十年の汗を道後の温泉に洗へ junen no     ase o Dogo no     yu ni arae Ten year’s sweat washed away back at Dogo Onsen -Shiki   Art by Mizuno Toshikata, Visiting an Onsen – 湯河の里 –

Hazy-night moon (Oboroyo no tsuki)

A masked Noh actor performs the role of the robber Kumasaka no Chohan – a scarf tied round his head and carrying a long pike – who was killed in 1174 when his band  unwisely attacked the young Minamoto no Yoshitsune at Akasaka. There is no moon visible in the print, and the title reminds…


紫陽花や壁のくづれをしぶく雨 ajisai ya     kabe no kuzure o      shibuku ame hydrangeas — rain splashing upon the crumbling walls -Shiki   Art by Sakai Hoitsu  

cicada’s shell

古池やさかさに浮かふ蝉のから furuike ya     sakasa ni ukabu     semi no kara an old pond- floating upside down a cicada’s shell -Shiki   Art by Kangyoku

samurai summer

夏草や兵どもが夢の跡  松尾芭蕉 natsukusa ya     tsuwamonodomo ga     yume no ato   The summer grasses Of brave soldiers’ dreams The aftermath.  – Bashō    Art by Kuniyoshi, Rokusuke Samurai    

Akazome Emon viewing the moon from her palace chambers

Akazome Emon (956-­1041 AD) was a celebrated woman poet at the Heian court. She served in the household of Fujiwara no Michinaga, the prime minister of the day, and father-in-law of several emperors, and she is considered to have been the main author of the Eiga Monogatari, the Fujiwara family history. Here she is portrayed…

water lilies

門さきにうつむきあふや百合の花 kadosaki ni     utsumukiau ya     yuri no hana at the front gate dropping their heads lilies blooming -Shiki   Art by Ohara Koson (1877-1945) 小原古邨 Water Lily, 1920

Theater-district dawn moon (Shibaimachi no akatsuki)

It is dawn in the Shibaimachi, Tokyo’s theatre district. Staff and guests of the theatres, restaurants and tea houses make their way home. The blackened teeth and shaved eyebrows of the woman in the foreground indicate that she is married. The silhouettes of the kabuki theatre signs are clearly visible against the purple morning sky….

red hollyhocks

伸び切って夏至に逢ふたる葵かな nobikitte      geshi ni ohtaru      aoi kana a hollyhock shot up to meet the summer solstice -Shiki   Art by Ohara Shoson, Flowering Red Hollyhocks and Two Dragonflies