Ton'a (頓阿?, 1289-1372), also spelled as Tonna; lay name – Nikaidō Sadamune 二階堂貞宗. A Japanese Buddhist poet, student of Nijō Tameyo 二条為世. Ton'a took a tonsure at Enryaku-ji Temple, but was later associated with the Ji sect 時宗 (founded by Ippen). He looked up to Saigyō's poetic genius. Here are two of his most well-known poems:
naku semi no
koe mo hitotsu ni
matsu kage suzushi
yama no takitsuse
are in one voice with the sound
– cool, in the shade of the pines –
from a mountain cascade.
ne ni tatete
nageku wa nani zo
munashiki yo to wa
shiranu mono ka wa
Just what can it be
that makes them cry so loudly?
But, ah, of course: cicadas would know
how empty is this world
of the cicada shell.
- Carter, Steven D. Traditional Japanese Poetry : an Anthology. Stanford, CA, USA: Stanford University Press, 1991. p 255. ISBN 9780804715621
- The shell shed by the cicada was a conventional symbol for ephemerality. Adapted from Carter, Steven D. Just Living : Poems and Prose of the Japanese Monk Tonna. New York, NY, USA: Columbia University Press, 2003. p 133. ISBN 9780231125529
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