Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An accomplished haiku poet revered as the last of the four great masters, he is known as a critic of Matsuo Basho and often credited with single-handedly revitalizing the art form. He was also among a number of poets who helped to revitalize the tanka form at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Shiki attended college in Tokyo with Natsume Soseki and Akiyama Saneyuki, later dropping out to work as a columnist for the newspaper company Nippon. He suffered from tuberculosis and was cared for in his final days by his mother and sister. With the aid of others, he was able to dictate his final haiku from his futon.
Shiki claimed that Japanese poetry should be modernized, and coined the terms "haiku" (replacing "hokku ") and "tanka" (replacing "waka"). He propounded the use of realism in haiku (which is why he is often called the founder of the realistic group, 写生派), which was the single most significant break from the then conventional and stagnant forms which helped to revive haiku. His contribution as a critic was the rediscovery of Man'yōshū and revaluation of Minamoto no Sanetomo, the third shogun of Kamakura Shogunate and the rehabilitation of opinion on the haiku of Yosa Buson.
- Janine Beichman, 'Masaoka Shiki', Kodansha Intl. Edition 1986 ISBN 087011753X, Cheng & Tsui Edition 2002 ISBN 0887273645
- Masaoka Shiki, Masaoka Shiki: Selected Poems, Burton Watson, translator, Columbia University Press © 1997 ISBN 0-231-11090-1 cloth ISBN 0-231-11091-X pbk 120 pp. 144 haiku, 35 tanka, 3 kanshi)
- Masaoka Shiki, Songs from a Bamboo Village: Selected Tanka from Take no Sato Uta, translated by Sanford Goldstein and Seishi Shinoda, Rutland, VA, Charles E. Tuttle Co. © 1998 ISBN 0-8048-2085-6 pbk [488 pp. 298 tanka]
- e-texts of Shiki's works (Japanese only) at Aozora bunko
- Selected Poems (haiku and tanka) of Masaoka Shiki, Translated by Janine Beichman at University of Virginia Library Japanese Text Initiative poem translations from 'Masaoka Shiki' by Janine Beichman
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