For All My Walking: Free-Verse Haiku of Taneda Santoka


For All My Walking: Free-Verse Haiku of Taneda Santoka In April , the Japanese poet Taneda Santoka set off on the first of many walking trips, journeys in which he tramped thousands of miles through the Japanese countryside These journeys were part of his religious training as a Buddhist monk as well as literary inspiration for his memorable and often painfully moving poems The works he wrote during this time comprise a record of his quest for spiritual enlightenmentAlthough Santoka was master of conventional style haiku, which he wrote in his youth, the vast majority of his works, and those for which he is most admired, are in free verse form He also left a number of diaries in which he frequently recorded the circumstances that had led to the composition of a particular poem or group of poems In For All My Walking, master translator Burton Watson makes Santoka s life story and literary journeys available to English speaking readers and students of haiku and Zen Buddhism He allows us to meet Santoka directly, not by withholding his own opinions but by leaving room for us to form our own Watson s translations bring across not only the poetry but also the emotional force at the core of the poemsThis volume includesof Santoka s poems and of excerpts from his prose diary, along with a chronology of his life and a compelling introduction that provides historical and biographical context to Taneda Santoka s work

  • Hardcover
  • 128 pages
  • For All My Walking: Free-Verse Haiku of Taneda Santoka
  • Santōka Taneda
  • English
  • 01 March 2018
  • 023112516X

About the Author: Santōka Taneda

Sant ka Taneda was a Japanese writer and haiku poet, in his last years Zen monk He is known for his free verse haiku.



10 thoughts on “For All My Walking: Free-Verse Haiku of Taneda Santoka

  1. Eadweard Eadweard says:

    wind from the seabutterflies in embankment weeds never resting husband and wife quarreling night spiders dangle downthis body still alive scratching itcurt unfriendly woman body big in late pregnancysound of waves far off close by how much longer to live January 9,1932 These days again I ve been waking up every morning with a hard on I think of the well known saying, Never lend money to a man whose cock won t stand up in the morning somewhere inside my head a crow is cawingdown the weedy wind from the seabutterflies in embankment weeds never resting husband and wife quarreling night spiders dangle downthis body still alive scratching itcurt unfriendly woman body big in late pregnancysound of waves far off close by how much longer to live January 9,1932 These days again I ve been waking up every morning with a hard on I think of the well known saying, Never lend money to a man whose cock won t stand up in the morning somewhere inside my head a crow is cawingdown the weedy path I remember to the gravesnothing elsebut to diemountains misted overi sitin the beauty of grasses as they witherhangoverand blossomsscattering scatteringnarrow pathdeep into green leavesa gravebellybuttonit gathers upall the sweatwaiting for whateach day each day fallen leaves pile up

