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蕪村逍遥(蕪村と遊ぶ)
安部 和子
(俳句結社 「雨月」同人)
余が故園

 五月のある日、JR大阪駅からの市バスを毛馬橋で降り、堤に向かって二百メートル程歩くと何ともいえない甘い香の風がきて息が詰まりそうになった。堤の石段を上るにつれて視界が開け、まず淀川が広い河幅を湛えているのが見える。その河川敷の広さ一面をクローバーが覆っていた。クローバーの花がこんなに香るとは。
 淀川の河畔は河川公園や野球場、ゴルフ場として利用されており、早春三月頃から一面に西洋辛子菜が咲き蘆が角ぐみ、散策にも格好の地として心や体をリフレッシュさせてくれる市民の癒しの場となっている。
 「湾処(わんど)」と呼ぶ池が両岸に作られていて、淀川の魚や水生生物・植物のビオトープとなっているが、この湾処が並び、一面の蘆原には葦雀が声を張っていた。

 
蕪村は享保元年(一七一六)この辺りで生まれた。父は村長だったと、蕪村の高弟几董(きとう)が「夜半翁終焉記」に書いているが、庄屋だったという説もあり、明確ではない。その頃京都丹後の与謝から大阪攝津へ多くの男女が年季奉公に出ており、蕪村の母もその中の一人であったろうという。この辺のことは既に人口に膾炙されていることで、後に幼い蕪村を連れて実家の与謝に帰ったと京都金福寺の「蕪村翁碑」にあるように、父の使用人か、妾ではなかったかという。
 母については、蕪村が谷口姓を名乗ったのは母方の姓であるとすると、苗字帯刀を許される格式の家の娘が攝津まで奉公に出ただろうかという説もあり、母親の出自についてははっきりわかっていないようだが、与謝には母げんの墓といわれる石塔がある。ともかく、身籠って与謝に戻り蕪村を出産後再び毛馬へ出た説、また与謝に戻って生んだ後、蕪村を連れ後添いに嫁いだが、離縁して実家に戻った説などがあり、馬堤は毛馬堤也。則、余が故園也。余幼童之時、春色清和の日ニハ、必友どちと此の堤上ニのぼりて遊び候。水ニハ上下ノ船あり。堤ニハ往来ノ客アリ。」と伏見の門人柳女・賀瑞母子に宛ててしたためた文面とは合わなくなるので、ある程度父の家で成長したと思われる。
 この手紙は「春風馬堤曲」の成立・発想についても書いているが、この一文により蕪村の幼時を髣髴することができるのである。門人の柳女・賀瑞(りゅうじょ・がりゅう)母子は蕪村が心を開いて受け入れる何かをもっていた存在であったことと思う。
 毛馬の当時を描く『淀川両岸一覧』の一ページが、今、銅版として毛馬公園に設置されており、それを見ても分かるように、淀川の船の上りは河畔を船子が曳いていた。京・大坂間十三里を上下する舟は、八軒屋から客を乗せ京橋から桜宮を経て毛馬へ、更に三嶋江と上って行くが、毛馬では船子たちが一旦陸へあがり、二十丁を綱でひいてのぼり、そこから舟に乗りこみまた陸へあがり、岸から約一里を引いて江口でまた乗り込むというように、毛馬は水路を利用する大坂にとって重要な地であった。この付近では煮売舟が餅や酒や田楽などを舟に寄せて売っていたというから結構賑やかな町だったのではないだろうか。
 安永六年(一七七六)、蕪村六十二歳、俳諧師としては夜半亭二世を襲ぎ、文人画家としては既に五年前(一七七一)に池大雅(いけのたいが)と十便十宜帖を合作するほどの名立たる業績を残しているその時期に発表したのが、蕪村春興帖『夜半楽』「春風馬堤曲」「澱河歌」「北寿老仙をいたむ」の三部作であった。
 その前年六十一歳の十二月に娘くのを三井の料理人柿屋伝兵衛方に嫁がせており、共に絵師として研鑽した池大雅は五十四歳で没。自身も正月から二月にかけて病んだ。病臥の中でもっとも心の中を占めていたのが娘くのと亡き母の面影であったであろう。「馬堤は毛馬堤也。則余が故国也。余、幼童之時春色清和の日ニハ必友どちと此の堤上にノボリテ」と記す柳女・賀瑞母子宛の文面には続いて「身ハ愚老懐旧のやるかたなきよりうめき出たる実情ニて候・・・」と記している。生まれ育った毛馬の景の中に幼い自分の姿を置いて、懐かしくもあり切ないものでもあった心の澱を筆に托しつつ、そこにある種の物語性をもたせて書いたこの三部作は、それだけに真実がこめられているはずである。俳諧師、詩人、画人という蕪村のすべてが凝縮された作品であろう。


 母体に宿ったその瞬間から、すでに子供は人間としての生涯を出発しているのである。だが、生まれた子供が何歳くらいから自分の境遇を意識するものだろうか。「三つ子の魂百まで」というのは、子育てをしてみると何かにつけて実感するものだが、家庭環境の中での、特殊な生い立ちを蕪村は自ずから悟っていったに違いない。
 母が病んだ事によって一人毛馬の家に残されていたか、母と共に既に与謝に戻っていたかは不明だが、蕪村が毛馬の家を後にするまでの生活環境はいろいろと推測される。それは母が亡くなったのが十三歳頃で、十七歳のころには江戸へ出てをり、二度とこの生家に戻らなかったことで充分に思い測ることができるのである。
 叙情的な作品の根底をなす原風景がたしかにここ毛馬にはある。その生い立ちの曖昧模糊を原風景の明るさが救ってくれるのである。
ここでは『夜半楽』の中の「春風馬堤曲」に限って、蕪村の心を探って見たいと思う。本文はわずかに四十行程で成っている。


春風や堤長うして家遠し

 「春風馬堤曲」の原文は短いが漢詩体に句を交えている為、一般にはすんなりとは読みにくいが、読んでみるとクイズを解くように面白くなってくるのがこの種の文体である。
 はじめはこれを書くに至った経過を記している。

「春風馬堤曲」
謝 蕪邨
余一日問耆老於故園  余一日耆老ヲ故園ニ問フ
渡澱水過馬堤     澱水を渡り、馬堤ヲ過グ
偶逢女帰省郷者    偶々女ノ帰省スル者ニ逢フ
先後行数里。相顧語  先後シテ行クコト数里。相顧ミテ語ル
容姿嬋娟。痴情可憐  容姿嬋娟トシテ。痴情憐ムベシ  
因製歌曲十八首    因リテ歌曲十八首ヲ製シ
代女述意       女ニ代ハリテ意ヲ述ブ
題曰春風馬堤曲    題シテ春風馬堤曲ト曰フ 

