What’s a Bagworm? and What Did a Raincoat Look Like in Japan in 1760?

So there’s this haiku by Buson:

みのむしの得たりかしこし初時雨

like a bagworm   I’m all right   first winter rain


Another pretty good poet, Bashō, had written this:

初しぐれ狼も小蓑をほしげ也

first winter rain   the monkey too  wants a little raincoat


And Kikaku, Bashō’s disciple, wrote this:

蓑を着て鷺こそ進め夕しぐれ

donning a raincoat     this heron advances      evening winter rain


What all three of these haiku have in common is the central image of the traveler out of doors in late autumn or early winter, with the first, cold rain of the season starting to fall. Raincoats at the time were not much — bunches of straw woven together to hold off the rain.

簑(みの)

But the image, in all three cases, equates the man in the straw raincoat with the animal.

Basho — macaque:

saru

Kikaku — heron:

heron

Buson — bagworm:

IMG_0008


I’ll be sharing more of Buson’s haiku on Instagram: @turnipdiary. See you there!

photo credit: Jigokudani Yaen-Koen 2008-01-12 138 via photopin (license)

photo credit: Heron 2 via photopin (license)

photo credit: Man in traditional straw raincoat, Japan via photopin (license)