Matsuo Bashō of the Edo period, the best known haiku poet – his complete poetry is translated in the book On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho – was born in Iga-ueno near Kyoto in 1644, and he began writing verse while acting as a companion to a local aristocrat. Bashō was not only a master of haiku, but also a Buddhist monk and a great traveller – when he travelled he relied entirely on the hospitality of temples and fellow poets.

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