Kyoshi (Takahama Kiyoshi, 1874-1959) was born in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. Kyoshi's father was a samurai, a master of Japanese fencing, and was also versed in Nohgaku(traditional stage drama). His mother had profound knowledge of Japanese classical literature. When Meiji New Government was established in 1868, Kyoshi's father was dismissed and moved to Nishinoge in Kazahaya to become a farmer, where Kyoshi spent his early days. Such environment influenced his interest in literature and his ability to appreciate the beauty of nature and to feel affinity with nature. In school days in Matsuyama, Kyoshi asked Hekigoto, his classmate, to hand a letter of introduction of himself to Shiki, who was a great innovator of haiku. Later, Kyoshi and Hekigoto became two prominent pupils of Shiki.
 In 1898 Kyoshi became a publisher and editor of Hototogisu with the help of Shiki. After Shiki's death, Kyoshi was devoting himself to writing novels, leaving Hekigototo teach haiku. Meanwhile Hekigo to began his new trend haiku (Shinkeiko Haiku), which did not follow the rules of 17 syllables and the seasonal words. When Kyohsi realized that the new trend haiku gained great popularity over the country, he determined to return to his roots as a haiku poet.

   Harukaze ya tohshi idakite oka ni tatsu.
       Spring breeze !
       On the hill I firmly stand
       With the great resolve.

 This is the famous haiku written at that time. With enthusiastic support from his readers he gained pride and self-confidence that he was the true successor of Shiki. He wrote a great many masterpieces of haiku through his life and brought up his many disciples to the distinguished haiku poets. We might say that Kyoshi is the great master of haiku compared to Basho in Edo era.
 Kyoshi's haiku ideology is "kacho fuei". Literally, kacho means flowers and birds, that is, the symbols or representatives of nature. Fuei means to compose a poem. Kyoshi, however, adds his original meaning to the word. His concept of fuei is not just to observe nature and to write verse on it but to admire and worship nature. Thus his phrase "kacho fuei" means that we should compose haiku not only on natural scenes but also about the harmony and concord that exist between human beings and nature.

 Now let us introduce you to some works of Kyoshi. Every month you will meet a piece of translation of his haiku in the "Invitation to the works of Kyoshi".
 We hope you will enjoy it.

(Mizuta Mutsumi)

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