naviarhaiku496 – mountain’s red leaves

mountain’s red leaves
the setting sun returns
to the sky

Among the four great masters of Japanese haiku, Kobayashi Issa was the most prolific: during his lifetime he wrote over 20,000 haiku, hundreds of tanka, and several haibun. If you want to find out more about this prolific author I suggest you check out this database of his haiku.

From the Haiku Guy website:

“Literally, Issa says that the autumn foliage “returns the setting sun to the sky” (irihi wo sora e kaesu). Is he saying that the leaves on the mountain are so bright and red, the setting sun has returned to the sky?

Shinji Ogawa has also mulled over this haiku. He suggests that perhaps “the red leaves reflect the rays of the evening sun to the sky; that is why the sky glows so red.”

Seven days to make music in response to the assigned haiku: to participate visit


Deadline: 12th July 2023

Haiku by Kobayashi Issa

Picture by Laura Vinck

1 thought on “naviarhaiku496 – mountain’s red leaves”

  1. i rather like the original word order, suggesting that the colours of the autumn leaves return the sun to the sky. i find it more poetic and more inviting of reflection.

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