 「ある日、懇意な老人を訪う為に故郷へむかった。淀川を渡り、毛馬堤を通るとき、たまたま帰郷するという一人の娘に出会った。後になり、先になりして数里を行くうちに互いに振り返っては語り合うようになった。容姿は美しくあでやかで、魅力的なものを漂わしている。心をうごかされ、歌曲十八首を作り、その娘に代って思いをのべよう。題を春風馬堤曲と曰う。」
 この前書きの主役は蕪村自身で、いまから始まる曲のプロローグ。必ずしも長閑でもなく、晴々としたものでもないのに、春風・馬堤の言霊が、読む者の眼に既に景を描かせてしまう。
 「馬堤曲」の題名も『楽府(がふ)』(中国漢代に起った楽府体の詩)題の「大堤曲」にあやかったもので、「女に代りて意を述ぶ」という形式も漢詩に倣ったものでありながら、一人の娘に焦点を当てることで何かを匂わせ、明治初期の新体詩を読むような趣を持つ。
 主役は蕪村ではあるが主役を演じているのは、蕪村ではない。蕪村が、死ぬまで一度も毛馬に帰郷した証が無い以上、あくまでもこのドラマはフィクションであり、ここで登場する娘についても、蕪村には姉がいてその姉がモデルであろうとする説もあるが、私はそれよりも娘くのの面影を重ねた想像上の娘だと解している。蕪村はあくまでもシナリオライター兼カメラマンである。
 「春風馬堤曲」は漢詩体四首を含む十八首で成る。「謝蕪村」の謝は与謝の謝で丹後から帰洛後それまでの谷氏から与謝氏へ改め、蕪村の蕪は天王寺蕪の蕪に由来するのではないかという説もあるが、陶淵明の「帰去来辞」にある「田園将蕪」に基づくという説をとりたい。「帰去来辞」は陶淵明が四十一歳のとき故郷に隠棲して書いたもので蕪村が母の出自の与謝に改めたのが四十二歳、蕪村の号は二十九歳から宰鳥(さいちょう)とともに用いていた。
 ここからは娘が語る。

・やぶ入や浪花を出て長柄川 
・春風や堤長うして家遠し
・堤下摘芳草 荊与棘塞路
荊棘何無情 裂裙且傷股
堤ヨリ下リテ芳草ヲ摘メバ 荊ト棘ト路ヲ塞グ
荊棘何ゾ無情ナル 裙(くん)ヲ裂キ且ツ股ヲ傷ツク 
・渓流石点々 踏石撮香芹
多謝水上石 教儂不沾裙
渓流石点々 石ヲ踏ンデ香芹ヲ撮ル
多謝ス水上ノ石 儂ヲシテ裙ヲ沾(ぬ)ラサザラシム


 「やぶ入りで奉公先の浪花から長柄川まできました。目の前に広がる淀は広く、毛馬堤は長く、我が家は遥か彼方なのです。
 道々草を摘もうとすると、いばらがいじわるをして路を塞ぎます。私の着物の裾を裂き、腿まで傷つけるのです。流れには石が点々とあり、その石を踏んで香りのよい芹を摘みました。水の上の石よ、有難う。着物の裾を濡らさないように教えてくれて」
 読むに従って風景と登場人物が見えてくる。蕪村は絵画的だといわれるが、一枚一枚の絵が動き始め、立体となって息づいてくるのを感じることができる。向かう我が家は遠くとも、雇い主の眼から解き放たれた心の弾みが見える。故郷へ、母の許へ戻る嬉しさである。この時蕪村は六十二歳、しかし何と素直な飾り気ない言葉で綴っていることか。

・一軒の茶見世の柳老にけり
・茶店の老婆子儂を見て慇懃に
無恙を賀し且儂が春衣を美(ほ)ム
・店中有二客 能解江南語
酒銭擲三緡 迎我譲榻去
店中二客有リ 能ク解ス江南ノ語(大阪の花街の廓言葉)
 酒銭三緡(びん、)ヲ擲チ我ヲ迎ヘ榻ヲ譲ッテ去ル 

 「路の辺に一軒の茶店があります。ここの柳も老いました。私がこの路を何度か往復するうちに。店の老婆は私を見て元気でいることを喜んでくれ、私の着ている着物まで誉めてくれました。店の中に二人の客がいました。大阪の花街、島の内の廓言葉もよく通じていて、私に酒代三さし(一緡は百文、百文をつないで一さしとしていた。当時の酒価は一升約二百五十文銭)を投げ出し、席を譲って去りました」
 娘の旅は始まったばかり、長い淀川堤に沿い水と遊び、恋の猫や鶏の家族と話を交しつつの行路である。

・古駅三両家猫児妻を呼妻来らず
・呼籬籬外鶏 籬外草満地
・雛飛欲越籬 籬高堕三四
雛ヲ呼ブ籬外ノ鶏 籬外草地ニ満ツ
雛飛ビテ籬ヲ越エント欲ス 
籬高ウシテ堕ツルコト三四

 「街道沿いの里にニ、三軒の家があり、猫が雌猫を呼んでいますが雌の猫は来ません。また垣根の外から鶏が呼んでいます。垣根の外には春の草がたくさん生えているのです。雛が来て垣根を飛び越えようとしていますが、垣根は高くて三、四羽は越えることができません」

・春艸路三叉中に捷径あり我を迎ふ
・たんぽぽ花咲り三々五々五々は黄に
三々は白し記得す去年此路よりす
・憐ミとる蒲公茎短して乳を?(アマセリ)
・むかしむかししきりにおもふ慈母の恩
慈母の懐袍別に春あり

 「春の草が咲く三叉路まで来ました。中の一本の径が私を迎えてくれました。たんぽぽが咲きその中の五々は黄に、三々は白に(薺の花のことか)去年この径を通ったことを覚えています。思わず蒲公英を摘みました。その茎から乳が溢れ出ました。昔の思い出が呼びおこされます。母は慈しみ深く、抱かれた温かさは他に替え難いものでした」
 春の草ひとつにも母への思いを吐露する少女である。

・春あり成長して浪花にあり 
梅は白し浪花橋辺財主の家
春情まなび得たり浪花風流(ブリ)
・郷を辞し弟に負く身三春
本をわすれ末を取接木の梅
・故郷春深し行々て又行き々
楊柳長堤道漸くくだれり
・矯首はじめて見る故園の家黄昏
戸に倚る白髪の人弟を抱き我を
待つ春又春
・君不見古人太祇が句
藪入の寝るやひとりの親の側

 「春を迎えたとき、浪花に出ました。白梅の咲く浪花橋のほとりのお邸で浪花ぶりの青春を楽しんでいます。でも私は弟にそむいて故郷を出て三度目の春を過ごしていることを思えば、これでは接木が花を咲かせて元の親木を忘れている梅と同じことです。
 ふるさとの景は春深く、だんだんと近づきました。柳の続く長堤が下り坂となりました。首を上げて、はじめて故郷の我が家を黄昏の中に見ました。戸に倚りかかっている白髪の人、それは母、弟を抱き私を待ちに待ってくれている人です。
 あなたもご存知でしょう、薮入りで一人きりの母の許に帰り、気兼ねもなく我が家で寝ている子と母を詠んだ炭太祇のこの句を
藪入の寝るやひとりの親の側

