Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Deaf haiku poet in the Edo period (1600-1868)
Sampu, who was the owner of a fish wholesale store under the Tokugawa shogunate, supported Basho's life with his economic strength.
He was Deaf and weak by birth. Though it is unknown when he followed Basho to study haiku, he was one of Basho's ten best disciples.
The "Basho's hermitage" was the guardhouse of the fish preserve possessed by Sampu who provided when Basho moved to live in 1680. Also Sampu and his fellow paid to build the home for Basho who returned to Edo from a long trip in Eastern Japan. Sampu took care of his master Basho over twenty years until Basho passed away.
Basho was sad about his favorite disciple Sampu being Deaf, and once mentioned about him: "Sampu did not use deafness-related phrases, which made himself more respected and elegant in the haiku style."
We don't know exactly how Sampu communicated with his master and fellows, but reasonably in writing for the communication.