This World


Yono naka wa jigoku no ue no hanami kanaThis world —
a banquet of flowers
just above hell.

Kobayashi Issa was born on 15 June 1763 in Kashiwabara, Shinano Province (Shinanomachi, Nagano Prefecture today).  Denied his inheritance by his stepmother and stepbrother, he made a living as an impoverished traveling teacher of poetry.  The language of his poems is as simple and spare as his own life.  He died on 5 January 1829.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at]

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