 少女の浪花での生活は必ずしも辛いものではないが、故郷を思えばそれは手放しで楽しく暮しているのでもない。
 太祇(たいぎ)は明和八年に蕪村一門の人々に惜しまれながら京の不夜庵に没した。中興俳諧前夜にこの世を去った太祇は、蕪村が夜半亭二世を継承する前後から蕪村一門を支えた一方の柱であった。ここに太祇の句をもってきたのは蕪村のはからいであったといわれる。最後の感極まった自分のあらわな感情の表現を避け、亡友の句をもって納めたというのが蕪村の意図であろうが、この引用は逃避であり失敗であろうと言われる。
 広い川幅を湛えた流れに沿いながら足を進める少女の姿は、その滔々とした川を背景にしているので読む者も共に旅をしているような気がし、郷愁まで共有してしまう。浪花とふるさとを一本の川で結んでその間に春の風景を置き、その道を歩くのが少女であることで、叙情的な独特の俳体詩を創造した。


慈母の懐袍別に春あり

 句は更に幼時の母への思慕を還起したことが頷かれる。十三歳頃母を失った少年が、わが身の置きようにも亡き母の立場を思った昔日、母への憐憫の情しきりの今であったのではないだろうか。
 その沈潜しつづけた思いを、この「春風馬堤曲」で、少年ではなく少女に託した。冒頭にある「余」(故園に耆老を問う男)の存在を忘れてしまうほどに、少女の姿が印象的であり、慈母の懐袍をもろに出してしまったところに蕪村の構えの無さが出ていて、私はこの一行詩に愛すべき蕪村を感じるのである。
 蕪村の生れた大阪に棲みながら、中途半端な知識だけで過ごしてきたことを悔いるとともに、この「春風馬堤曲」に感じた、蕪村の内にある父母、子への情こそが蕪村の全てではないかと思いはじめた。
 「春風馬堤曲」を書いた時蕪村は六十二歳、前年娘を嫁がせた初老、いやその時代ではまったくの老人といえるかもしれない。しかし、蕪村には若い娘の形を借りてでも表現したい噴き出すような思いがあった。
 蕪村の心の中にある少女が娘くのであり、この「春風馬堤曲」を書いて間もなくのこと、嫁がせて半年で嫁入り先から取り返したという蕪村の行状と心境を、推測するに余りある。
 また、母の姿と娘の姿を追う蕪村に父の姿は見えないのだろうか。
 芭蕉と蕪村はよく対照的にとらえられるが、芭蕉はこんなにも心をさらけ出さない。芭蕉は五十一歳にして没したが、生涯「造化に従ひて四時を友とす」という風雅のまことを追求することに必死であった。それでありながら、彼は江戸へ出たあと十回余も故郷へ帰り、母や兄を慕い、その上甥の桃印をつれて江戸へ出て行くなど生涯故郷に抱かれ、身辺に伊賀上野を纏っている。
 一方蕪村は、幼い時に母が亡くなった。いわれているように父親が毛馬村の庄屋であり、母親はその家の奉公人であったとしたら、多分、同母の兄弟もなく、帰る家は荊のような思い出しかなかったのだろう。「春風馬堤曲」一篇にこめられている蕪村の心が切なく迫ってくる。
子供は母の様子や立場を理解するにしたがって、母を憐れむ思いが芽生えるということは、友人の小児科医に聞いたことだが、最近の児童虐待事件を見ていても、そういう母親を庇おうとする有様は、報道上の事ながら察することができる。蕪村がどんな状況の下で育てられたかはあくまでも推測の域を出ないが、帰れない生家であるがゆえに生家への思いを一生背負っているのが蕪村である。
 しかし、毛馬の風景は今訪れても広々として穏やかである。蕪村の原風景「わが故園」はあくまでもこの毛馬の日ざしであり、風や水、草の香りだったのである。
 伊賀上野の盆地で藤堂家嫡男蝉吟のお相手をし、城の中で生活をする芭蕉の少年時代と、開放的な毛馬の風景の中で馬堤を駆けまわる少年の蕪村を思い描く時、同じ俳諧を志しながら、また持って生まれた資質の違いがあるとしても、全く違う風土がそれぞれの為人を形成したのではないかと思われる。
 母に早く別れたから母を慕う思いが強く、故郷に帰ることができなかったから、故郷を思うこと人に倍したと思われ、ゆえに萩原朔太郎は、蕪村を「郷愁の詩人」と呼び、郷愁という一つのポエジイが彼の俳句のあらゆる表現を一貫して、読者の心に響いてくる音楽であり、詩的情感の本質をなす実体なのだと説く。また朔太郎は、蕪村は単なる写生主義者や、単なる技巧的スケッチ画家ではなく、反対に蕪村こそは、一つの強い主観を有し、イデアの痛切な思慕を詠ったところの、真の抒情詩の抒情詩人、真の俳人であった。(略)一言にして言えば、それは時間の遠い彼岸に実在してゐる、彼の魂の故郷に対する「郷愁」であり、昔々しきりに思ふ、子守唄の哀切な思慕であった、と説く。

