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  • The Travels and Poems of Matsuo Bashô

    Lars Vargö

    Chapter from the book: Larsson S. & af Edholm K. 2021. Songs on the Road: Wandering Religious Poets in India, Tibet, and Japan.

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    This chapter looks at the iconic 17th century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashô, who is known as the originator of haiku and is most famous for his travel-account Oku no hosomichi, ‘The Narrow Road to the Interior’. This account contains many references to Buddhist temples and legends, since the purpose of the trip was not only to “be one with nature” and write poetry, but also to visit religious sites. Bashô was a Buddhist, as well as a Shintôist, a Confucian, and a Daoist. He had studied Zen Buddhism, but had enough worldly attachment to not want to enter a monastery permanently. Through his travel journals, Bashô created an ideal world of itinerant monks and he is often hailed as a role-model for wandering religious poets.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Vargö, L. 2021. The Travels and Poems of Matsuo Bashô. In: Larsson S. & af Edholm K (eds.), Songs on the Road. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbi.g

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on June 22, 2021


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