Kyoshi Takahama

Kyoshi Takahama was one of the disciples of Masaoka Shiki and close friends of Kawahigashi Hekigodo.  In fact, Kyoshi met Masaoka Shiki through Kawahigashi while they were in school together.  Shiki gave him his pen name “kyoshi.”

Kyoshi was born in February of 1874 in the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture.  Like many others of his time, Kyoshi was born into a samurai family.  He dropped out of school early on and moved to Tokyo to study Japanese literature from the Edo period.  He quit going to the Tokyo Senmon Gakko university and took up a job as an editor and literary critic for a Japanese magazine.  Meanwhile, Kyoshi wrote his own haiku poetry and played around with the pattern of syllables.

Unlike other haiku masters of his time, Kyoshi aimed to maintain the traditional style of haiku, including Kigo, or the season word.  He often rejected modern attempts to exclude the seasons in haiku poetry.  Aside from his poetry, Kyoshi also wrote a full length novel called Haikaishi, or “The Haiku Master.”  He also published commentary on the structure and composition of haiku.  Throughout his entire life, Kyoshi wrote up to 50,000 haiku, which later appeared in Japanese anthologies.

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