Mukai Kyorai

Hear about Mukai Kyorai on Episode 41 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Mukai Kyorai
Mukai Kyorai

Mukai Kyorai

Mukai Kyorai (向井 去来), real name Mukai Kanetoki2, lived from 1651 to 1704, born to a physician from Nagasaki.1 As he grew up he excelled in martial arts, but by the age of 23 he decided to give this up to persue poetry,2 this led him to meet Bashō at Ise in 1686.3

As a disciple of Bashō we see him involved in the composition of different kasen (thirty-six verse sequences) with Bashō and others. One entitles Ichinaka wa (Out in the Streets) included 12 poems by him.1 He has become known as one of the ten main disciples (Bashō Juttetsu) of Bashō.3

He and Bashō grew close and so whenever Bashō would visit Kyoto he would stay in Mukai’s country cottage called Rakushisha, and this is where Bashō would write his diary the Saga Nikki.2

After Bashō‘s death he remained a faithul disciple, working with Nozawa Bonchō to compile the haika collection called the Sarumino in 1691.1

In 17043 he writes the Kyoraisho, one of the main resources on Bashō’s ideas and ideals1, it also includes discussions on the concepts of fueki ryūkō (permanance and change) sabi (loneliness) and shiori (indefinable quality of pathos).2


1. Carter, S.D. (1991) ”Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology”. California: Stanford University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
3. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.

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