Basho Matsuo

By Staff Writer
March 17, 2023
Matsuo Basho was a master of haikai-style poetry. Born in 1644 in Iga in Mie Prefecture, Matsuo lost his father at the age of 13 and began working for another family. At the age of 18, Basho was introduced to haikai at his family's house. At the age of 40, he lost his mother and set out on a journey to visit her grave. From that time on, his life was inseparable from traveling. Basho traveled several times in his life and left behind travelogues. The most famous travelogue is "Oku no Hosomichi" (The Narrow Road to the Interior). It describes his long journey from Tohoku to Gifu, traveling through the Hokuriku region. At the age of 50, Basho fell ill and died in Osaka, where he was traveling. It can be said that his life was devoted to his passion for travel and haikai.
Statue of Basho in his later years
Illustration of Basho next to one of his poems, on a wall beneath the Senju Ohashi Bridge, marking where he left on one of his journeys
Statue of Basho near his home in Fukagawa, Tokyo
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