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14 votes
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What constitutes a syllable?

The general method of counting in Japanese poetry is by a rhythmic unit known as the mora (morae or moras in plural). A mora is (essentially) the length of a single (full-sized) kana; so is a bit ...
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12 votes
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Understanding Basho haikus in difficult calligraphy

The problem is that the writing is not only old and cursive, but using a lot of obsolete variant kana (hentaigana) that you'd no longer see in the modern documents. Using hentaigana supported by ...
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11 votes
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Strange usage of を-Particle inside a 俳句 (haiku)

What does をり in the last line mean? I have a feeling that it is intentionally written in this way and not as おり (which comes from 居る) There are two parts to this question, though it seems you ...
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9 votes

What does the へさうな mean in "逢へさうな"

This is not particle-へ. Rather it is old kana orthography and さう sound-shifted to そう. In modern orthography it is 逢えそうな【あえそうな】 (Many monolingual dictionaries list old kana orthography of the ...
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7 votes

A lost haiku from the Heian period about the death of a child

I finally found it thanks to @broccoli forest's link in the comments. The book says: And when the Lady Kaga no Chiyo lost her husband she wrote, merely: All things that seem Are but ...
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5 votes

Understanding Basho haikus in difficult calligraphy

As a complement to answer above, the old Japanese writing has thrown another monkey wrench into your way to conquering the Japanese literal world: Kuzushiji. So, you get to make sure aren't any of ...
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5 votes
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What are the meaning and the usage of 夏に入{い}る and 立夏?

立夏 is one of the 24 words called 二十四節気 (Solar term). It specifically refers to May 5 or May 6 (depending on the year; see the linked article). Despite its appearance, it's not a word that simply ...
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5 votes
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Classical form of 落{お}ちる

I don't know if @l'électeur's comments were rhetorical or otherwise, but I only find the poem as 若葉 (not 落葉) and written by 蕪村 (not 芭蕉). Here's a more reliable reference from 青空文庫 ...
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5 votes
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Why does this haiku have a 5-6-5 pattern?

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 ...
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4 votes

Word in haiku - sugara

In this context, すがら roughly means "throughout". Therefore, 夜{よ}もすがら means something like "throughout the night" or "all night long". So, the subject of the haiku was walking around the pond the ...
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4 votes

What constitutes a syllable?

Note that in Japanese poetry, there is a marked avoidance of moraic ん as well as Sino-Japanese lexicon and onbin, so the question is often irrelevant as all the syllables occurring are of form CV. ...
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3 votes

What are the meaning and the usage of 夏に入{い}る and 立夏?

The other answer adequately describes the meaning of the expressions. I'll add something else here. 立夏 立夏 is also used in the context of weather forecasting, for example. From https://weathernews.jp/s/...
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3 votes
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Meaning of 春うらら

実用日本語表現辞典 explains 春うらら as: 春うらら 春のうららかな様子。明るく朗らかで、の‌​‌​どかなさま。 明鏡国語辞典 explains うらら as: う‌​らら【麗ら】〘形容動詞‌​〙うららか。『うららに照る日』『春のうら‌​らの隅田川〈花〉』 and うららか as: ​うららか【麗‌​らか】〘形容動詞〙①空が明るく‌​晴れて‌​...
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2 votes
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What type of clause is 「蛙飛び込む」 in the famous haiku by Basho?

Grammatically 蛙飛び込む modifies 水の音 as a relative clause. It's not that 水の音 modifies 蛙飛び込む. Japanese is an almost pure head-final language, which means a modifying part almost always comes before a ...
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1 vote

Strange usage of を-Particle inside a 俳句 (haiku)

Yes, you are right. “をり”means “居る”.
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