江戸での師父・宋阿

 蕪村が生まれた享保元年(一七一六)は、芭蕉没後二十二年目。其角没後九年、またその年には山口素堂、山本荷兮(やまぐちそどう、やまもとかけい)が没しているが、京や近江には俳人の行き来も多く、後に蕪村が江戸で身を寄せる早野巴人は享保十三年には江戸から京都に上り、十年ほど居住している。
 蕪村が母を失ったのは十三歳頃といわれ、その後江戸へ出ているがその年齢は十七歳から二十歳頃といろいろな説がありはっきりしない。それは大江丸の『はいかい袋』に蕪村ははじめ「江戸内田沾山に倚り、後に宋阿の門人」となったという記事があるためだという。宋阿は京都に居た早野巴人の改号で、砂岡雁宕(いさおかがんとう)が、巴人を江戸に帰る事を勧めた。この時代、「西鳥」の号が使われている。
 一七三七年(元文二年・二十二歳)江戸へ出た蕪村は、砂岡雁宕の紹介を受けて巴人の内弟子として夜半亭に入門、同居し、薪水の労をたすけ執事役を務めた。母の死後与謝において仏門に入った蕪村の法号が西鳥であり、この法号を授けたのは丹後宮津の浄土宗西方寺住職白道上人のほかには考えられないと述べておられるので、この説を享けたい。西鳥は元文三年(二十三歳)宰町を、元文四年には宰鳥となる。
 夜半亭での会で連衆にまみえ、その中で作風が培われ、多くの交遊を得ていった。また夜半亭に入る前後を通じてかなり画筆に親しんでいたらしいといわれ、一七四〇年(元文五年・二十五歳)冬、雁宕の案内で筑波の麓に冬を過ごした。
 一七四二年(寛保二年・二十七歳)六月六日、口中に痛みを覚えていた夜半亭相阿(巴人)は六十六歳で没した。蕪村は頼みとする師を失った。
 宋阿(そうあ)追善集『西の奥』に
宋阿の翁、このとし比(ころ)予が孤独なるを拾ひたすけて、枯乳の慈恵ふかゝりけるも、さるすべきすくせにや、いまや帰らぬ別れとなりぬる事のかなしびのやるかたなく、胸うちふたがりて云ふべく事もおぼへぬ
我泪古くはあれど泉かな   宰鳥
と宋阿を悼む。
 かつて京で対面したことがあったかもしれない宋阿の許で過ごした五年間は、身近に生活をしていく中で師と仰ぎつつ、蕪村にとっては幼時に味わえなかった父性を感じるほどの存在であったことが推測される。
 蕪村は宋阿の膝下で過ごしたある日のことを、後の宋阿三十三回忌追善集として蕪村の撰した『昔を今』の序に次のように記している。
「(宋阿が)ある夜危座して予にしめして曰く、夫俳諧のみちや、かならず師の句法に泥むべからず、時に変じ時に化し、忽焉として前後相かへりみざるがごとく有るべしとぞ。予、此一棒下に頓悟して、やゝはいかいの自在を知れり。(中略)もはら蕉翁のさびしをりをしたひ、いにしへにかへさんことをおもふ。」
 師の宋阿がここで述べた言葉は大きな示唆を与え、「蕉翁のさびしをりをしたひ、いにしへにかへさんことをおもふ」ようになった蕪村は、宋阿没後、砂岡雁宕を頼って江戸を去り、下総結城へ赴いた。雁宕は結城の名家で親族まで俳諧に親しんでいる一族であった。しかし、そこにじっとしているのではなく、法体の蕪村は関東から遠く酒田・象潟・能代・津軽・青森・盛岡・平泉・松島・仙台など十年間にわたる芭蕉の『おくのほそ道』の後を追うような行程であった。
 しかしこの漂泊の旅は、飢えもし、寒暑になやみ、辛苦にみちた旅であった。「蕪村」の号を使いはじめ、句をなし、画風を得てゆく蕪村の俳人、画人としての成長は、常に悲しみや苦しみの中からうまれていたのではないだろうか。芭蕉の「奥の細道」の旅は、既にある程度名も知られ行く先々には江戸で交わった藩士や商人もいたであろうが、蕪村にはまだそこまでの力はついていなかった。
芭蕉は「奥の細道」の旅により、誠に基づく人生観と芸術観の統一的自覚、景と情の統一的表現を求めて蕉風の思想と表現に開眼したが、蕪村は一生哲学や思想を追う人ではなかった。
 しかし、蕪村には絵筆があった。十年の放浪生活を切り上げ、京に上るまでには、それまでの和風の和画と違った漢画の手法が取り入れられるようになっていた。
 一七五四年、三十九歳春京都を去って丹後へ、宮津の見性寺に三年、四十二歳の九月、与謝を去って京都に帰る。与謝の施薬寺に残されている「方士求不死薬図」は皇帝の使いの方士が神仙の許へ不老不死の薬を求めに来た場面で、テーマも画法も漢画を取り入れている時代である。
 私が訪ねたのは平成八年一月半ば、寺への坂道に蕗の薹が覗いていた。壮年となった蕪村が母の故郷であり、病を得た母とともに数年間を過ごしたかもしれない与謝に「方士求不死薬図」を残していることに胸の詰まる思いで対したことを忘れない。蕪村四十歳頃の作といわれているが、落款(らっかん)は「四明」となっている。
 母げんの墓はこの寺から近い。谷口酒造の裏山の裾に二基の石塔が建ち、風化していて文字は読みにくいが、右側は〈月堂妙覚禅定尼〉でこれが母の墓、左側は「げんがさびしかろう」との父の思いで建てたもので〈南無阿弥陀仏〉と読める。
 父親はげんを谷口家の墓所に入れなかったといわれ、蕪村は母の追善の句日記『新花摘』を起稿したものの、くのの離婚により、筆を折っており、蕪村が母の墓を建立したという資料もないので、地元の言い伝えによる父親の気持ちを汲み取りたい。

娘くのの存在

 私は蕪村が池大雅と並ぶほどの絵師であることを長い間知らなかった。始めて蕪村の絵の大作を見たのは平成四年三月、丸亀の妙法寺の襖絵で、蘇鉄の図、竹の図、寿老人の図であった。丸亀に旅をすることが決まった時、かつてこの地に蕪村が滞在しており、絵が残っている筈だと知って実物を拝見することが出来たのであった。
 襖絵の見える部屋に通されると、その部屋の外には絵と同じ蘇鉄(そてつ)が太い幹を四方に広げて茂っていた。私には絵のことはよくわからないが、六枚の襖一杯に描かれた蘇鉄の力強いタッチに蕪村は画家でもあったのかとこの不思議な俳人のことが、それ以来脳裏に焼きついてしまった。
 蕪村が讃岐に遊んだのは五十一歳の秋から翌春・またその五月から一年滞在していることが知られているし、漢画を学んでいた時期に当り、明和二年・三年・四年というのは、丸山応挙との合作もある時期であった。絵の師を持たなかった蕪村だが、和画から漢画へと作風を変えて質感を出しはじめた時期のものであることを後で知った。
 その後は何かと蕪村の絵に接する機会も多くなり、有名な屏風仕立ての「奥の細道図」などは幾度も眼にすることが出来た。

 芭蕉の奥の細道の全文と挿絵を入れた「奥の細道図」は六十四歳、娘を婚家から取り戻した二年後の作品である。そのあまりにも自由奔放な文字と絵の屏風を始めて見た時はその構成にとにかく驚いた。この屏風仕立ては実に不思議な収め方で「奥の細道」の全文が収まり、その上適所の挿絵がまた絶妙である。まるでコンピューターでしか収められないような文字の大小の程合い、疎に密に書き込んだ「奥の細道」の本文と句、一行で書き流したり二段にして絵を入れたり、また三段にして描いたり、と、実に自由に描いたように見えていながら最後はきちんと六曲に本文が収まっている摩訶不思議な構成となっている。
 六十四歳で描いたこの「奥の細道図」は文字の配置と共に全文の書も、絵と一体となって蕪村という人物を浮き上がらせてくる。
実はその前年に同じように「奥の細道図」を描いているがこの構成は本文と絵を交互に描いた巻子で、平成十三年春、大阪市立美術館での『蕪村Uその二つの旅』で公開された。構成の仕方は異なるが筆致は共に独特の蕪村らしい明るさがある。
 自己流に始まり、和画・漢画を経た蕪村の書と絵が磨かれ磨かれた挙句、自己流に戻ったような自由な筆の運びは、まさに上方の風流そのもののようである。十六七歳で嫁入りさせたとみられる娘くのにもいかにも大坂人らしく芸事を習わせ「良縁在之、宜所へ片付、老心をやすんじ候。」と人に書き送った蕪村である。蕪村は四十七歳頃結婚したらしく、「田舎より妻一家ども罷登りおもしろからぬ長談・・」の書簡があり、夫としては、生きる術とはいえ書画に歌仙にと留守がちでその上花街や料亭に出入りし、やがては芸妓小糸との艶聞まで起こした。この辺りも芭蕉とは大いに異なるところで、蕪村は案外父を離れようとしつつ、父の後姿に惹かれていたのではないかと思うのは思い過ぎだろうか。
 再びくのを取り戻し、父と娘が共に住むことができる様になるまでの狭間の虚脱感と寂寥感の中でしたためた「春風馬堤曲」が、娘を愛し母を慕う蕪村の本心をさらけだしているのである。
 ちなみに蕪村は『夜半楽』三部作を刊行した二ヶ月あとの四月八日から、亡き母の追善のための句日記『新花摘』を起稿したことにもこの時期の蕪村の亡き母への深い追慕の情が表れているとみる。(母は享保十三年没の五十回忌か)しかし、『新花摘』は四月廿日頃には中絶した。精一杯豪勢な婚礼をしてくのを嫁がせたにも拘らず離縁問題が起こってしまったためとみられている。五月には離婚してしまった。
 「(略)むすめも先方の家風しのぎかね候や、うつうつと病気づき候故、いやいや金も命もありての事と不便に存候而、(略)」と書かねばならなくなったが、その一方、九月初旬には明るく弾むような筆致の巻子「奥の細道図」を描いた。再び娘と共に過ごすことのできるようになつた蕪村の心を覗き見るようである。この巻子の「奥の細道」については、「随分洒落ニ無之候而ハ、いやしく候て見られぬ物ニ候。それ故随分と風流洒落を第一ニ揮毫仕候」と自身は書いているが、翌年の屏風の「奥の細道図」はこの巻子を描いたことにより、触発されたものであろうか。
 芭蕉に関する絵図で現存するものとしては、その頃の「野ざらし紀行図」他画巻三点、屏風一点しかないが十点ほど描いたという。
 蕪村の生涯に少し深入りしたが、天明三年十二月二十五日未明(一七八四年一月十八日)、京都仏光寺烏丸西入ル町にて没した。門人月渓が臨終に侍坐し、筆をとる間もあわただしく筆硯料帋やうのものを揃えると

