Fun Facts Friday: Masaoka Shiki

October 14, 2022

Masaoka Shiki (14 October, 1867 – 19 September, 1902) was a Japanese author, critic and poet. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern haiku poetry.

Fun Facts Friday: Masaoka Shiki
Books by, or about, Masaoka Shiki*

Fun facts about Masaoka Shiki (正岡 子規):

  1. The poet was born as Tsunenori (常規) in Matsuyama City (today called Ehime Prefecture) to a family of modest means, but part of the samurai class. His father, an alcoholic, died when Shiki was five years old. His mother was the daughter of the Confucian scholar Ōhara Kanzan.
  2. Kanzan was his first tutor, however later in life Shiki said he wasn’t very studios.
  3. His name as a child was Tokoronosuke (處之助), and later changed to Noboru (升).
  4. He took on the nom de plume “Shiki” from the word hototogisu meaning “lesser cucooks” and can alternatively be read as “Shiki”. The Japanese believed that the cuckoo bird coughed blood as it sings, and the poet suffered from tuberculosis and was coughing up blood.
  5. Even though the poet is known for writing haikus, he also wrote tanka poetry, criticism, autobiographies, and essays.
  6. Scholars think that his sickness contributed to his decision to drop out of Tokyo Imperial University.
  7. The same year he dropped out (1892), he published serialized work advocating haiku reform. After the work was published, he was offered the position of haiku editor for the paper.
  8. Shiki is credited with writing almost 20,000 stanzas.
  9. A year before his death, the poet wrote three sickbed diaries.
  10. Shiki is remembered as one of the poets who saved traditional Japanese poetry in short form, as well as advocating that haiku is a legitimate literary genre.

Books by, or about, Masaoka Shiki*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Fun Facts Friday: Masaoka Shiki
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Fun Facts Friday: Masaoka Shiki
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Masaoka Shiki (14 October, 1867 – 19 September, 1902) was a Japanese author, critic and poet. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern haiku poetry.
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