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Basho - Selected Chronology

by David Barnhill last modified Nov 21, 2010 06:03 PM

1644 Matsuo Kinsaku (Bashō) is born in Ueno, Iga Province.

1656 Matsuo Yozaemon, Bashō’s father, dies.

1662 Earliest extant poem.

1666 Death of Tōdō Yoshitada, Bashō’s friend and fellow poet, son of his Lord.

1672 Dedicates a poetry contest he judged, The Seashell Game (Kai ōi), at a Shinto Shrine. He moves to Edo.

1675 Participates in a linked verse (haikai no renga) gathering with Nishiyama Sōin (1605-82), the founder of the Danrin school. By now he has students, including Sugiyama Sampū (1647-1732) and Takarai Kikaku (1661-1707).

1676 Participates in two Danrin-style linked verse sequences, Two Poets in Edo (Edo ryōgin shū).

1677 Begins to work at the waterworks department in Edo as he continues to be a rising star in the Danrin school.

1679 Becomes a lay monk.

1680 Two major collections by his school are published, Twenty Solo Sequences by Tōsei’s Disciples (Tōsei montei dokugin nijikkasen) and Haikai Contests (Haikai awase). He moves out of central Edo into a hut on the rustic outskirts in the Fukagawa district. His poetry begins to reflect the emotional intensity and spiritual depth of Chinese poetry.

1681 A disciple transplants a bashō (banana) tree at the hut. Before the year is over, the hut and the poet are known by that name. He practices Zen meditation under Butchō (1642-1716), and Zen and Chinese Daoism become influential in his poetry.

1683 The Bashō Hut is destroyed by fire in January. The first major anthology of his school, Shriveled Chestnuts (Minashiguri), is published. In August his mother dies.

1684 In September, begins a long journey to the West that will give rise to his first travel journal, Journey of Bleached Bones in a Field (Nozarashi kikō). During a visit in Nagoya, he leads five linked verse sequences (kasen) that will be published as The Winter Sun (Fuyu no hi).

1685 Visits his native village of Ueno to celebrate the New Year. After several other stops, he returns to Edo in the summer.

1686 Writes the unfinished Critical Notes on the New Year Sequence (Hatsukaishi hyōchū).

1687 Travels to Kashima Shrine to see the harvest moon, which results in Journey to Kashima (Kashima kikō). He publishes Collected Verses (Atsumeku), a selection of thirty-four of his hokku. In late November he sets off on a long journey to the west, which results in Knapsack Notebook (Oi no kobumi).

1688 Travels to Sarashina village to see the harvest moon, which results in Journey to Sarashina (Sarashina kikō), and then returns to Edo in September.

1689 Leaves Edo in May for a very long journey to the north country and the west coast of Japan, which becomes the basis for The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku no hosomichi).

1690 Lives from May to August in the “Unreal Hut” by Lake Biwa, and then moves to his native village of Ueno. He begins to speak of his new poetic ideal of lightness (karumi).

1691 Spends late May at the “Villa of Fallen Persimmons” in the hills west of Kyoto, where he writes Saga Diary (Saga nikki). The linked verse anthology Monkey’s Straw Raincoat (Sarumino) is published. He returns to Edo in December.

1692 After many relatively quiet months, a new hut is built for him and he becomes busy again as a haikai master.

1693 Tōin, a nephew he had looked after for many years, becomes ill, moves in with Bashō, and dies in April. Bashō begins to take care of Jutei, a woman with three children. In August he closes his gate to visitors.

1694 Begins a journey to the southwest in June in poor health. Two anthologies of his school are published, The Detached Room (Betsuzashiki) and A Sack of Charcoal (Sumidawara). On November 28, while in Osaka, he dies.

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by David Barnhill last modified Nov 21, 2010 06:03 PM