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Seisensui Ogiwara

Ogiwara Seisensui
Born 16 June 1884(1884-06-16)
Tokyo Japan
Died 11 May 1976 (aged 91)
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
Occupation writer
Genres haiku poetry
In this Japanese name, the family name is Ogiwara.

Seisensui Ogiwara (荻原井泉水 Ogiwara Seisensui ?, 16 June 1884— 11 May 1976) was the pen-name of a Japanese haiku poet active in Taishō and Showa period Japan. His real name was Ogiwara Tōkichi.


Early life

Seisensui was born in what is now Minato, Tokyo, as the only son of a general goods retailer. Although he attended Seisoku Junior High School, he was expelled after publishing a student newspaper criticizing the school's educational methods and administration. After entering Azabu Junior High School, he quit drinking and smoking, seriously engaged in studying, and gained admission to Tokyo Imperial University. While a student, he became interested in writing haiku.

Literary career

Seisensui co-founded the avant-garde literary magazine Sōun ("Layered Clouds") in 1911, together with fellow haiku poet Kawahigashi Hekigoto. Ogiwawa was a strong proponent of abandoning haiku traditions, especially the "season words" so favored by Takahama Kyoshi, and even the 5-7-5 syllable norms. In his Haiku teisho (1917), he broke with Hekigoto and shocked the haiku world by advocating further that haiku be transformed into free verse. His students included Ozaki Hōsai and Taneda Santōka.

Seisensui left more than 200 works, including collections of haiku, essays, and travelogues. His principal anthologies are Wakiizuru mono (1920) and Choryu (1964). He also wrote a number of commentaries on the works of Matsuo Basho.

In 1965, he became a member of the Japan Art Academy.

Private life

Seisensui's wife and daughter perished in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and his mother died the same year. He moved to Kyoto briefly, and remarried in 1929. Returning to the Kantō area, he lived in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture from 1928, but moved to Azabu in Tokyo until his house was destroyed during World War II. He then moved back to Kamakura in 1944, where he lived until his death.

See also



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