Mutsu chidori [School of Birds of Basho’s Travels].

21 full-page woodcuts. 30; 29; 26; 23; 31 folding leaves. Five vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers (wrappers rather rubbed & frayed), new stitching. Kyoto: Izutsuya Shobei; Edo: Nishimura Uhei, 1697.

First edition of this collection of haikai written by several members of the circle surrounding Matsuo Basho (1644-94), Japan’s best-loved author. The poems were gathered by Taihakudo Torin (d. 1719), a friend and disciple of Basho (there is speculation that Torin was Basho’s nephew or younger brother). In 1696, to prepare for the third anniversary of Basho’s death, Torin retraced Basho’s famous 1689 journey through the main island of Japan, which resulted in Basho’s best-known work, Oku no Hosomichi, a poetic diary in the form known as haibun, a combination of prose and haikai.

Torin, inspired by his own journey, decided to collect the poems and have them printed in the present work. The poems, arranged by the four seasons, and with a section of poems written at the time of the third anniversary of Basho’s death, were mainly written by a group of Edo-based poets and disciples of Basho.

Torin has furnished a Preface and some of the poems. Many haiku are printed with the names or pen names of the authors. There is an Afterword by Sodo Yamaguchi (1642-1716), haiku poet, flood-control expert, and close friend and disciple of Basho.

The second volume has a series of 20 attractive woodcuts of poets, including, on facing pages, Basho and his disciple (or nephew or younger brother) Torin.

Very good set. Extremely rare, with no copy in WorldCat. Minor worming in the final volume, mended.

Price: $5,500.00

Item ID: 7971

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