Matsushima 松岛 is a very famous utamakura in Bashō’s Haiku. Matsushima is a group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture in Sendai city.

屏幕快照 2016-03-08 上午1.50.52
Click here to view this in full on the UBC maps collection site.

When comparing the Dai Nihon saiken dōchū zukan (lit. Detailed itinerary map of great Japan) in 1850 (above) and a modern day map, it is apparent that the location of Matsushima has not changed, but the surroundings have become very different.

屏幕快照 2016-03-08 上午1.51.20

As a famous utamakura, Matsushima is mentioned in Basho’s Haiku. One such poem is as follows.

morning and evening,
as if some one waits for me at mastsushima:
my unfulfilled love
asa yosa o / taga matsu shima zo/ kamiko kana (86)

MAIN201505070940000032313399730

Another passage from Barnhill’s Basho’s Journey written by Kawai Sora who travelled with Basho from The Narrow Road to the Deep North also mentions Matsushima.

Matsushima—
borrow the wings of the crane,
cuckoo
Matsushima ya / tsuru ni mi o kare / hototogisu (61)

MAIN201505070940000029754697129

Both of these two haiku write about Matsushima. However, they did not directly describe the scenery of Matsushima, but related the place to their feelings. It seems like Matsushima is not simply a place, or meisho, but somewhere close to their heart.

夏の松島遠望 (松島町 松島城展望塔)The view of Matsushima08 Aug, 2010
夏の松島遠望(松島町 松島城展望塔)A view of Matsushima (8 Aug, 2010)

 

Works Cited

Basho, Matsuo. and Barnhill, David Landis. Basho’s Haiku: Selected Poems of Matsuo Basho. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004. Project MUSE. Web. 8 Mar. 2016. <https://muse.jhu.edu/&gt;.

Basho, Matsuo. and Barnhill, David Landis. Basho’s Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005. Project MUSE. Web. 8 Mar. 2016. <https://muse.jhu.edu/&gt;.

All scenery images from http://japan.people.com.cn/n/2015/0507/c368549-26962640-7.html

 Contributor: Ning Yang

(Edited by Elle Marsh)

Advertisements