Image of Japanese haiku poet Matsuo Bashō.

Matsuo Basho

(1644 - 1694)

Born into the samurai class in 1644, Matsuo Basho at the age of nine entered the service of a local lord and soon began writing poems. He went to Edo at the age of twenty-nine to pursue his interest in poetry and became a lay monk in 1679, the same year that he began composing in the form of haiku he would eventually popularize. To adorn his home, a student gave him a plantain tree, or basho, which became the poet’s favorite nickname. At his death in 1694, Basho left fifty ardent disciples devoted to his teachings.

All Writing

Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo.

—Matsuo Basho, c. 1685

Voices In Time

1689 | Izumo Point

Sinking Sun

Matsuo Basho spots an island.More

Issues Contributed