Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


Influences of Honchō ichinin isshu
on Bashō’s Saga nikki and Oku no hosomichi

CHEN Keran

(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies, Department of Japanese Literature)

Key words:

Bashō, Honchō ichinin isshu, Saga nikki, Oku no hosomichi, Hayashi Gahō, Japanese kanshi, haikai

Honchō ichinin isshu (HII, hereafter), a masterpiece written by Hayashi Gahō, represents the first full-fledged research on Japanese kanshi. It is included in the Shin koten bungaku taikei series of classical Japanese literature. Bashō’s Saga nikki (SGN) informs us that Bashō kept this book on the table in Kyorai’s Rakushisha lodge. We know that while staying at Rakushisha, Bashō read through HII and made personal notes on the poetry in the book. There is no doubt that SGN provides us with an important clue to a possible link between Bashō and writings by the Hayashi family. However, there has not been much work done on how relevant HII is in research on Bashō. This essay illustrates the nature and the characteristics of HII before discussing how HII may have influenced Bashō, focusing on Oku no hosomichi (ONH) and SGN in particular.

Bashō’s entries on April 29th and 30th in SGN could be viewed as notes made while reading the HII. I argue, based on a comparison between the last part of the April 25th entry and that of April 28th, that the main body of SGN and its self-created commentary are of a completely different nature, and that Bashō intentionally kept them separate. I made use of a version in possession of the Nomura family, one believed to be the most bona fide among the versions of SGN. Next, I will talk about Shimu, arguing that the poetry critique found in HII may have inspired Bashō to adopt the style of explanatory critique in his writing, based on observations from book five of HII.

This essay also points out that some of Bashō’s text shares certain characteristics found in the critiques by Hayashi Gahō, and demonstrates a possible link between Bashō and Japanese kanshi in HII by noting that some words Bashō used in ONH, Ryūshakuji, etc., actually come from books six and three of HII.