Haiku News – A Ginko in Kamakura
Photos by Mitsugu Abe
The miniature maples (momiji) have turned to a rich red and the fan-like leaves of the ginkgo (ichou) are growing a brighter gold each day. On the 23rd of November, autumn was just reaching its peak. In Kamakura, an ancient city by the sea, seventeen lovers of haiku from five countries gathered together for a ginko.
We walked through the grounds of two zen temples established in the 13th century. Engakuji was founded by the regent Hojo Tokimune, and Tokeiji was founded as a convent by Tokimune’s wife. Both Daisetz Suzuki and R.H. Blyth have their graves at Tokeiji. I had placed pale pink roses at Blyth’s grave. All the ginko participants passed by to pay their respects.
Eleven of the participants are members of Meguro International Friendship Association’s (MIFA) Haiku Circle in Tokyo, led by Yasuomi Koganei and Catherine Urquhart. Among the guests who joined us were two translators of Japanese masters: Dorothy Britton (Lady Bouchier) and Patricia (Pat) Donegan. Kris Kondo and Eiko Yachimoto of the Association of International Renku (AIR) joined, as well as two other poets Edith Muta and Katari Watatsumi (pen name).
Dorothy Britton translated Oku no Hosomichi (A HAIKU JOURNEY: Narrow Road to the Far Province, Kodansha, 1974, 1980). The following is Dorothy’s version of one of Basho’s most famous haiku:
shizukasa ya iwa ni shimiiru semi no koe
In this hush profound,
…Into the very rocks it seeps–
……The cicada sound.
Pat Donegan co-translated the haiku of Chiyo-ni (also called Chiyo-jo or Kaga no Chiyo) with Yoshie Ishibashi for their book: CHIYO-NI: Woman Haiku Master, Tuttle, 1998. Here is one of Chiyo-ni’s haiku:
hyakunari ya tsuru hitosuji no kokoro yori
a hundred gourds
from the heart
of one vine
Afterwards, everyone gathered for a kukai in a coffee shop. The following haiku from the ginko, in various styles, are placed in alphabetical order by surname:
About the images :
A note from Kamakura:
Last time I came to take a photo of Jufukuji, the roof on the gate was covered with snow. A young girl was petting a stray cat. I took a photo of them together, with the snow on the walkway as a background.
Masaoka Shiki’s disciple, Takahama Kyoshi, has a grave here, as does Kyoshi’s daughter Hoshino Tatsuko. Kiyoshi still has family living in Kamakura. His granddaughter Hoshino Tsubaki, and great-grandson Hoshino Takashi, carry on the family tradition as haijin.
Today as I ready my camera, an older couple passes through. I am able to get a shot of them as they advance towards the temple. The gate makes a perfect frame for the walkway.
..temple at dusk
..the sound a monk’s sandals
..on fallen leaves
Temples of Kamakura
Jufukuji, Engakuji & Tokeiji