Yosa Buson (1716-1783) demonstrated such great command in
haikai (comic linked verse)
and literati painting that he has been ranked with the poet Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) in the
former art and with the painter Ike no Taiga (1723-1776) in the later.
Buson was born in the town of Kemamura in Settsu Province (now in Osaka) near the Yodo
River. Around the age of twenty, he went to Edo (now Tokyo) to study haikai. However, with the
death of his teacher Hayano Hajin (also known as Yahantei Sōa), Buson, who was twenty-seven at
the time, decided to travel around from the northern Kantō region to Tōhoku to Tango (in
Kyoto Prefecture). Thereafter, he settled and lived in Kyoto, where he produced many
imaginative comic verses and paintings, until his death at age sixty-eight.
This exhibition explores Buson as both a master of haikai and painting through approximately
150 works, including materials related to comic linked verses and letters to his pupils, as well
as his masterful paintings. Transcend time and space and enjoy the works of this artist who lived
freely like a bird.
Dated Meiwa 8 (1771) Album,
Ike no Taiga and Buson collaborated on this work inspired by the poems
of the late Ming-dynasty literatus Li Yu (1610-1680). Here, Buson
brilliantly captured nature’s vicissitudes by depicting the seasons and
3. The Scent of Flowers (with accompanying poem)
How fragrant are the blossoms, Now that the lights of Saga
are fading. How they fade. Buson composed this verse and
painted a row of houses and a bamboo thicket with the
mountains of Saga in the background onto this fan.