WKD - spring rain


It has been rather a dry spell lately and wildfires started in some parts of Western Japan. So today the sounds on my roof and the rain is very welcome,
thinkng of the dry woods and the wet rice paddies.

rain in spring -
the rain of today is
spring rain

春の雨 今日の雨なら 春雨じゃ

In the Japanese language, there are some fine differences, concerning the kigo about natural phenomenon.

Haiku poets in Japan observe nature very closely.
There are different types of rain, which makes it so pleasant to read the different Japanese haiku with different feelings toward how the rain is experienced.
This is the true power of kigo when used properly in Japanese haiku.

And it is a challenge for the translator, I must admit.
But it should at least be attempted to show the differences:

rain in spring (haru no ame 春の雨) :
that could be any kind of rain, usually an unpleasant cold one, during springtime.

spring-rain, spring rain (harusame 春雨):
harusame is the word for Chinese glassnoodles. This is a kind of soft, welcome rain for the forest and the rice paddies which are so dry from the winter time.

RAIN in various kigo  


Tr. Gabi Greve

- - - - - Matsuo Basho

春雨や 蜂の巣つたふ 屋根の漏り
harusame ya hachi no su tsutau yane no mori

spring rain -
drips from a wasp's nest
through the leeking roof

harusame ya futaba ni moyuru nasubidane

spring rain -
two leaves sprout
from the eggplant seedling

harusame ya yomogi o nobasu kusa no michi

spring rain -
the mugwort grows
along a road with weeds

bushoosa ya kaki-okosareshi haru no ame

such laziness -
finally woken up
by rain in spring

Written in Iga Ueno, at the home of his brother in 1691 元禄4年2月頃. Basho age 48

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 and the Spring Rain .

Buson has quite a lot of poems about the spring rain!


Kobayashi Issa

harusame ya sakazuki misete kitsune yobu

spring rain -
I show my sake cup
and call the foxes

harusame ya Kamakura suzume nan to naku

spring rain -
the sparrows of Kamakura
how they sing!

春雨や ばくち崩と夜談義と
harusame ya bakuchi kuzure to yo dangi to

spring rain -
some old gamblers
and a night sermon

meguri-bi to haikai-bi nari haru no ame

a day of menstruation
becomes a day for haikai ...
rain in spring 

o-meguri  お回り is another expression for menstruation.

David Lanoue has this version

meguri hi to haikai hi nari haru no ame

a day for wandering
a day for haiku...
spring rain

Issa Haiku with Meguri
and written with Chinese characters
巡り / 廻り
how many times / ambling down my road / makeing the rounds / after twists and turns / circling
浅間巡り - Mount Asama's pilgrims


Tr. and Comment by Chris Drake

kata-hoo wa yuki no furu nari haru no ame

on the other side
they say it's snowing --
spring rain

This hokku is from the 2nd month (March) of 1822, when Issa is either in his hometown or a village near it. His hometown was on a plateau nearly surrounded by mountains, and beyond the mountains to the northwest was an area of very heavy snowfall, so he may looking toward the north or northwest.

Spring rain is coming down around him, but travelers tell of snow coming down only a few miles away. Perhaps this feeling of being near the border of snow and rain physically suggests to Issa his own existence as a borderer, living in a hometown that only feels like half a hometown while his mind is so often with haijin in Edo, in the area around Edo, and in other parts of Shinano, the area in which he now lives. Of course, as a haijin himself, he always lives halfway between experience and representation.


(A Small Boat in the Spring Rain
Kawase Hasui 川瀬巴水, 1920)

April rain –
the boatman watches
a flying skylark

- Shared by Virginia Popescu
Joys of Japan, 2012


kooen de hashiru kodomo to haru no ame

In the park
kids running...
Spring rain

Alberto Sanz

Look at the haiga HERE
source : www.targetjpn.com
Tuesday, 02 March 2010


bands of heavy rain
play music with the wind...
spring concert

- Shared by Pat Geyer ‎
Joys of Japan, March 2012


harusame ya kyoo no shokuji wa harusame ja

spring rain -
lunch today is
harusame noodles


RAIN in various kigo  




anonymous ch said...

Gabi san,
Thank you so much for your nice explanation!
Also related to Spring natural phenomenon I wonder about the word " shunrai " or Spring Thunder. Does it have any other nuances rather than a probable
unpleasant noise in the middle of a quiet Spring day...? My feeling when I imagine a thunder in Spring is that of a noise that disturbs me (or even threatens my plans to enjoy the Spring time related outdoor activities...)
What do you think?
Thank you!!!

anonymous said...

Hey Gabi... thanks for the nifty post.

Anonymous said...

I love the differences, Gabi.
Thank you for the information.

Anonymous said...

How interesting, Gabi!
Our English language can be quite dull...
I love the idea of such variations.

anonymous aha said...

Goodness Gabi, I would never wiggle your translations but ...

Anonymous said...

Gabi....the poem has a nice rhythm to it but I wonder about the multiple use of multiple words.....

Gabi Greve said...

Dear Friends,
This is mostly an educational one, just an excuse to tell you about the different kinds of rain kigo we have in spring
grin... Gabi

anonymous, cherry said...

Beautiful sound
Spring thunder
Parched earth ~ listens

Here in my part of Florida, even the weeds are struggling.
The sound was followed by a welcome torrent.

anonymous said...


spring rain
the fragrance of mangoes once again
fill the air

Manu Kant

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

harusame no koshita ni tsutau shimizu kana

near temple Hasedera, Nara

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