Matsuo Basho - Grand Master of the Haiku Poem

Biography and Artwork by Lola, age 10

The Museum of Very Interesting People features Matsuo Basho
Matsuo Basho is the all-time grand master of the haiku poem

Matsuo Bashō

Lived: 1644 - 1694

Claim to Fame: Poet

Matsuo Basho was born in 1644 in Osaka, Japan. Matsuo Basho was the most famous poet of the Edo Period in Japan. He is known as the grand master of haikus.

Not much is known about Matsuo's early life, but in his late teens, he became a servant to Todo Yoshitada. Matsuo Basho shared with his master the love of haiku and poetry.

A haiku is a poem with three lines. Each line has a specific number of syllables. The first line has five syllables; the second line, seven; and the third line has five.

Basho published several collections of his poetry. His simple but elegant style can be easily recognized.

Basho travelled across Japan many times during his life He travelled alone on the 'Edo (Tokyo) five routes', which in medieval Japan could be dangerous. However, he became comfortable on the road and met many friends while travelling.

Basho loved nature and found inspiration in the seasons of the year. His poems reflected his observations of the world around him. Basho’s travels took him to Edo, Mount Fuji, Ueno, and Kyoto.

As well as writing poetry, Basho also taught poetry and had many followers. His followers often built him huts and planted trees for him.

Basho died peacefully in 1694.