The Joei Shikimoku is not a voluminous document: it contains only fifty-one brief articles, which the poet Basho compares to the luminosity of the full moon. It has been excellently translated and annotated by Mr. J. Murdoch, in his admirable History of Japan, summarizes its provisions lucidly.
A Lafcadio Hearn may write delightfully about that special seventeen syllable form of Japanese verse known as the hokku. Here is a hokku by Basho, one of the most skilled composers in that form. Waga tomo ni sen Neru kocho!" Wake up! "Clad in blue silk and bright embroidery At the first call of Spring the fair young bride, On whom as yet Sorrow has laid no scar, Climbs the Kingfisher's Tower.
Matsuo Basho Was the father of the haikai and the hokku, and his mantle descended upon Kikaku, Ransetsu, Kyoriku, and other celebrities. They travelled round the country popularizing their art and immensely expanding the field of literature. The craft of penmanship flourished equally, and was graced by such masters as Hosoi Kotaku and Kitamura Sessan.
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