Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Santoka Taneda

Pricks and pussies
Boiling together
In the overcrowded bath.

This is the most common translation of a poem by Yamaguchi born poet Santoka Taneda. The draincover is in Yuda Onsen, and I am informed that the meaning is read nowadays to mean that both men and women are welcome in Yuda Onsen's spas.

He was a very interesting poet, by all accounts an inveterate drunk who came under the influence of the Free Haiku Movement.

After what was probably a failed suicide attempt he became a monk and then spent the rest of his life wandering Japan, begging, and writing poems a la Basho.

His poetry, like much of Japanese "folk" culture is quite crude and earthy, displaying a very human and natural attitude. Those who prefer the sanitized Victorian/Puritan/Confucian version of japanese culture that prevails today may not like his stuff, but its worth searching out.


  1. Now that's poetry... ?;`)

    I have to say that I've mixed feelings about what's happened today to modern Japanese sensibilities. On one hand I think "about time!"... but these are generally moments of weakness. My other feeling is that "please don't lose your distinctive cultural values and morals!". We unfortunately seem to be rapidly converging to a very dull and grey existence as the OneWorld culture permeates our every thought. Hmmm - seems that I'm quite gloomy at the moment.

  2. Wow. Do you know where abouts he wandered? Just curious.

  3. he's an interesting guy..... plenty of info if you google him

  4. more in my blog
    Taneda Santooka 種田山頭火 Taneda Santoka