado no magari wa kakurenu zo


by Issa, 1816

Or: "my gate's crookedness." Issa might be referring to his own gate. Shinji Ogawa notes that magari, in this context, denotes "crook": something bent or curved.

Tr. David Lanoue

facebook said...

Ippen Shonin on Facebook
by Mariko Shimizu

mind that
mind is the source
of grudges and troubles
mind to have no mind
to yourself


. . . . .

about mind
i have no idea what it is
all i know is
one could be enlightened
if one chants "Namamidabutsu"


Read more details in facebook

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

yanagigoori katani wa suzushi hatsu makuwa

his wicker boxes
carry the coolness
of the first Makuwa melon

Written in Genroku 5, 22 of the fifth lunar month
元禄7年閏5月22日. At Rakushisha 落柿舎 in Kyoto.
His disciple 洒堂 Shado had come to visit and brought Makuwa melons from Osaka in one box.
The other side of his luggage was probably a melon from Kyoto.
Maybe the men just started a haikai session right away with this hokku.

Luggage and Haiku

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

mochiyuki o shira-ito to nasu yanagi kana

like twisted white stripes
for the willow tree . . .

Matsuo Basho
Tr. Gabi Greve

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

nani kuute ko-ie wa aki no yanagi kana

what do they eat
in this small house in autumn
below the willow tree ?

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

uguisu o tama ni nemuru ka aoyanagi


Gabi Greve - Buson said...

Yosa Buson

いっけんの ちゃみせのやなぎ おいにけり
ikken no chamise no yanagi oi ni keri

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

karakasa ni oshiwake mitaru yanagi kana

with my umbrella
I part the branches
of the willow trees . . .

about the umbrella

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

aoyagi no kado ni hara-hara yozamu kana

night cold
willow leaves, still green
fall by the gate

This autumn hokku was written on intercalary 8/13, which was Oct. 5, 1805, when Issa was staying with another haikai poet just northeast of Edo. The leaves of some Japanese willows turn a duller green and fall without turning yellow, and this willow seems to be one of those. Its leaves are still a faded green, but autumn is deepening nevertheless, and the tree's green leaves scatter gently and cover the gate and the area around it. Issa's diary indicates that the previous two days had been rainy but that 8/13 was "fair, with rain in the morning," so without clouds the temperature on this night may have gone down noticeably, creating the feeling of autumn suddenly and definitely deepening. Hara-hara is an onomatopoetic adverb that suggests continuous, quiet falling or fluttering of small or light things, such as cherry blossoms, flower petals, leaves, precipitation, or tears. The verb fall is not used by Issa but is implied by the adverb.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

aoyagi ya juu-zutsu juu no ana ichi ni

green willows--
at ten different holes
gamblers tossing pennies

Shinji Ogawa explains that Issa is referring to a gambling game called ana ichi ("one hole"), in which people throw coins to a hole in the ground. The game must be popular in this particular scene, since Issa counts ten holes in use.

David Lanoue

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

tokonoma 床の間 alcove for decorations, art nook

- part of the entry about
. Interior Design - The Japanese Home .

Gabi Greve said...

At the Sanjusan Gendo Hall in Kyoto, there is a
ritual services for the willow trees 柳のお加持 "Rite of the Willow"

and legends about the roof beams of willow trees from other regions


Gabi Greve said...

jayanagi, (hebiyanagi)
蛇柳 the "serpent willow tree" Snake Willow

a kabuki play
- daija, orochi 大蛇 the huge serpent, great snake -

Gabi Greve said...

Fukushima 福島県 湖南町 Konan

O-Suga sama お菅さま "Lady Suga"
During the procession fo Sankin Kotai there was a great serpent up on a willow tree along the road. It displeased the vassals of the Daimyo and was thus driven away and had to move to Fukushima. When a branch of this willow tree breaks off, there was blood flowing from the wound. So in the end the whole tree was cut off.
This place is called "O-Suga Sama".

Gabi Greve said...

Aoyanagi 青柳 Restaurant in Ryogoku, Edo

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

sentaku no baba e yanagi no yuu nabiki

to the old woman
doing laundry, the evening
willow bows

Tr. David Lanoue
Doing the Laundry in Edo

Gabi Greve said...

Legends - Wakayama 和歌山県 / 日高郡 Hidaka district みなべ町 Manabe

O-Ryuu Yanagi おりゅう柳 The Willow Tree O-Ryu
. Sanjusan Gendo Hall and 柳のお加持 "Rite of the Willow" .
and the legend of O-Ryu.

A willow tree from 熊野川町 Kumanogawa village had been cut down and should be shipped to Kyoto for the building of the Sanjusan Gendo Hall.
The tree was very large and could not float down the river smoothly. There appeared the spirit of a woman and helped pulling the tree downriver. But the place where the tree had been cut was now cursed
and the villagers venerated 十二薬師 12 Yakushi statues there.

Gabi Greve said...

Yanagishima 柳島 Yanagishima district "Island of Willow Trees"
Meguro ward 墨田区 toward Koto ward 江東区 :
墨田区業平 Narihira - 横川 Yokogawa - 太平 Taihei - 錦糸 Kinuito and Koto-ward 江東区亀戸 Kameido


During the Edo period, many willow trees grew here, hence the name.

Gabi Greve said...

Legends from Tokyo
Tokyo 東京都
吉祥寺村 Kichijojimura

yooji 楊枝 toothpick
In the compound of the 井の頭弁天堂 Bentendo Hall at Inokashira there was yanagi 柳 an old willow tree.
The toothpicks for the third Shogun Iemitsu have been made from its branches.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Mie 三重県

The 牛頭天皇社 Shrine for Gozu Tenno was swept away on the 8th of April in 1265 during a flooding. To determine the place for rebuilding the Shrine, the villagers put some branches of 枯柳 the old willow tree in the ground and one of them became a tree over night. So they used this area for the new Shrine.

Gabi Greve said...

hijiri ひじり / 聖 / ヒジリ ”holy man" wandering priest