A sick man, venturing away from the heater to see the snow


yamu hito no kotatsu hanarete yukimi kana

(Natsume Sōseki 夏目漱石)



A kotatsu is a blanket-covered table with a heater under it. To move away from the heater means, in this case, to pull one’s body from under the blanket and brave the coldness of the room—something that even a healthy person would be reluctant to do in a typical traditional house in Japan, with its minimal insulation.


Yukimi, literally “snow viewing”, refers to looking at a snowy scene in the context of admiring its beauty. In haiku it functions as a season word associated with winter.

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Journal of Japanese Poetry Translation

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