WKD - Joy (ureshisa)



Joy, pleasure (ureshisa, tanoshisa)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Humanity


Usually the kigo itself carries the emotion and mood you want to express in your haiku, so you have to choose your kigo carefully.

Direct expressions of human emotinons are not often used in traditional Japanese haiku, but we have some kigo related to them, see the related words below.

"enjoy" is another word often used in translations.
Basho himself even used the simple AAAH!

ureshii 嬉しさ、うれしい、うれしき
tanoshii 楽しい、楽しさ、たのしい


When the kids at grammar school in Japan start learning haiku, they are told to write two lines with something nice that makes them happy (or something that makes them sad) ... and the teacher will tell them later which kigo of the seaon would fit their mood.

Read the details of this teaching method here:

Teaching Haiku to Japanese Children


Kigo for spring

I will check on this interesting kidai more later.

"joy in spring", shunki 春嬉(しゅんき)

spring is pleasant, haru tanoshi 春愉し(はるたのし)

pleasure of spring, shunkyoo 春興 (しゅんきょう)
... haru no kyoo 春の興(はるのきょう)
In the Edo period, haiku poets would come together for the first time in the New Year (which was equal to the first spring of the lunar calendar) and show publications of their works.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Matsuo Basho

taka hitotsu mitsukete ureshi Iragosaki

Cape Irago -
I am so happy to observe
a solitary hawk

Tr. Gabi Greve, Hawk and Haiku


Matsushima ya aa Matsushima ya Matushima ya

Aaah! Matsushima!

Matsushima is one of the three most beautiful areas of Japan. Here Basho expresses his joy, exhilaration, emotion with a simple AAAH!

Basho, Oku no Hosomichi 2007
Gabi Greve


Kobayashi Issa

nagaki hi ya ureshinamida ga horo-horo to

a long day--
my tears of joy
rolling down

mijika yo no kado ni ureshiki enoki kana

short summer night--
at the gate a happy
nettle tree

daikon no futaba ureshi ya aki no kaze

two leaves of radish
autumn wind

ko-garasu mo ureshinaki suru inaho kana

the little crow
also weeps for joy...
heads of rice

Tr. David Lanoue


Yosa Buson (1715-1783)

natsukawa o kosu ureshisa yo te ni zôri

O rio de verão —
Que alegria atravessá-lo
De sandálias à mão.


so happy
to cross this summer river -
sandals in my hand

Tr. Gabi Greve


me ni ureshi koigimi no sen mashiro naru

my eyes feast
on this white folding fan
of my loved one

Tr. Keiko Izawa, 2007

grato ai miei occhi
di te amata il ventaglio

Tr. ferro3

Radość w jej oczach
wachlarz ukochanego
czysty i biały

Tr. mruffka 89

Sakuo Nakamura had this comment (Translating Haiku Forum)

I think Buson is a colorist painter as well as Haijin. This ku belongs to his consciousness for beauty.
Buson's image inspires in me the color of his lover's cloth.
What color does come to your mind?

In my case, her cloth color is red that is reflecting the surrounding green in this season.
Suppose, there are red and green, and white.
The white enforces the contrast of red and green.

Then first line and the last line become fresh.
[目に嬉しso nice to look at]

[真白なる this white]


Compiled by Larry Bole :

To my eyes it is delightful--
the fan of my beloved,
completely white.

trans. Sawa and Shiffert

What utter delight
to the eye--my dearest one's fan,
so perfectly white!

trans. Harold Henderson
Henderson notes:
"Fine fans were usually painted, quite often by famous artists."

So maybe there is a suggestion in the haiku that whoever's fan it is, that person is artless; meaning simple, natural, without guile or pretense, ingenuous, innocent. A white fan which hasn't been painted on might appeal to a lover of novelty such as Buson, who sometimes painted haiga on fans.

