I was amazed to read the following haiku in "小林 一茶" (a book written by 宗左近/Sō Sakon about the famous poet) :


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At first sight, the text given by 宗左近 doesn't seem regular : 5+6+5 morae ?.

I knew the following version with a 'や' after あそぶ :


I thought the haiku given by 宗左近 was misprinted but it seems incredible such an error occured at the very beginning of the book, in the first haiku given by the author, page 1 !

There's obviously something I'm missing... Any idea to help me ?

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    Why were you so amazed? Have you not heard of 字余り or 字足らず? nanapi.jp/101116
    – user4032
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 0:11
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    @l'électeur : thank you for the link. I'm ok with the idea that some haikus don't follow the 5-7-5 pattern (字足らず). What strucks me is the fact that two versions of this famous haiku exist.
    – suizokukan
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 4:28
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    potentially relevant 知恵袋: detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1264576902
    – virmaior
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 13:37

2 Answers 2


Some haiku do not strictly follow the 5-7-5 pattern. Irregular haiku with one more or less morae than usual are called 字余り or 字足らず, respectively. Some haiku even ignore the 5-7-5 rule completely (See 自由律俳句).

Wikipedia says 一茶's haiku do have many variations:


According to 一茶の俳句データベース, the sources of these three variations are as follows:

  • 我と来てあそぶ親のない雀 is from 七番日記
  • 我と来て遊ぶや親のない雀 is from 句稿消息/etc
  • 我と来て遊べや親のない雀 is from おらが春/etc

I think the third one is best-known, but it seems that the first one is the original version, although being 字足らず. 七番日記 is his personal diary, which he did not intend to publish.

According to the article of おらが春, 一茶 wanted to publish his poetry book, but he died before he could do that. おらが春 was compiled and published by another person, 25 years after 一茶's death.


So I think the well-known third version was the revised version either by 一茶 himself or by the editor.


This is a complete guess, but I upon searching my dictionary in OSX, I find the entry 親し with readings of したし and ちかし. So maybe it is either of those written without the okurigana to "haiku-ify" it? Like [親]{したし}. Plus, the し ending gives it a more classical feel.


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    Thank you for the idea (I up-voted your post), but I beg to differ : the book where I found the haiku always adds furiganas when the reading isn't obvious. So I think the reading for 親 is surely おや, as expected.
    – suizokukan
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 4:36

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