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Unpublished haiku poems by Shiki Masaoka found.

TOKYO, July 2 Kyodo

An autographed collection of poems by haiku great Shiki Masaoka, including unpublished verse, was found recently and will be auctioned soon during a secondhand book fair, literary sources said Thursday.

The collection includes a number of 17-syllable haiku poems composed by Shiki (1867-1902) and his friend Soseki Natsume (1867-1916), a prominent Japanese novelist who wrote in the late 19th and early 20th century and studied haiku under Shiki.

The collection was recently brought to a secondhand bookshop in Tokyo, the sources said.

Haiku experts believe the 670-page book was compiled around 1894, citing the author's calligraphic style and the haiku poems included in the collection.

The secondhand book fair will open Friday in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward and the starting bid price for the collection has been set at 20 million yen (about $210,000), the sources said.

Haiku authority Ichiro Fukumoto, professor emeritus at Kanagawa University in Yokohama, says, ''It's extremely rare for unpublished haiku poems by Shiki to be found. It is a very precious document for studying Shiki's work.''

Fukumoto says one of the unpublished haiku poems by Shiki in the collection is ''Mago hitori umani hikaruru kareno kana'' (A lone horseman is pulled by his horse in a desolate field).

The collection also includes a different version of a published haiku poem by Shiki -- ''Kakemono-no daruma niramuya aki-no kure'' (A ''daruma'' doll on a wall casts a fierce glance in an autumn sunset).

Shiki's published poem uses the term ''Tokonoma-no'' instead of ''Kakemono-no.'' Tokonoma is a type of Japanese room where artwork is displayed, while kakemono refers to scroll pictures. The recently discovered version is of ''higher quality,'' according to Fukumoto.

Shiki was a haiku and tanka master, an essayist and a Japanese-language scholar. Among his best known haiku is ''Kaki kueba kane ga narunari Horyuji''(I bite into a persimmon and the bell in Horyuji resounds).

''It had been thought that as Shiki was meticulous about recording things almost all of his haiku poems were known,'' said Fukumoto, adding that he can tell from the newly found poems that Shiki placed importance on ''comicality.''

The sources said haiku researchers knew of the existence of the collection but it had never been found.

The collection also reveals that Shiki graded Soseki's poems with circles and double circle marks, so readers will be able to learn about his standards for selecting good poems and his view of haiku, the sources said.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jul 6, 2009
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