  2. S.B. Wright S.B. Wright says:

    Taneda Santoka was a tragic figure his mother and brother suicided, his father squandered the family fortune and Taneda himself battled an alcoholism that he knew had the better of him.This tragic life, Burton Watson suggests, is part of the reason he is reserved a place in Japanese literary history the Japanese apparently have an appreciation for those that mess up their lives completely the other is his contribution to and continuing development of, Japanese Free Verse Haiku Haiku without Taneda Santoka was a tragic figure his mother and brother suicided, his father squandered the family fortune and Taneda himself battled an alcoholism that he knew had the better of him.This tragic life, Burton Watson suggests, is part of the reason he is reserved a place in Japanese literary history the Japanese apparently have an appreciation for those that mess up their lives completely the other is his contribution to and continuing development of, Japanese Free Verse Haiku Haiku without Kigo and syllable restriction For All My Walking is a collection of Taneda s daily diaries and the Haiku he wrote, including travels that he intended would echo Basho s own The Haiku are presented in chronological order and when taken from published collections Watson notes this Interspersed between the Haiku are diary entries which Watson has included to give some context to the poems and to give us a sense of the poet.In that regard I find similarities with earlier works such as Basho s Narrow Road to the Interior but perhaps this owes something to Watson s arrangement rather than the intention of the poet ie Watson s selections create a narrative whereas Basho creates his own.Basho isreserved and in the main directs his gaze outward Taneda s diaries seem to focusheavily on himself, his battle with alcoholism and his struggle to maintain a living.In presenting the Free Verse Haiku Watson has this to say My own interest in Sant ka s work centerson the poetry itself, particularly the manner in which it experiments with different poem lengths and syntactic patterns, and the challenge that these present to the translator Since free style haiku do not adhere to the conventional 5 7 5 sound pattern, the translator is free to break themor less wherever he or she wants or, like Hiroaki Sato in his translations of Ozaki H sai s free style haiku, to translate them as a single line in English I have regularly broken my own translations into two or three lines in the hope that this division will help readers grasp the syntax of the poem and slow down the reading.Modern Japanese in nearly all cases requiressyllables or sound symbols to express a given idea or image than does modern English, and so English translations of Japanese haiku, if not deliberately padded, will almost inevitably turn out to be briefer in wording than the originals And when confronted with a poem such as Sant ka s haiku oto wa shigure ka, one comes out with something looking like this that soundthe rain My initial impression of the Haiku were that they felt a bit flat By the end of the book, whether it was through sympathy with Taneda or familiarity, I did gain some appreciation He reads at times like English Language Haiku possibly because of the lack of Kigo or allusion or perhaps I should say that some English language Haiku start to resemble Taneda s work.I can t help but feel though that the change from Traditional to Free Verse Haiku would bekeenly felt in the original Japanese and that in translating, quite a lot is lost Take for example the beautiful sound that the poem above makes in Japanese, which owing to its brevity can t really be replicated in English.Taneda can be extremely self involved at times and at others he captures what is going on around him in reverent detail July 11, 1938 Today is the day the ashes of the dead soldiers arrive I caught the 10 o clock bus to Yamaguchi At Yamaguchi Station, a guard of honor, families of the deceased, onlookers standing around under the glaring summer sky, waiting, myself among them Hot, hot Now and then, spatters of rain, like tears from the sky.A little past twelve the train arrived Ah two hundred and thirty or forty some dead, a triumphal return with no hurrahs, a pitiful scene Alongside the white boxes, two or three memorial bunches of bellflowers, two or three pigeons appearing, circling in the sky above Sounds of muffled weeping, muted volley of rifles, sad notes of bugles, as the procession moves solemnly through the crowd, taking the dead men back to their home unit.213 Home Front valiantly that toopitifully that toowhite boxes 214 Home Front drops of sweatplop ploppingon blank white boxes 215 Home Front town festivalas bonescoming home for it 216 Home Front scarecrow toobravely wavingthe Rising Sun flag Taneda is still popular in Japan today, so I think that in addition to suggesting he be read to improve a Haiku poet s historical knowledge, there s an argument to be had for studying the work of someone who must surely still have an effect on the writing of modern Haiku Note I am using the term syllable loosely here to represent the Japanese symbol sounds

  3. Ryan Ryan says:

    Another succinct but insightful entry in Colombia s Asian Studies series I m grateful for this small window into a world otherwise inaccessible due to language and cultural barriers Burton Watson is a skilled translator he approaches Japanese with a musicality, lucidity, and inventiveness equal to that which he approaches Chinese e.g his rendition of the Lotus Sutra His selection here emphasizes the humor and the sadness, the ambition and the humility of Santoka s workthe inclusion o Another succinct but insightful entry in Colombia s Asian Studies series I m grateful for this small window into a world otherwise inaccessible due to language and cultural barriers Burton Watson is a skilled translator he approaches Japanese with a musicality, lucidity, and inventiveness equal to that which he approaches Chinese e.g his rendition of the Lotus Sutra His selection here emphasizes the humor and the sadness, the ambition and the humility of Santoka s workthe inclusion of key diary excerpts and the short but rich introduction do much to enliven the poetry as well Finally, the timeline of major events in Santoka s life reveals how much it was marked by tragedy yet he never dwells on his losses of fortune, of family to multiple suicides, etcDespite his recurring depression, alcoholism, hunger, poverty, and failure, Santoka is a likeable figure whatever his status in literature something I m unqualified to evaluate anyway.Certainly, he was well aware of his failings, atoning for minor infractions, often demonstrating a sort of imposter syndrome as both an artist and a priest To do takuhatsu and then not devote yourself to religious practice as a disciple of the Buddha should is to solicit aid by fraudulent means To go on begging expeditions and then squander the resources you receive this too is a species of fraud If you claim to be a Buddhist but fail todevote all your energies to the way of the Buddha, what is this but to engage in malpractice At other times, he seems to give up on transcending his foibles, but manages to face his flawed nature with candor and humor Sake is my koan If I could understand sake if I could learn the true way to enjoy sake, it would be my awakening, my breakthrough While he met with despair, he seems rarely to have succumbed to it instead he persevered with his walking, his begging, and his haiku composition habits of an all weather tramp, maintained over several years that finally gave shape if not authority to his religious and artistic practice

