H3024 Haiku by Issa - Were my father here ...
These original, hand-lettered designs are perfect for personal and commercial use. For personal use the Adobe PDF designs are ideally suited for arts and crafts such as quilting, stained-glass, sewing - there is no limit to their uses. They are also perfect for tattoos and come with the line art that your tattoo artist will need to ink the design - they don't even have to know Japanese! Just print the design and you have all you need - and the designs are high-resolution images that can be easily resized. Personal use designs start at $14.95.
Commercial use designs come in three size (72, 300, and 600 dpi JPG). The lower resolution is suitable for images used on websites. The higher resolutions are suitable for all print illustrations such as for CD covers, books, magazines, and advertisements. These designs are subject to a generous licensing agreement. Prices start from $34.95.
NEW! We are proud to offer hand-lettered scrolls based on these designs. See below for samples and details.
This article is intended to be a scholarly work discussing the meaning and translation of this poem. Copyrights are retained by the original authors and used here under Fair Use Doctrine. We encourage you to support all the artists, as we have, by purchasing the referenced works.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
For help viewing the Japanese text see Displaying Japanese Characters
(5 designs in catalog)
This beautiful haiku was written by Issa after the death of his father. 
Issa wrote in "The Journal of My Father's Last Days" (chichi no shuuen nikki, 1807) , "Dejected, I threw up my hands in despair. The suffering, the grief in my heart as I could do nothing but wait for his final moments ... Even the gods showed no mercy. The night moved brightly into dawn, and about six o'clock, as though he had fallen into a deep sleep, Father breathed his last." 
David G. Lanoue writes in his excellent website Haiku of Kobayashi Issa, "Hiroshi Kobori comments: it is before sunrise and the sky is gradually changing to brighter transparence. 'Still dark on the surface of the earth, Issa recognizes the rice field to be green. His consciousness focuses on the future of himself faced with his father's death.'"
Asiatic Society of Japan suggests the translation:
Oh, that father was
here to watch with
David G. Lanoue suggests the translation:
if my father were here--
 Asiatic Society of Japan. (1932) Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan By Asiatic Society of Japan ser.2 v.9. University of California. 117.
 栗山理一 (1983) 蕪村集一茶集. 小学館. 日本. 278.
Haiku of Kobayashi Issa by David G. Lanoue has more than 9,000 Issa haiku with insightful commentaries.
Haiku of Kobayashi Issa - An archive of over 9000 Kobayashi Issa haiku and translations and insightful commentaries.
Jeffrey's Japanese <-> English Dictionary - This is an independent dictionary based on the Edict data maintained by Dr. Jim Breen of Monash University.
Haiku Source - A Selected Collection of Japanese Haiku - Includes a few English translations
Wikipedia - Haiku - Overview of Haiku including brief biographies of Japan's most influential poets