Basho


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Basho

(Matsuo Basho) (mät`so͞oō bä`shō), 1644–94, Japanese poet, critic, and essayist of the early Edo period. His literary name, Basho, is derived from the plantain trees [basho] near a hut built for him by a disciple. Basho played a central role in the development of haikuhaiku
, an unrhymed Japanese poem recording the essence of a moment keenly perceived, in which nature is linked to human nature. It usually consists of 17 jion (Japanese symbol-sounds).
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. He composed stanzas of haikai no renga (a sequence of linked verses, usually by a group of poets), whose opening, and most important, stanza (hokku) was later separated as the verse form haiku. A master of hokku and the integration of verses in a sequence, Basho imbued what was a social pastime with the spirit of ZenZen Buddhism,
Buddhist sect of China and Japan. The name of the sect (Chin. Ch'an, Jap. Zen) derives from the Sanskrit dhyana [meditation]. In China the school early became known for making its central tenet the practice of meditation, rather than adherence
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, creating a serious literary form capable of profound artistic expression. His poetry is noted for its sensitive exploration of nature of beauty, loneliness, suffering, and death. His later years were marked by several long and arduous journeys that provided the basis for his famous travel accounts. The Oku no hosomichi [narrow road to the interior], a reflection in poetry and prose on his travels through the northern hinterlands, is his masterpiece.

Bibliography

See M. Ueda, ed., Basho and His Interpreters (1992).

Basho

full name Matsuo Basho, originally Matsuo Munefusa. 1644--94, Japanese poet and travel writer, noted esp for his haiku
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