Hino Sojo (1901
) was a 20th century Japanese haiku
poet and the first poet to rebel against the strict conservatism of Takahama Kyoshi
and his followers.
Sojo grew up in Korea
, where his father worked, but attended college in Japan
. He earned a law degree from Kyoto University
and joined an Osaka
insurance company in 1924
. Eventually, he worked his way up to the prestigious position of Kobe
branch manager in 1945
While still a teenager, his haiku was published in Hototogisu
, the organ of Kyoshi and his followers. But Sojo began chaff at the restrictive rules of the Hototogisu
school and started writing haiku on themes traditionally foreign to haiku. Topics such as young love, virginity, spinsters, and nudism shocked conservative readers, and especially shocking was his series of haiku depicting a bride and groom on their wedding night. He was "excommunicated" from the Hototogisu
group in 1936
During World War II
, Sojo reduced his literary output as a result of wartime restrictions. He lost most of his possessions in a 1945 air raid
. In 1946
, he caught pneumonia
and spent most of the rest of his life in his sickbed. He eventually lost the use of both his right lung and his right eye.
Ironically, his poetry towards the end of his life was actually very traditional. Critics believe his later work is much better than his younger work, which is interesting in historical terms in how it expanded the realm of haiku but not considered first rate in literary terms.