So happy to the eye,
The pure white fan
Of you whom I dearly love.

trans. Blyth
Blyth notes:
... In the verse above, the mere whiteness of the girl's fan, the fact that it is this colour and no other, is full of grateful significance to the lover, who does not however realize that the meaning of the colour of the fan is partly in his own feelings. At the moment, his emotion is white, and he sees rightly enough what a white fan is, what its whiteness means, why it is white.

delightful to the eye--
the fan of my beloved
is spotlessly white

trans. Ueda
Ueda notes:
Buson held ... hokku-writing meetings throughout 1774, usually producing several poems at each. He also composed many more hokku independently of the meetings. Here [is an example]:
[cited haiku]
[This] poem is another study of the human psyche, in this instance of the secret longing a young woman harbors toward a man. One summer day she observes him leisurely fanning himself, and the whiteness of the fan delights her because her instincts say it is indicative of his spotless character.

I find it interesting that Blyth makes it a girl's fan,
and Ueda makes it a man's fan.


the whole valley
vibrates with joy
frog concert

summer morning -
the joy of life

Look at the haiga HERE !

autumn mandala -
in my garden
with pure joy

CLICK for more mandala haiku !
© PHOTO and Haiku, Gabi Greve

Related words

*****... Loneliness, sadness, melancholy and other emotions
sabishisa, kanashisa and more


***** happiness, bliss (shiawase)

shiawase wa ashimoto ni aru Haiku michi

is right at our footsteps -
haiku walk

Gabi Greve, November 2010

. Joy, Happiness, Bliss
An intercultural study.
By Edward Hoffman

List with Japanese HAPPINESS haiku
. しあわせ俳句集



Unknown said...

沢山 たくさん 「嬉しい俳句」
たくさん 沢山 「有難う」


中村 作雄

Gabi Greve said...

Hello Gabi san,

As far as i sense, "enjoy" has very hedonistic, suggestions in its modern usage!

en·joy (n-joi)
v. en·joyed, en·joy·ing, en·joys
1. To receive pleasure or satisfaction from.v.tr.

2. To have the use or benefit of: enjoys good health.
To have a pleasurable or satisfactory time.
Phrasal Verb:
enjoy oneself
To have a pleasurable or satisfactory time.


[Middle English enjoien, from Old French enjoir : en-, intensive
pref.; see en-1 + joir, to rejoice (from Latin gaudre; see gu- in
Indo-European roots).]


en·joya·ble adj.
en·joya·bly adv.
en·joyer n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth
Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


In the Indian languages this word has no essential equivalents. So they have adopted the word "enjoy" itself in various Indian languages like a hedonistic necessity: say, "rompa enjoy pannanum" in Tamizh.

Let me conclude with a Haiku!

the river ~
tender joy of spring
unfolds in breeze

Greetings Gabi san!
Narayanan Raghunathan



Thanks for your comments.
I will try and check the REAL meaning of the Japanese words again!



Anonymous said...

Greetings Gabi san,

Here is my first haiku to your blog/database on the topic of JOY :) Enjoy!

sudden rain -
brings joy in the garden
my first orchid

Charishma Ramchandani

Anonymous said...

the quiet joy
of heather

no need to know
why they sing

Ella Wagemakers

Bill said...

no need to know
where the trail leads

Bill Kenney

Alassiel said...

Hi, indeed my name Ayelén (I come form Argentina) means joy in a native southamerican language. I was looking for the equivalent in Japanese: I'm not quite sure, I found "yorokobi" but I like "ureshisa" most. Could you tell if there's an important difference betwwen them? Arigatoo


I'll try a Haiku:

full moon-
joy in the hearts
of secret lovers

Gabi Greve said...


Dear Ayelen, depending on wheather you are male or female, the name could change.


Alassiel said...

Ok, I'm a girl, so which of them?

Arigatoo again

This is a Haiku in my motherlanguage, spanish

estrella lejana-
luz sin tiempo
belleza sin fin

(far away star-
light without time
endless beauty)

Ayelén ♀

Gabi Greve / Joys of Japan said...

how happy
this night at Bodega Bay
acoustic guitars

Jimmy ThePeach