Takarai Kikaku was one of the early haiku poetry masters and a seasoned disciple of Matsuo Basho, one of the three great haiku masters. Takarai Kikaku was born in 1661 in Edo and was given the name Enomoto Kikaku at birth. Rather than following the career path of his father, who was an Edo doctor, Kikaku decided to become a professional haiku poet.
Kikaku wrote many haiku poems about the relationship between him and his master. He was one of the traditional Japanese haiku writers, but was still criticized by his master Basho. The subjects he chose to write about were much more crude than Basho’s. After the death of Basho, Kikaku was regarded as the master of haiku poetry until Yosa Buson came along.
One of the most important pieces of writing left behind by Kikaku has been his documentation and observations of Basho’s last days. Kikaku became a highly acclaimed haiku poet and the 300th anniversary of his death was commemorated in an international bilingual collaborative poem.