Masaoka Shiki, born under the name Masaoka Tsunenori, was a Japanese author, poet and literary critic during the Meiji period. Shiki participated in the coining of the term haiku, which replaced hokku. Born into a Samurai class family, he grew up in a modest home. His father was a low-ranking official and his mother was the daughter of a teacher. As a literary figure and poet, Shiki spent most of his time supporting the modernization of Japanese poetry.
Shiki has largely been known for revolutionizing poetry, especially haiku and tanka forms. Despite his modernist approach, much of his poetry maintained the traditional rules as opposed to free verse.
Masaoka Shiki became terminally ill and bedridden towards the end of the 19th century. He kept a journal from 1901 till 1902 where he documented his illness and its effects on his body. He also wrote many haiku in these journals until he passed away in the fall of 1902. Till today, Shiki continues to be part of the four great masters of haiku.