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Haiku of Kobayashi Issa

Kobayashi Issa was one of Japan's most prolific poets (learn more). He left in his journals over twenty thousand one-breath poems—then called haikai but today known as haiku. This website presents 10,000 of Issa's haiku in a searchable archive. Enjoy...

Search the Archive


Search tips Delete the words "erase this; type keyword" in the box. To look for haiku containing a single keyword, type it into the box and hit "Search." To search for multiple keywords in a haiku, enter them in the box separated by commas and without spaces (example: frog,croaking). Note that searches are case-sensitive (type "Buddha", not "buddha"). Use the "Year" drop-down menu to limit your results to a particular year.

More search options available with the Advanced Search. Search for keywords in the English translation, the rômaji transcription, or in the comments.

Random haiku Don't have time to read 10,000 poems by Issa at this moment? How about just one?.

Write like Issa cover Issa and the Meaning of Animals cover Issa and Being Human cover Issa's Best cover Pure Land Haiku cover

My Books about Issa—sales of which help pay for the continued commercial-free hosting of this website.

Write like Issa: a Haiku How-to offers six lessons on how to write haiku based on examples from Issa and from 21st-century poets who are following his creative path. Available in paperback ($9.99) and as an e-book for Kindle ($2.99).

Issa and the Meaning of Animals explores Issa's poetic vision of animals as fellow travelers in a shared world. Available in paperback ($12.99) and as an e-book for Kindle and Nook ($2.99).

Issa and Being Human: Haiku Portraits of Early Modern Japan explores Issa's poetic answer to the question, What does it mean to "be born human"? Available as a paperback from CreateSpace (Amazon.com) ($9.99), and as an e-book for Kindle ($2.99).

Issa's Best: A Translator's Selection of Master Haiku presents over 1,200 evocative and inspiring haiku arranged in seasonal order—including an introduction to Issa's life and poetry. Available in paperback ($9.99) and as an e-book for Kindle and Nook ($2.99).

Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa looks at Issa's haiku in the context of Pure Land Buddhism. The revised second edition is available as a paperback ($12.99) and as an e-book for Kindle and Nook ($2.99).

Daily Issa: Go to Yahoo.com (Groups) to subscribe to the DailyIssa Yahoo Group to have one randomly selected haiku sent to your e-mail box every day. Or, if you only want to see the English translation (without the Japanese texts and comments), follow @issa_haiku on Twitter.

Painted Kobayashi coverThe Painted Kobayashi Issa is Mark W. McGinnis's gorgeous full-color book of paintings inspired by 100 of Issa's haiku. Available at Amazon.com.

About this website The Kobayashi Issa website was launched in May, 2000. It was created at Xavier University of Louisiana as a rich media project sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Translations based on Issa zenshû (Nagano: Shinano Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1976-79) 9 volumes. Some of the translations first appeared in Issa, Cup-of-Tea Poems, The Distant Mountain: The Life and Haiku of Kobayashi Issa, and Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa.

Web design/search engines by Bryan Godfrey-Lanoue and Bart Everson. All translations © 1991-2013 by David G. Lanoue, rights reserved.