Suma and Iro no Hama

[ . BACK to worldkigo TOP . ]

Two famous places of Japan

Suma and Iro no Hama
- - - - - Sumadera 須磨寺 Temple Sumadera
須磨 と 色の浜


observance kigo for late spring

Suma no misogi 須磨の御禊 (すまのみそぎ)
purification at Suma
..... Suma no harai 須磨の祓(すまのはらい)

Prince Genji came to exile in Suma and performed a purification ritual upon his arrival there on the seventh day of the third month, jooshi 上巳 (of the lunar calendar), on the day of the snake (mi no hi 巳の日). Now celebrated on March 3.

Genji had part of the beach separated by a curtain, and called a calendar shaman (onmyooshi 陰陽師) to perform the rituals. The shaman put a folded paper doll on a small paper boat and floated it to take away the bad fortune of the prince. The prince recited the following poem:

shirazarishi ooumi no hara ni nagarekite
hitokata ni ya wa mono wa kanahsiki

carried to the plain
of the vast and unknown sea,
this simulacrum
learnd for the first time the sadness
encumbering all exiled things
Tr. Edwin A. Cranston

While the ceremony was not yet finished, a strong rain started and thunder roared. So all left for shelter in a hurry.

CLICK for original . nara-u.ac.jp
source : nara-u.ac.jp

matsu chirite ningyoo uku ya Suma no umi

pines scatter
and the doll floats away -
sea of Suma

Matsuse Seisei 松瀬青々 (1869 - 1937)


CLICK for more photos !

sabishisa ya Suma ni kachitaru hama no aki

Lonelier even than Suma -
Standing on this beach
The end of autumn

source : Basho - The Narrow Road to the North
Tr. John Tran & Tamiko Nakagawa

loneliness —
superior even than Suma,
autumn on this beach

Tr. Barnhill

. . . The beach was doted with a few fisherman's huts and a dilapidated Lotus Flower temple. We drank tea, warmed up sake, and were overwhelmed by the loneliness of the evening.

Loneliness -
an autum beach judged
auperior to Suma's.

Tr. Shirane

Memorial Stone of this haiku

© PHOTO www.ese.yamanashi.ac.jp

Oku no Hosomichi - - - - Station 41 - Tsuruga 敦賀 - - -
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

- - - - - More haiku by Matsuo Basho 芭蕉

Suma no ama yasaki ni naku ka hototogisu

a Suma fisherman
ready to shoot an arrow --
a hototogisu's cry?

According to Basho's journal, this haiku alludes to the fact that Suma was the site of a fierce battle between the Genji and Heike clans in the 12th century.
(For further infoormation, see Bashō and His Interpreters, p. 198)
Suma no ama is most probably one of the female divers.

Sumadera ya fukanu fue kiku konoshita yami

temple Sumadera -
I listen to a flute nobody plays
in the darkness under the trees

MORE - discussion of various translations
. WKD : The Flute and Haiku .
Taira no Atsumori 平敦盛 (1169 - 1184)

. . . CLICK here for Photos of the temple !

source : facebook

須磨寺 at temple Sumadera


Station 42 - Ironohama Discussion
"The Narrow Road to the Deep North"

Sabishisa ya... (Lonlier I thought).
The season word is aki indicating autumn. The line hama no aki is short for Ironohama no aki. The autumn scene at Ironohama is full of bitter-sweet melancholy.

The autumn scene at Ironohama is full of bitter-sweet melancholy. In the past the beach at Suma was considered melancholy as mentioned in The Tale of Genji, In the No play Matsukaze, and in the accounts of the battle at Ichinotani. The poem says, "I myself am familiar with autumn at Suma, but this is more melancholy still."

A passage from the Genji says,
"At Suma melancholy autumn winds were blowing. Genji's house was some distance from the sea, but at night the wind that blew over the barriers, now as in Yukihira's day, seemed to bring the surf to his bedside. Autumn was hushed and lonely at a place of exile."
(Seidensticker, abridged, p. 173.)

is a word of judgement used in awarding the prize in a poetry competition. Basho is comparing the melancholy autumn of Suma and Ironohama as though they were works of art. The particle ni makes the comparative element clear. Basho opens the poem dramatically with the line Sabishisa ya. Then he compares the two locations and gives the award for autumn melancholy to Ironohama.

This opening line is characteristic of Basho as we see in other poems which begin Shizukasa ya or Suzushisa ya or Arigata ya, etc. We hear echoes of the Genji throughout this passage, but I wonder if we also hear Kamo no Chomei when he wrote in Mumyosho that the height of elegance was weeping tears while watching evening fall.

Sadder and much more
Forlorn even than at Suma
Is autumn on this shore.

Tr. Britton

more overwhelming than Suma
beach's fall

Tr. Cormann

Ah, what loneliness!
More desolate than Suma,
this beach in autumn.

