Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

August 21, 2011

Haiku Stones: Saikyoji, Otsu (Basho)

moon, look sad,
as I will tell the story
of Akechi's wife

tsuki sabiyo | Akechi ga tsuma no | hanashisen

[The haiku stone in Saikyoji]

Basho admired the wife of one Yugen of Ise, with whom he once lodged. The haiku master was very well taken care of during his stay and he used this haiku to praise Yugen's wife. The poem refers to another devoted wife, the spouse of Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-82), a 16th c. general who eventually would kill Oda Nobunaga. When still young, Akechi wanted to host a poetry party, but did not have the money to do so. To help him, his wife cut off her long black tresses and sold them.

The haiku stone stands in the grounds of Saikyoji temple, next to the grave of Akechi and his family. Akechi used to be lord of the castle that stood here in Sakamoto, between the foot of Mt Hiei and Lake Biwa. The temple is 25 min on foot from Keihan Sakamoto St. There is a beautiful Momoyama-period palace hall, while an impressive Amida statue adorns the Main Hall.