If you click the "Log In" button and get an error, use this URL to display the forum home page:

Update any bookmarks you have for the forum to use this URL--not a similar URL that includes "www."
Welcome to The Haiku Foundation forum! Some features and boards are available only to registered members who are logged in. To register, click Register in the main menu below. Click Login to login. Please use a Report to Moderator link to report any problems with a board or a topic.

Main Menu

Haibun and Haibun Translations

Started by pottygok, May 10, 2021, 08:27:45 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


I'm trying to find translations of pre-20th century haibun other than Oku no Hosomichi. I know others exist, but beyond Keene, Hamill, and a few others, I have no idea which translators have approached this or, alternately, which haibun exist that haven't been translated. Any titles would be great.

light pilgrim


Haibun in the Japanese tradition is not quite the same as we read and write in English. As you might have found, it is often a part of a poet's collection of writing and not a specific publication on its own. The most well- known one you've quoted and also Issa's The Year of My Life ( trans. Nobuyuki Yuasa) have haiku and haibun combined. The same is the case with the writings of Soseki, the novelist who also wrote haiku. So, if l am not mistaken there may not be a specific haibun book, compendium or collection pre-20th century in Japanese tradition. In fact, as Stephen H Gill, one of the leading haibun writers says, haibun is much more popular in the English-language community of haikai poets than in Japan, where tanka and haiku still flourish.

Perhaps a roundabout link to what you're looking for might be this haikai group in Kyoto, whose members often post their own haibun as well as translate some of the Japanese haibun. Stephen Gill is knowledgable and helpful. Do have a look:

Hope this helps a little,

light pilgrim


The Issa one I know is "The Spring of My Life" by Hamill, so I'll check out Yuasa to compare. But something like Morikawa's Honchō Monzen doesn't seem to have been translated, yet. I'm just curious because it seems that what haibun was in Japan isn't what we call haibun now, and I'm wondering if there's a way to learn from what haibun was and create haibun in new directions.

Billy Mills

Does anyone here know the Penguin Classics volume The Narrow Road to the Deep North?  As well as a translation of the Oku no Hosomichi it has versions of four other 'travel sketches'. Unfortunately the translator, Nobuyuki Yuasa, opted to translate al the haiku (pr hokku) as English quatrains, which, in my view, really doesn't work.

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk