Ihara Saikaku


1642

Togo Hirayama born into a well-off merchant family in Osaka.

1657

Begins to compose haikai no renga (linked verse).

1662

Recognized as a hakai master. Under the pen name Ihara Kakuei, he begins to establish himself as a popular haikai poet.

1670

Develops his own distinctive style of haikai poetry, which relies on the use of colloquial language to depict contemporary middle-class life. He also owns and runs a medium-sized business in Osaka.

1673

Changes his pen name to the one we recognise today.

1675

Wife dies.

He composes a thousand-verse hakai on her death in twelve hours, published as Haikai Dokugin Ichinichi (Haikai Single Day Thousand Verse).

Decides to become a lay monk and begins to travel all over Japan, leaving behind his three children to be cared for by his extended family and his business by his employees.

1677

Returns to Osaka to find that his thousand-verse haikai poem was wildly successful and popular. Now pursues a career as a professional writer.

1682

Publishes The Life of an Amorous Man. Gives up poetry for novels of the middle class in the Floating World.

1684

The Great Mirror of Beauties: Son of an Amorous Man

1685

Five Women Who Loved Love

1686

The Life of an Amorous Woman

Twenty Cases of Unfilial Children

1687

The Great Mirror of Male Love

Transmission of the Martial Arts

1688

The Eternal Storehouse of Japan

Tales of Samurai Honor

1692

Reckonings that Carry Men Through the World

1693

Dies.

 

And so it is that, inasmuch as he lives in this same Floating World as all of us, even a priest in December has little time for contemplation.

 

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