冬鶯むかし王維が垣根哉
うぐひすや何ごそつかす藪の霜
しら梅に明る夜ばかりとなりにけり

 こは初春と題を置べしと此三句を吟じて睡れるごとく臨終正念にして、めでたき往生をとげたまうたという。無限の思慕を抱く芭蕉風の静寂な主観の句と評されている。

 一生生れた地へ帰ることを拒んだ蕪村ながら、自身の身の内には殷賑の地、毛馬の生家での幼時と大坂の気風、おそらく父の日常の暮しぶりが付き纏っていたのではないかと思える。
 妻のともは蕪村の死後出家し、清了尼と名乗って蕪村の墓に合葬され、娘くのは後に甲田氏に再婚したらしいという。

参考資料
『蕪村事典』
『淀川両岸一覧』
『蕪村俳句集』尾形仂校註
『郷愁の詩人 与謝蕪村』萩原朔太郎
『蕪村 その二つの旅』朝日新聞社
『没後220年 蕪村』逸翁美術館・柿衞文庫編
『若丹吟行案内』(社)俳人協会
『国文学解釈と鑑賞 天明の詩人与謝蕪村』至文堂



An Essay on Buson
Kazuko Abe
(Haiku Association Ugetsu coterie)

"My Dear Old Place"
One day in May, getting off the bus from Osaka Station at the Kema Bridge walking a while toward the river, a strong but sweet smell caught me. As I preceded the stone steps, an open view of the Yodo River came into my sight, whose bank is covered with clovers. Never did I know the flower has such an odor.
The bank of the Yodo River offers places for recreations: parks, baseball ground, golf field and so on. In March, it begins to show the mustards bloom and reeds sprout, which entertain the eyes of strollers. The places are favored as a refreshing place for citizens. On the both sides of the bank are ponds, biotope so to speak, where fish and plants live together. From the reed beds you will hear the voices of wild birds living there.

The above described is the very place where Buson is thought to be born, in 1716. In Yahan-oh-shu-en-ki 『夜半翁終焉記』writes Buson's pupil Kitou (几董) that Buson's father was a village mayor, which story is still controversial. His mother is thought to be one of the bunch of people who headed this area for apprentice from Yosa (与謝), Kyoto. It is often heard that Buson's mother had been a servant or a lover of Buson's father, according to the monument in Kompuku-ji (金福寺), as she later took young Buson back to her parent's house in Yosa.
Still, this rumor is quite unclear as well. Buson's real surname, Taniguchi (谷口), is thought to be his mother's, but if so, why should a daughter of a good family, forgiven having surnames in those days, come all the way to Osaka? Whatever, in Yosa, we can find a stone called mother Gen's grave (translator note: "Gen" is believed to be her first name). Some say that she gave birth in Yosa and then back to Kema, while others say she married to another man and parted shortly, ending up returning to Yosa again. Still, we can safely say that Buson has spent his young days in his father's resident when we see Buson's letter saying;

"The bank I describe is the Kema Bank, my dear old place. When I was young, on spring days, I climbed up the bank with my friends and played around. On the water I saw boats going both up and down the river. On the bank were people I don't know".

This letter, in which Buson also reveals the concept and backgrounds of Shumpu Batei Kyoku 『春風馬堤曲』, allows us to fancy Buson's childhood. Ryu-jo (柳女) and Garyu (賀瑞), a mother and daughter who both were Buson's pupils, were the ones who received this letter. They were not only pupils but they might have been important friends for Buson as well.
In Yodo-gawa Ryogan Ichiran 『淀川両岸一覧』, an old literature which tells us what the Yodo River was like in Edo eras, shows that there were young water men to pull the boats up to the river. Those boats picked passengers up at Hachiken-ya (八軒屋), then proceeded to Kyobashi (京橋), Sakuranomiya (桜ノ宮), then Kema, and further to the east. In Kema, all the water men went ashore, pulled dozens of boats for kilometers to utilize the canals. In short, Kema was an important site in Osaka, a great city flourished with its water transportation. On those rivers and canals, there were some boats which sold foods and sake were sold on them. It appears that Kema had been a busy and lively town in those days.
In 1776, when he was 62, Buson had already succeeded the name "Yahan-tei" (夜半亭) as a haiku poet and made some collaborations with the great Ikeno Taiga (a painter) five years before then. And in the very year, Buson produced the trilogy, "Shun-pu Batei Kyoku", "Denga-ka" 「澱河歌」 and "Hoku-ju Ro-sen wo Itamu" 「北寿老仙をいたむ」in Yahan-raku 『夜半楽』.
A year before, his daughter Kuno (くの) was married to a culinarian Kakiya Den-be (柿屋伝兵衛) and in the same year, above mentioned Ikeno Taiga passed away aged 54. Buson became sick for a month that winter. In bed, he perhaps thought of his daughter and his own mother. In the letter addressed to Ryujo and Garyu introduced above, he continues the sentence as follows: "I am old, I cannot but recall the good old days, and as this is what I honestly have in mind… " Here Buson pictures his young-self in his imaginary good old Kema, letting his pen run as his mixed nostalgia flows out. After all, such nostalgia grew into the trilogy, where we can expect to find a good deal of truth, or, shows Buson's personality in quite a rich way, as a poet, an artist, and as a man.

