Looking for a haiku

A long time ago, I read a lighthearted haiku which went something like:

Playing the master, three stones
Today the pupil; still,
three stones.

The meaning would be that the narrator is used to playing handicap games against a pro at a certain handicap, but then realises that the pupil (insei?) can give him the same handicap, so the master was clearly going easy on him. He is disappointed but it makes for a good laugh.

I cannot remember where I read that, nor can I find it tonight. In my head the author was SĂ´seki but I probably imagined this bit. Any help is appreciated.


(I get 0 in culture, but I thought it meant “conditioned to lose, not confident” or something.)

Just an idea, maybe someone fluent in Japanese can provide a proper translation, Google results might be more helpful in the original language (although I’ve seen results in romanization be more accurate than English translations). Sorry I can’t help. :slightly_frowning_face:


Maybe you will find it here.


I really only remember the approximate meaning, but I definitely read it in an English translation, and searching in English didn’t help. I could make up a Japanese translation but, knowing the strange grammar used in haiku, I don’t fancy my chances.

However, the original was definitely Japanese; it was a “little poem” but the author was somebody known. It might have been a tanka instead of a haiku.

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I found it! It is a senryu by Karai Hachiemon :slight_smile:

Sensei ni
yon moku, deshi ni mo
yon moku nari

With the teacher,
it’s four stones; with the pupil too,
it’s four stones.

The “go haiku” page didn’t seem of any help but it brought me to this old page on the Kiseido website with a very nice article, I highly recommend it, the writing and the poems are entertaining. It is probably where I found it in the first place.


and now back to work?