Masaoka Shiki and his haiku poems in English and Japanese

Masaoka Shiki(1867-1902)

Masaoka Shiki put effort into poetry activities to bring about innovation in the haiku from the Edo period. In the seven years of his later years, he kept making haiku while suffering from tuberculosis.




In 1867, Masaoka Shiki was born in Iyo Province (today’s Ehime Prefecture). He was a son of the lower-class samurai who died 40 years old in 1872. With the support of his mother, he entered the Iyo clan school Jobankai. He began to learn haiku when he was 18. But Shiki got the illness which he suffered from ever since. Tuberculosis was fatal disease at that time and 21 years young haiku poet vomited blood for the first time. Shiki (子規) means little cuckoo in Japanese. He named own pen name after the bird because a little cuckoo was described as a bird sing so much that it vomit blood. 


He entered Tokyo Imperial University (today’s Tokyo University) in 1900 and gave the lessons of haiku for Kawahigashi Hekigoto (1873-1937) and Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959). Shiki gave up to graduate from Tokyo Imperial University and started to work at Nippon Shinbun Newspaper. While working as a journalist, he continued to publish haiku poems. During the Sino‐Japanese War (1894‐95) he went to the front. But that made worse of tuberculosis and Shiki went home. He had been in ill bed and suffered in his later years but he composed the jolly and creative haiku poems.








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Books about Masaoka Shiki









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