A child's life begins since its birth in mother's womb. Since when, then, does a child come to be conscious about its surroundings? In raising a child, there are plenty of opportunities to see the child obtain variety of habits and keep them as he or she grows up. Buson must have learned somehow about his family background as he grew up as well.
It is not clear whether Buson was left alone in Kema (for his mother's being sick) or went back to Yosa with his mother. Still, we can make a guess in some degree about how Buson lived before his leaving Kema. There is the fact that Buson lost his mother died at the age of 13 and that four years later, he left for Edo, never to come back to Kema since then.
From some works from Buson, we can see that his memories of Kema lie deep in his mind. Though Buson's early life seems to be a complicated one, those works from him sounds a rather bright and relieving in its tone.
Here I would like to pick up "Shumpu Batei Kyoku" from Yahanraku and see how Buson's memories are reflected on it. The works consists of only about forty lines.


"O spring wind, the bank is long and my home far"
The original text of "Shumpu Batei Kyoku" is a short piece mixed with kanshi (translator note: an old style of poetry written in Chinese by Japanese poet), and this makes it difficult to read the work for general readers. However, once you learn the knack, the texts can read like a kind of quiz.
As an introduction, Buson confesses how he came to create this masterpiece.

"One day I visited my home country to visit my old friend. Crossing the Yodo River and walked along the Kema bank, I came across with a young woman who happened to return home as well. First we were not accompanied, but after a couple of miles, we began talking. The young woman was beautiful and attractive. I composed this work, moved by her elegance, to describe things in place of her. The title of this poem is 'Shumpu Batei Kyoku'."

The writer of this introduction, namely a prologue of the following part, appears to be Buson himself. Though the sentences are neither long nor cheerful in particular, the spirit of the spring wind and the bank are lively described and appeal to us with the scenery of Kema.
Actually, the title "Batei Kyoku" (馬堤曲) is named after "Song of Big Dam" (大堤曲), a theme of gahu (楽府) (translator note: a style of Chinese poetry developed in Han Dynasty. Pronounced yuefu in Chinese). Saying "describe things in place of her" also follows after the manner of Chinese poem and, in a strange way, the writing style reminds us the manner of shintai-shi (translator note: a new style of poetry begun in the second half of the Meiji era).
In "Shumpu Batei Kyoku", Buson is indeed the main narrator. However, it is not him that plays the main character in the piece. As there is no evidence that Buson returned to Kema even a single time, what is written here is merely a fiction. The young woman desrcibed here is also fishy. Some say that this woman is modeled after Buson's elder sister, but my idea is that she is modeled after Kuno, Buson's daughter. Whatever, Buson here just plays both roles of a playwright and a shooter.
"Shumpu Batei Kyoku" consists of 18 lines including 4 kanshi. It is said that the character 謝 in "謝蕪村" is perhaps from Yosa (与謝) as he changed his family name to Yosa from Tani (谷) (his mother's family name) after he came back to Kyoto. As for the character 蕪 in Buson (蕪村), some say that it is from Tennnoji-Kabura 天王寺蕪 (translator note: a turnip originate from Tennoji, Osaka) but I would like to support the hypothesis that insists its origin the sentence "田園将蕪" from Tao Yuanming(陶淵明)'s Returning to Live in the Country. Returning to Live in the Country is a poem written when Tao was 42, returning home retiring there. It was at the age of 42 that Buson changed his family name to Yosa (he had used the name Buson since he was 29 years old, with parallel use of Saicho 宰鳥) .
Now, the young woman begins her story.

"I was given short holidays by my master. I reached to the Nagara River (長柄川) from Osaka, where I work. The Yodo River spreading in front of me is so wide, the bank long, and my house far far away. On my way, when I was trying to pick some flowers, thorns itched me and did not let me pass. My kimono got torn a bit and my thighs hurt too. The stream had some steppingstones and stepping them by, I picked some freshly smelling parsley. Thank you steppingstones, for telling me not to wet my skirt."

Reading the sentence, you will be able to describe the scenery and the woman within your mind. As often said, Buson's work is like a tableau, and as you read sentence to sentence, the tableau get animated, giving a three dimensional-like lively image. Even though the woman's home is in distance, she is now free from the eyes of her master. Her joyful spirit is of those who is bound for her mother. Buson was 62 when writing this, but how naive and merry are his writings!

"A tea house is on my way. The willow is now old. As I come-and-go this path, the old woman who works there always praises my kimono and says that she is happy to see me doing fine. There were two visitors in the tea house when I arrived. They gave me some money to drink tea and they even gave up their seat for me and left."

Her journey has just begun. She enjoys the water of the Yodo River while walking on the bank. On her way, she tells us some stories of cats and chicken.

"There were some houses along the path and a male cat was calling a female cat, which did not appear. There were some chickens outside the hedge, which was edged with spring flowers. They were trying to get over the hedge but it was too high for some of them."

"I reached a junction of three paths fringed with spring flowers. The middle one welcomed me. Dandelion bloomed with some white ones (shepard's-purse perhaps?). I remember passing this path last year. I could not but pick up one of the dandelions. From its stem comes out its milk. That reminds me an old memory of mine. My mother was very compassionate person. You cannot compare your mother's warmth to anything."

Even a single flower makes this young lady homesick.

"When spring came, I would go out to Naniwa(浪花). I enjoyed the mode at a house of a rich man, a house which is located by the Naniwa bridge. Far apart from my young brothers in my country, I am now spending my third spring here. I feel myself being like a grafted branch of apricot flowerng while forgetting about its own trunk. Spring is reaching its climax in my country now. I feel so, as I proceed my steps. The long bank I came along is now downhill. At last, I found my old sweet home in evening twilight for the first time. The old woman with grey hair leaning over the door should be my mother. She is holding my little brother in her arms. Perhaps you know the following haiku of Tan Taigi (炭太祇), who returned home during his short vacation to find his mother sleeping in peace, but alone.

藪入の寝るやひとりの親の側
I found my parent sleeping alone
when I came back home
on my short holidays

The life in Naniwa was not very difficult for this young lady. Thinking of her home, howver, no one can say that it was entirely happy one.
Taigi died in 1771 in Kyoto, when the haiku art was about to see its high tide. He was one of the main haiku poets who had supported the rise of Buson school since Buson succeeded the name of Yahan-tei. We should not miss the fact that Buson has put Taigi's haiku here. Instead of expressing bare emotion of his own, Buson just took his old friend's. Some says that this choice is just an escape or a failure.
The young woman, walking along the bank and the river, invites us to follow the journey of her retrospection. The young lady, beautiful scene of spring, and the river - which connects her home and her workplace-all in all they create a lyrical mood for this haiku.


