Reading an Evening Breeze: Buson’s Hokku in Translation

James Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter extends Shirane’s discussion of the myths surrounding the composition of haiku and echoes Sato’s attention to haiku translation practices in English. By examining the life and work of Yosa Buson (1716–1783), one of Japan’s major haiku poets, the chapter also considers various characteristics of haiku aesthetics, including the nature of the kireji, or “cut,” which separates a haiku (or hokku) into two parts and which Japanese scholar Fukumoto Ichir? claims is the form’s defining feature. Through a comparative analysis of multiple translations of the same haiku by Buson, coupled with English and Japanese-language commentary, the chapter brings Japanese critical modes of interpretation to bear on the English translation and editorial presentation of Buson’s work, thereby bridging Anglo-American and Japanese reading practices.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Global Haiku Reader
EditorsJames Shea, Grant Caldwell
Place of PublicationLondon; New York
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003293309
ISBN (Print)9781032275659, 9781032272658
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Reading an Evening Breeze: Buson’s Hokku in Translation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this