Matsuo Basho

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Matsuo Bashō, Matsuo Kinsaku, Matsuo Chūemon Munafusa
Enlightened Poet
Zen Buddhism
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Ueno, Japan
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
November 28, 1694


Matsuo Bash, born Matsuo Kinsaku, then Matsuo Chūemon Munafusa was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku. His poetry is internationally renowned, and within Japan many of his poems are reproduced on monuments and traditional sites.

Bashō was introduced to poetry at a young age, and after integrating himself into the intellectual scene of Edo he quickly became well-known throughout Japan. He made a living as a teacher, but renounced the social, urban life of the literary circles and was inclined to wander throughout the country, heading west, east, and far into the northern wilderness to gain inspiration for his writing. His poems were influenced by his firsthand experience of the world around him, often encapsulating the feeling of a scene in a few simple elements.


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