Japan Art and Bats: Poetry by Yosa Buson

Japan Art and Bats: Poetry by Yosa Buson

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The esteemed artist Ohara Koson (1877-1945) focused on nature related to animals, birds, flowers, insects, and plants. Hence, despite also doing other types of art concerning woodblock prints, his art of Kacho-ga notably stands out.

His lovely art piece above of a bat fluttering at night hits the right chord.

The poetic genius of Yosa Buson (1716-1784) is legendary despite the passage of time. He deeply admired the high culture of China (the Middle Kingdom) despite Japan being mainly isolated during the Edo Period. Thus, Chinese and Japanese classics enriched Buson greatly.

Buson wrote:

A bat flits
in moonlight
above the plum blossoms.

The second print is by Hasegawa Settan (1778-1843) – who produced a very eclectic mixture of art. Accordingly, you have three delightful bats playing a game to see who can drink sake first – the innocence of this lovely art piece – irrespective of the real meaning, works a treat.

The final print is by Yamada Hōgyoku – who completed this in the 1830s. He was trained in the style and sophistication of Rinpa (Rimpa) – while focusing on other aspects of art and printmaking.

https://allpoetry.com/A-bat-flits – Translated by Robert Hass

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