ishikawa jozan letter

Ishikawa Jozan | Letter


This letter is about fish and poetry, about gratitude and sorrow. Ishikawa Jozan was a prominent Samurai recluse, garden designer, and literatus but he also was a teacher. And one of his students was Tsuda Masazane, an influential statesman with a serious hobby.


I respectfully read your letter written on the eighth day of this month. And for the ten mackerels from Noto [mackerel is a signature product from Noto. As is tea from Uji or Sake from Itami, and not to mention Whale from Iki], you send me each time, I cannot thank you enough. I congratulate you on your health. Also, the old man here [i.e. Jozan himself] spends days mostly without trouble. Thus, do not worry about me.


What did Jozan have in mind when writing "mostly without trouble"? May be that he had at least some trouble. And he goes on...


You have sent me some beautiful poems some of which I have corrected with red brush. This time, the good ones sounded pure and sublime. As I wrote you in my last letter, creating without idling is rare and praiseworthy. Do not give up. You may reach higher and beyond someday. Moreover, thank you for your consideration that you offered clothing to Senboku [i.e. Hirai Senboku, Jozans assistant]. I am expecting to hear from you