"You cannot compare your mother's warmth to anything"
The haiku of Taigi also reminds us Buson's yearning for his mother, whom he lost at the age of 13. Having been a compassionate boy, lonely but always worried about his mother, Buson, even after he grew up, seems to miss his mother. That may be the reason why he let an imaginary woman express his strong emotion, looking for his mother's remnant. The existence of this young lady is so lively and her retrospection is so vulnerable that we almost forget the old man appeared in the prologue. I cannot help but see Buson's sweet nature here.
Living where Buson grew up, I began to feel shame for not knowing his life so much, but at the same time, I come to think that what he shows in this "Shumpu Batei Kyoku", his love for his parents and his child, must be the core of Buson as a haiku poet.
When Buson finished this piece, he was already 62 years old, quite an old age in those days. Yet, he had an irrepressible emotion which called for a different, imaginary young person to express. Before long he he wrote this, Buson took back his daughter Kuno from her husband only 6 months after their marrige. If the young lady Buson had in mind was Kuno, I cannot imagine how painful Buson felt as a father.
Now, how did Buson saw his own father?
Matsuo Basho, a haiku poet often compared to Buson, is not such a naive person. Basho, died 51, was always busy pursuing his motto "surrender yourself to nature, follow the course of the four seasons" in his life. On the other hand, he frequently went back home for more than ten times after he went up to the capital, Edo. He loved his family and he even took his nephew To-in (桃印) when going back to the capital city once. That is to say, he was always with his home country.
Compared to Basho, Buson was a lonely son. If the story is true that his father was a village headman in Kema and his mother an employee, his childhood might have been a difficult one. This considered, the piece appears even more touching.
I have once heard from a friend of mine, whose profession is pediatrician, that children come to feel sympathy for their mothers as they come to understand about them. You may have heard similar story from the news reporting child abuse, where children sometimes try to tell lies to protect their parents. We can only make a guess about Buson's situation in those days. Still, for me, Buson appears to be a person who longed for his home, a place where he could never go back again.
The scenery of Kema is open and calm whenever you visit. Its sun, wind, water and smell of grass might be the very things what Buson says "My dear old place."
Putting aside the question of their gifts, such climate and atmosphere may have affected the two masters of haiku - Basho, who was born in Iga-Ueno (伊賀上野) and grew up inside the castle entertaining Sen- Gin (蝉吟), the eldest son of the Todo (藤堂) family (translator note: Todo is a dominant daimyo in the area), and Buson, who grew up in wide open Kema bank.
A modern poet Sakutaro Hagiwara (萩原朔太郎) called Buson "Poet of Nostalgia". According to Hagiwara, nostalgia in Buson's work is a lyrical music that penetrates his whole works and that appeals to readers as their essence. He also says that Buson is not merely a realist or a technical sketcher but a kind of emotional idealist, a true lyricist, or true haiku poet: plainly, Buson's yearning he says was directed to pathetically distant past, namely metaphysical, like an old lullaby well sung in childhood.


Sou-a, father and teacher at Edo
Buson was born in 1716, 22 years after Basho died, 9 years after Sokaku, and in the same year some more haiku poet died. Meanwhile, in those years, many haiku poet went up and down between Kyoto and Omi (近江), today's Shiga Prefecture. Hajin Hayano (早野巴人), who later became Buson's teacher at Edo, moved to Edo from Kyoto 13 years later.
As mentioned, Buson is said to have lost his mother when he was 13. Yet, it is still unclear when he went up to the capital city. This controversy partly owes to O-e-maru (大江丸), the writer of Haikai Bukuro 『はいかい袋』, where he wrote like this: "Buson went to Edo and visited Senzan Uchida (内田沾山), and later he became an apprentice to Sou-a (宗阿)". "Sou-a" is a pen name Hajin used while in Edo. Isaoka Gantou (砂岡雁宕) was the one who suggested he go to Edo. Before going to Edo, Hajin's pen name was "Sai-cho" (西鳥).
In 1737, 22 years old Buson became a student of Hajin's school, which named itself "Yahan-tei". Again here it was Isaoka who helped Buson then. Staying at Hajin's house, Buson not only studied haiku but also helped Hajin like a houseboy. After Buson's mother death, when he became Buddhist, Buson took the name "Sai-cho" as his Buddhist name. It appears quite sure that the name is given by Byaku-do (白道上人), a temple master at Sai-hou-ji (西方寺), a Jodo-shu Temple located in Miyazu (宮津), Kyoto. I would like to support what O-e-maru notes. Buson changes the character of the name each following year until 1739: "西鳥", "宰町", and "宰鳥" (translator note: all pronounced same in Japanese).
Being a participant at poetry meetings at Ya-han-tei, he polished his haiku style and got to know a lot of haiku mates. He is said to become familiar with painting around this time, and in1740, when Buson was 25 years old, with the help of Gantou again, Buson spent his winter at Tsukuba Mountain, one of the popular themes for painting in those days.
In 1742, when Buson was 27 years old, Sou-a passed away aged 66. Buson lost his teacher. In a memorial anthology Nishi no Oku 『西の奥』, Buson writes as follows;

"Old master Sou-a, he gave mercy on me and took care of me with his gentleness. But here we are, he now a dead soul, I cannot find words to express my feelings."

我泪古くはあれど泉かな
My tears running
since olden days
like a spring

And this was how Buson mourned his master. The 5 years at Sou-a's house may have been, for Buson, the time when he felt like having his own father by his side.
In another anthology titled "Mukashi wo ima" 「昔を今」published 33 years later, Buson, the selector of the anthology, recalls Sou-a in the introduction as follows;

One night, my master sat straight and said, "you do not have to follow your master all the time in haiku art, being flexible like nothing around you should infect you". After a long time, I suddenly got the idea. I became enlightened, thanks to my master's teachings, and found how free art haiku is. I began thinking of Basho and feel like following the path he passed in the old days.

Sou-a gave a huge inspiration to Buson, and this pupil left Edo with the help of Gantou after his master's death, heading to Yuuki (結城), today's Ibaraki Prefecture. Gantou was from a dominant family in this area, and the family enjoyed haiku art. Buson did not stayed there although. In a clerical appearance, Buson traveled from Kanto area to Tohoku areas, like Miyagi, Aomori, Iwate, or Akita. The journey was like following the path Basho described in Oku no Hosomichi 『奥の細道』.
Buson suffered from hunger, hot days and cold days during the journey. He began to use the name "Buson" around this period. Cannot we say that he, discovering his style both as a haiku poet and a painter developed his talent during this hard days? Basho, unlike Buson, was a man already famous when he started his journey. He had some rich or upper class friend to meet on his way, while Buson had almost none.
Basho, who sought for a fusion of his philosophy for life and art or the way to describe what he saw and what he felt within his haiku, finally achieved his goal and found his own style. Buson, on the other hand, was not looking for such. He was not a person to spend his life pursuing philosophy or idea.
However, Buson still had his paintbrush. Before cutting short his ten years of wandering life and coming up to Kyoto, he started to adopt Chinese style painting, which was different from his Japanese style.
In 1754, when he was 39, he left Kyoto for Tango (丹後) and spent three years in Kenshoji Temple (見性寺) in Miyazu. In September at the age of 42, he left Yosa and returned to Kyoto. Hoshi-gufushiyaku-zu 『方士求不死薬図』, which is preserved in Seyakuji Temple (施薬寺) in Yosa, depicts the scene where a wizard on errand from the Emperor comes to a hermit, asking for a potion of immortality. The theme and art of painting there were much influenced by Chinese painting.
I visited Yosa in the middle of January in 1996. On the uphill to the temple were seen some shoots of fuki. My heart was too full with the fact that Buson in his manhood left Hoshi-gufushiyaku-zu in Yosa, his mother's hometown, where he might spend a few years with his sick mother. This is allegedly made by Buson when he was around 40, but its signature is Simei (四明) .
The tomb of his mother Gen is near this temple. At the foot of the backyard of Taniguchi brewery stand two tombstones, whose letters are indiscernible after years of weathering, the right one of which is his mother's, and the left one is built by his father, pitying Gen's loneliness, with the inscription Namu-amidabutsu (南無阿弥陀仏).
It is said that Buson's father did not allow Gen to be buried in the tomb of Taniguchi family. Though Buson started writing his haiku-diary Shinkachou 『新花摘』 for his mother's death, he quitted it because of his daughter's divorce, so there are no documents proving that Buson built his mother's tomb. I would like to gather his father's feeling from the legend of that area.


