The Great Tanka Poet Bokusui Wakayama
Bokusui Wakayama was the pen-name for a Japanese author noted for his poetry in pre-World War II Japan. Wakayama was born in Togo, Miyazaki, (now part of the city of Hyuga as the eldest son of a doctor. He became interested in poetry from middle school, taking the name of "Bokusui" from the age of 18.
Bokusui’s poems, according to the Japanese translator and literary scholar Donald Keene, were “filled with romantic expressions of grief and longing” but they also possessed something quite distinctive: “a vitality and a feeling for nature that set his work apart.” Bokusi traveled widely throughout Japan and Korea during his lifetime, composing a great many tanka along the way.
The famous poet Wakayama Bokusui was also a great lover of alcohol. He wrote many poems related to sake, such as the one saying that "There are many pleasures in this world, but without sake, what is the point?" In honor of this great lover of sake, August 24, his birthday, has come to be known as Love of Sake Day.
Celebrate With the Finest Sake!
This is a great occasion to enjoy some premium Junmai Daiginjo! Junmai Daiginjo is a very special brew sake made only from highly-polished (polished to 50% or less) rice, water and koji, without any additives. This is a sake that is made to enjoy slowly - junmai daiginjos have complex flavors and aromas, and are usually served chilled to bring out the best of them.
You can choose from a variety of junmai daiginjo from our shop, including famous brands such as Dassai, Ichigin, etc. So how about having a evening with some Japanese tanka and the finest sake? Here's some of of Bokusui's Wakayama's poetry to enjoy while slowly sipping on junmai daingijo of your choice!
Wondering how many
mountains and rivers I should
cross to reach the place
where solitude finally ends –
I start traveling again today
How should I
answer if someone asks
why I am so
out of my mind with it –
this sake's exquisite flavor
Some distance away
thunder roars divinely
yet here rainless –
under crimson sunset clouds
I keep heating sake alone
––––Translations by Gregory Dunne and Goro Takano