Tr. McCullough

The lonely sadness,
Exceeding even that of Suma Beach,
These shores of autumn.

Tr. Miner

Lonlier I thought
Than the Suma beach -
The closing of autumn
On the sea before me.

Tr. Nobuyuki Yuasa

quote from the University of Oregon

Oku no Hosomichi - - - - Station 42 - Ironohama 色の浜 - - -
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. WKD : Matsuo Basho in Tsuruga, Ironohama



CLICK for more photos !

Until not so long ago, Suma bay, west of Kobe, was one of the most famous scenic spots in ancient Japan, a landscape characterized by pine trees and white sandy beaches. Suma is already an important poetic subject in the 8th century Manyoshu anthology and is also the name of a chapter in the Genji Monogatari.
Since the Heian-period, the beach has been poetically associated with the full moon of autumn.

Apparently, it was quite a lonely place that inspired susceptible visitors to a melancholy mood. On top of that, Suma was the location of a dramatic battle of the Taira-Minamoto wars of 1180-85, later celebrated in the Heike Monogatari.

Basho traveled here in 1688 in search of those poetic allusions and was followed by Buson, Shiki and Hosai. Sumadera, not far from the coast, is an old, esoteric temple that still attracts a flourishing folklore of religious customs. The grounds are graced by many haiku stones as well as tanka poems. More kuhi can be found in Suma-ura Park, which is perhaps the closest one can get to the beach that has now been buried under a highway.

Basho gives a description of Suma in the last part of his travel diary 'Manuscript in my Knapsack' (Oi no kobumi). The essence of Suma Bay, its sadness and loneliness, was to be appreciated most of all in autumn. Suma was famous for the moon of that season. Basho visited Suma in summer and although he viewed the moon, it was not the famous, full moon of autumn. Therefore, a very important aspect was lacking, as if there was no moon at all. In a humorous tribute to the locus genii of Suma, Basho wrote:


the moon is present
but seems absent
summer in Suma

Suma temple is one of the oldest temples in the Kobe area and still very popular with worshipers. It belongs to Shingon Buddhism and is dedicated to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. The extensive grounds are full to the brim with monuments, from haiku stones to quaint Buddhas and Jizos, modern memorials and statues. It is veritable storehouse of historical, literary and popular religious lore and I come here after seeing the kuhi in Suma-ura Park.

Suma Temple -
hearing a silent flute
under dark trees

fue no ne ni nami mo yorikitaru Suma no aki

to the flute's tone
the waves also approach
autumn in Suma

Tr. Ad G. Blankestijn

- - - - -

miwataseba / nagamureba mireba / Suma no aki


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



Awaji shima Kayou chidori no Naku koe ni
Ikuyo nezamenu Suma no sekimori

Guard of Suma Gate,
From your sleep, how many nights
Have you awakened
At the cries of sanderlings,
Flying from Awaji Island?

78 - Minamoto no Kanemasa 源兼昌

. Ogura Hyakunin Isshu Poems 小倉百人一首 .


Genji Monogatari, The Tale of Genji 源氏物語 and haiku

. Tsunashiki Tenmangu Shrine 綱敷天満宮 .
near temple Sumadera in Suma-Ura Park 須磨浦公園


Small Daruma papermachee doll
from a store in Suma, Kobe.

© 見っけものTen 神戸市須磨区須磨浦通


. mi no hi no harae 巳の日の祓
purification on the day of the snake
Asian Lunar Calendar


. Fudō Myō-ō, Fudoo Myoo-Oo 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
Acala Vidyârâja – Vidyaraja – Fudo Myoo .

Sumadera 須磨寺 and Fudo Myo-O

source : facebook

source : www.sumadera.or.jp/about

- quote -
"Suma-dera Temple", located at Harima-ku in Kobe city,
is the great head temple of Harima group of Shingon Buddhism, which principal image is Shokannon. It is said that fishermen raised Shokannon statue offshore and Monkyo-shonin relocated it to the current place in Heian period; people believe that this episode is the beginning of the temple. The temple is known across the country as an old and famous temple that is deeply related to Genji family and Heike family.
Thus, there are a large number of historical sites lincluding "the Flute of Aoba" cherished by deceased Atsumori Taira-no, a bell of Benkei, a mound of Atsumori's head, pine which Yoshitsune sat on. Those who visited here in remembrance of Genji family and Heike family, include many literary people and there are stelae of Haiku read by Masaoka Shiki and Matsuo Basho inside the temple. Although its formal name is "Joyasan Fukushoji", the temple has been called "Harima-dera" from the past and been familiar to people through the ages.
- source : r.gnavi.co.jp -

. aoba no fue 青葉の笛 flute with green leaves .





Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

tsuki mite mo / mono tarawazu ya / Suma no natsu

Matsuo Basho

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...


tsuki wa aredo / rusu no yō nari / Suma no natsu

Matsuo Basho

rusu - nobody at home