Kaga no Chiyojo

朝顔(あさがお)に つるべ取(と)られて もらい水(みず)。

asagao ni / tsurube torarete / morai mizu.Oh, Morning Glory! / I see you have entwined the well bucket / the water, I shall borrow

The Morning Glory is the seasonal word (季語 kigo) and represents autumn.

The poet wants water from the well but finds that during the night, the Morning Glory had entwined itself around the bucket. If she uses the bucket to get water, she will pull the vine from the plant. Not wanting to do that, she goes to ask for water from a neighbor (もらい水 morai mizu)


Oh, Morning Glory! / I see you have entwined the well bucket / the water, I shall borrow

  • 朝顔 asagao – Morning Glory flower
  • に ni – (taken) by (Morning Glory)
  • つるべ tsurube – well bucket
  • 取られて torarete – was taken [te form conjunctive of 取られる (to be taken)]
  • もらい水 morai mizu – borrowed water

Imagine going to the well in the morning to draw some water but finding a Morning Glory vine had wrapped all around the well bucket. What would you do? Pull the plant from its roots and draw your water? Or would you go next door to borrow water from a neighbor?

Ukiyo-e of the haiku

One of the last great masters of ukiyo-e, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, did a woodcut of today’s poem somewhere around 1840. To him, the poem was a century old and already a part of Japanese culture.

Kaga no Chiyo (1703-1775) was a female poet from the Edo period. She is regarded as one of the greatest poets of all time and widely considered an important creative voice for future Japanese women to follow.

More Haiku by KAGA NO CHIYO

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