Essay Matsuo Basho's Inspiration

Essay Matsuo Basho's Inspiration

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Bashō’s Inspiration

Poetry is used to convey one’s feelings in an abstract writing of profound perception. When writing poetry, one’s perception must have inspiration in order to breathe life and produce picturesque imagery upon paper. During late 19th century Japan, a linked-verse form of poetry called haiku, formerly known as hokku, was created. It was utilized to signify an autonomous poetic form originating from medieval comic linked verse. Haikus often describes the occurrences of nature or seasons. A poet by the name of Matsuo Bashō mastered the form of haiku. He wrote a travel narrative called, “Narrow Road of the Interior”, by which haikus were inserted to convey his feelings towards the natural settings. Bashō provokes inspiration for his haikus from the historical foundation of the various landmarks engulfed in its natural setting. By doing this, he enhances the antiquity of the historical sites, while at the same time, appreciating the natural tranquility and beauty.
One of the first landmarks Bashō writes about in his narrative is the shrine located on the Nikkō Mountains. He explains that the mountain’s original name was “Nikōsan” meaning “Two-Storm Mountain”, until “The Great Teacher Kūkai” renamed it “Nikkō”, meaning sunlight, when he established the temple. Bashō combines the historical significance of the shrine with the serenity and refuge the place appears to give through its natural sunlight and landscape. In response, Bashō writes, “Ah, awesome sight!/on summer leaves and spring leaves,/the radiance of the sun!” (Bashō, p.609), in which he ends his visit to the shrine. The inspiration of the this haiku stems from the re-appellation of the mountains by the esteemed monk along with the “radiance of the s...


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...s takes a bit of sand to the front of the shrine. This was created by ‘the Second Pilgrim’, which was a name received by the head of the Ji sect in the Buddhist religion, regarding his ‘pursuance of a great vow.’
Bashō not only expresses his adoration for the natural scenery, but the ancient history as well. He acknowledges that the landmarks enhance significance of each natural setting. Anyone could venture out in order to establish appreciation for nature in its wildest forms, however knowing the history behind the various places gives reason for such appreciation. After a while, ancient history reverts back into nature as the world regenerates new life in order to keep balance. A long journey allows for one to reunite with the earth, and bask in the joys of nature and antiquity.

Darkness has fallen
the summer heat has settled
these tired eyes close shut.

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