Finally, in our brief look at the great haiku masters of Japan, we come to Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902). Shiki gave us haiku as we know it today. He was the one who counseled writing from life, just as we see it. He did not disdain imaginary images for haiku, but he told us to prefer what was real because it made for better haiku.
Other pearls of Shiki’s advice, from Henderson:
Write to please yourself. If your writings do not please yourself, how can you expect them to please anybody else?
Remember perspective. Large things are large, but small things are also large if seen close up.
Know all kinds of haiku, but have your own style.
In his short life, Shiki revitalized the very art of haiku, which had fallen into disrepute after Issa’s death. He gave haiku its name (formerly hokku), its modern values, founded a school of haiku and published a haiku magazine. His last years were spent in bed, in tremendous pain from tuberculosis which spread from his lungs into his spine. He continued to write to the very end.
I was a persimmon eater
who liked haiku