The Existence of His Daughter Kuno
I have not known long that Buson is as great a painter as Ike Taiga. I first saw his masterpiece in March 1992, the painting on a fusuma in Myo-ho Temple (妙法寺) in Marugame (丸亀) which painted sotetsu, bamboo, Elder Ju. When a trip to Marugame was settled, I knew that Buson once stayed in this place and there must be some of his paintings, which I was able to see.
I was conducted to the room from which the painting on a fusuma could be seen. Outside the room was the same sotetsu as that in the paintings, growing thick with its trunks spreading all over. I am not an expert of paintings, but has been since impressed by this mysterious haiku poet, a painter as well, whose strong touch of Sotetsu, drawn all over on six sheets of fusuma.
It is a well known fact that Buson spent days in Sanuki (讃岐) from the autumn at the age of 51 to the next spring and a whole year from next May. These are the periods when he learned Chinese paintings, and around 1765, he collaborated with Maruyama Oukyo (円山応挙). He did not study under any master of paintings, but his paintings on fusuma were the ones when he changed his style from Japanese to Chinese, with an accent on the texture of paintings.
  Since then more and more opportunities occurred for me to get in touch with his paintings, among which I saw many times the famous Byobu style Oku-no-Hosomichi-Zu.

With the whole text and illustrations of Basho's Oku no Hosomichi, Oku-no-Hosomichi-Zu is the work when Buson was 64, two years after he took his daughter back from the family she married into. I was astonished at the extravagant composition of Byobu with letter and picture when I first saw them. This Byobu style painting is composed miraculously so that the whole text of Oku no Hosomichi is contained with illustrations exquisitely interpolated. With the balance of the size of letters as if attainable only by computers, with the text and haiku of Oku no Hosomichi written scatteredly and closely, scribbled off in a single line here and added illustrations in two tiers there or in three tiers, the apparently very freely composed work marvelously converges on six sheets in the end.
From this Oku-no-Hosomichi-Zu, with the location of letters, the whole penmanship and its illustrations, emerges a human character Buson.
Actually, in the previous year he likewise wrote Oku-no-Hosomichi-Zu, but it was a reel with texts and pictures alternatively. It was opened to the public in "Buson: his two journeys" 「蕪村―その二つの旅」 at Osaka City Art Museum in spring in 2001. The way of composition is different, but its touch has a unique Buson-like lightness.
It seems that he started painting on his own, established his penmanship and paintings through Chinese and Japanese style and returned where he started. His unrestrained touch is the very elegance of Kamigata (上方) style . He had his daughter Kuno, who was allegedly married into a family at the age of 16 or 17, learn the traditional performing arts like an Osakan indeed, and wrote to a man, "The good match is here. By sending her away, I content my old heart." He allegedly got married at the age of about 47, which is proved from his letter, "My wife's family came up from the country, making a boring conversation …" As a husband, he was prone to be away from home, enthusiastic about paintings, calligraphy and poetry, and frequented gay quarters and luxurious restaurants, causing the rumors that he was having an affair with a geisha girl Koito (小糸). In these points he is so different from Basho. Is it my over-assuming that, though Buson tried to carry himself away from his father, he retraced his father's steps?
  In the despondency and desolation before he regained his daughter and lived together with her, he wrote "Shunpu Batei Kyoku", which exposes his inner self loving his daughter and yearning for his mother.
By the way, from April 8, two months after he published a trilogy of Yahan-raku, Buson started writing Shinkachou, a haiku-diary for the memorial of his late mother, which shows how he missed his mother during this period. (Probably her mother died in 1729, so this is around the sixth anniversary of his mother's death) But Shinkachou was suspended at about April 20. It is allegedly because of his daughter's divorce matter in spite of his utmost effort for the gorgeous wedding. The couple separated in May.

"I fear it is because my daughter could not help but be affected by the other family that she is liable to be gloomily sick. Thinking pitifully that money and life are worth only while we are alive, …"

Thus he had to write, while early in September he completed the reel, Oku-no-Hosomichi-Zu, with the light and bouncing touch, which is as if we peep through his inner mind, rejoicing over his daughter's return to his life. As to Oku no Hosomichi in the reel, he wrote thus: "lacking much of humor, it is too crude to enjoy. Therefore I produced it focusing on wit and humor." It is possible that Byobu styled Oku-no-Hosomichi-Zu next year was prompted by the reel.
Existing painting works concerning Basho includes Nozarashi-Kikou-Zu, three other reels, and one Byobu. He allegedly made about ten works then.
I went a bit deep into Buson's life so far. Buson ended his life at Kyoto Bukkoji Karasuma Nishi-Iru (京都仏光寺烏丸西入ル町), on January 18 in 1784. His pupil Gekkei (月渓) accompanying his last moments, he hurriedly prepared the tools of penmanship and wrote:

冬鶯むかし王維が垣根哉
A winter warbler
Long ago perched on
The hedge of Wang Wei

うぐひすや何ごそつかす薮の霜
A warbler
Why so rustles
The frost of a bush

しら梅に明る夜ばかりとなりにけり
The plum flowers in white
Leaves only the part of the night
Ready to dawn

After confirming that the theme of these should be "early spring", he accepted his doom as if in sleep, dying a happy death. These are assessed as serene, Basho-like poems with unlimited yearning.

Refusing to return where he was born, Buson assumedly cherished his birthplace, Kema, the place of his childhood and the spirit of Osaka, and was deeply affected by his father's way of life.
His wife Tomo (とも) became a nun after Buson's death, naming herself Seiryoni (清了尼), and was buried together in Buson's tomb. His daughter Kuno allegedly married again into Koda (甲田) family.

Bibliography
『蕪村事典』
『淀川両岸一覧』
『蕪村俳句集』尾形仂校註
『郷愁の詩人 与謝蕪村』萩原朔太郎
『蕪村 その二つの旅』朝日新聞社
『没後220年 蕪村』逸翁美術館・柿衞文庫編
『若丹吟行案内』(社)俳人協会
『国文学解釈と鑑賞 天明の詩人与謝蕪村』至文堂


Translated by Haruka NODA (M.A. in Literature and Human Sciences, Osaka City University)