  4. Books on Asia Books on Asia says:

    Anyone who has ever hiked or walked for days at a time will really enjoy Santoka s poems He is one of Japan s many renowned poet wanderers the most famous being Matsuo Basho who hit the road for inspiration to write their Haiku Sant ka did many walks, including a 3 year journey and another in Shikoku Ultimately, he settled in a hut in Matsuyama, Ehime ken In one of his few sanguine moments, he says, I am poor, but I am at peace Perhaps my favorite Sant ka poem from this volume the deep Anyone who has ever hiked or walked for days at a time will really enjoy Santoka s poems He is one of Japan s many renowned poet wanderers the most famous being Matsuo Basho who hit the road for inspiration to write their Haiku Sant ka did many walks, including a 3 year journey and another in Shikoku Ultimately, he settled in a hut in Matsuyama, Ehime ken In one of his few sanguine moments, he says, I am poor, but I am at peace Perhaps my favorite Sant ka poem from this volume the deeper I go the deeper I go green mountains

  5. Ron Ron says:

    I saw a high recommendation for this, found it on Hoopla, and figured that I d give it a go It gives a glimpse into part of Taneda s life as he wanders around as a Buddhist monk begging The book contains haikus which describe things along with diary entries.

  6. Kamen Kamen says:

    Each step is an arrival Forget about past walking, don t think about future walking one step, another step, no long ago, no now, no east or west, one step equals totality.

  7. Chant Cowen Chant Cowen says:

    Tragic figure in Japanese history that somehow produces a work of great merit.

  8. Jeremy Jeremy says:

    Loved it Read for ENGL 7.37 with Professor Huntington.

  9. Ad Ad says:

    Taneda Santoka 1882 1940 was both haiku poet and mendicant priest, the last of Japan s priest poets, a sort of Japanese Jack Kerouac, who in recent decades has becomes immensely popular His haiku are in free verse form, in other words he doesn t obey the 5 7 5 structure nor does he use season words this after his teacher, Ogiwara Seisensui 1884 1976 , who started the free style school of haiku As a mendicant priest Santoka practiced walking meditation instead of zazen it is estimated Taneda Santoka 1882 1940 was both haiku poet and mendicant priest, the last of Japan s priest poets, a sort of Japanese Jack Kerouac, who in recent decades has becomes immensely popular His haiku are in free verse form, in other words he doesn t obey the 5 7 5 structure nor does he use season words this after his teacher, Ogiwara Seisensui 1884 1976 , who started the free style school of haiku As a mendicant priest Santoka practiced walking meditation instead of zazen it is estimated he walked about 28,000 miles, all over Japan, but mostly in Kyushu and other parts of southwestern japan he was born in Hofu in Yamaguchi Pref He was addicted to alcohol and spent the money he earned with his begging in the first place on booze Besides his poetry, his diaries are interesting, as they document his difficult life In For All My Walking Burton Watson gives us a representative sampling of Santoka s free verse haiku with excerpts from the diaries, which brings the poetry to life As always, Watson s translations are very reliable and include romaji transcriptions of the haiku There is also an excellent introduction.Also read my blog at

  10. mahatmanto mahatmanto says:

    ini keren.saya tidak mengira bahwa haiku ternyata ada beberapa lagi jenisnya tidak melulu 5 7 5.tidak mengira pula bahwa ada tokoh haiku selain matsuo basho, yang terkenal itu.taneda santouka, lahir di peralihan abad XIX XX, mewarisi kegelisahan dunia masa itu kegelisahan antara mempertahankan yang ada dengan menerima hal hal baru yang belum menjanjikan apa apa.rumah tangganya porak poranda, ditambah kebiasaannya minum, ia mengelana mungkin lebih tepat menggelandang, karena ia hidup secara be ini keren.saya tidak mengira bahwa haiku ternyata ada beberapa lagi jenisnya tidak melulu 5 7 5.tidak mengira pula bahwa ada tokoh haiku selain matsuo basho, yang terkenal itu.taneda santouka, lahir di peralihan abad XIX XX, mewarisi kegelisahan dunia masa itu kegelisahan antara mempertahankan yang ada dengan menerima hal hal baru yang belum menjanjikan apa apa.rumah tangganya porak poranda, ditambah kebiasaannya minum, ia mengelana mungkin lebih tepat menggelandang, karena ia hidup secara bebas menjadi rahib dan berbusana seperti rahib pengelana, tapi meminta minta tidak atas nama kuil atau biara tertentudalam pengelanaannya itu ia melahirkan haiku bebas yang dikumpulkan dalam buku hariannya yang kemudian diterbitkan dalam buku ini.mengelana, buatnya adalah suatu proses menuju dirinya sendiri.dan haiku yang dilahirkannya merupakan penyaksian proses ini haiku dia bukan sarana deskriptif mengenai hal hal yang dia lihat, rasakan, tapi adalah penjelmaan hal hal tadi.oto wa shigeru kabunyi ituhujankah diterjemahkan dan diberi pengantar oleh burton watson dengan bagus dan bahasa yang jelas, saya terpesona oleh haiku haiku taneda ini

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