Beggar, beggars


Beggar, begging

***** Location: Kenya, Japan
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Begging means asking people for money, food, shelter or other things, when one is not able to give anything instead. It is also referred to as sponging, spanging (short for "spare-changing") or (in American English) panhandling.

In larger cities, it is common to see beggars who ask for money, food, or other items. Typically, beggars often beg for spare change equipped with coffee cups, mugs, small boxes, hats, or other items into which monies can be placed and sometimes display signs with messages such as "Help me. I'm homeless."
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Bettler, Heimatloser


chokoraa, chokora - "street boy" or "parking boy"

and "street children"
"street mothers"

These are the people (most often boys) living in the street, making an income from begging, collecting and selling rubbish for recycling, keeping an eye on parked cars, and also sniffing glue, eating whatever they can find, and stealing here and there. The government has a policy of bringing the street children into schools or training institutions, and they have become far fewer in the city centre of Nairobi in recent years. They do quite well if they are brought to a home and provided with education; their problem is that usually their parents cannot cope and abandon them to their own devices.

Isabelle Prondzynski

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

a chokoraa waves
his candidate's portrait--
Hamza terminus

Andrew Otinga
September 2010


"Kenya has become a country of ten millionaires
and ten million beggars."

- Kenyan politican J.M. Kariuki, assassinated in 1975
source : www.kenya-advisor.com

Worldwide use


August 25 is the annual Day of the Homeless in Toronto.
It's promoted by The Good Neighbours’ Club.
World Homeless Day is on the 10/10 each year.

Day of the Homeless
a memorial service
for John Doe

Chen-ou Liu

Reference : World Homeless Day



cold January night -
I think beggars are the only ones
without a caste

bitterly cold night -
I toss coins one by one
towards a beggar

duly ironed
dhobi casts the moon
again in the sky

with the bowl--
beggar collecting
spring happiness

Manu Kant
JOJ, 2012

The Dhobi are a caste group found in Pakistan, India who specialize in washing clothes. The word Dhobi is derived from Hindi word dhona, which means to wash. They are found throughout North India, Gujarat, Maharashtra as well as the Punjab province of Pakistan, where they are known as Gazar. The Dhobi is likely to be of diverse origin, with those who ancestors took the occupation of washing clothes evolving over time into a distinct caste, bound by rules of endogamy. Most Dhobis follow the customs and traditions of the region they live, so for example those in North India speak Hindi, while those in Maharashtra speak Marathi.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !



monogoi 物ごい / 物乞い beggar, begging

binboonin 貧乏人 Bimbo, "a poor person"

gokutsubushi 穀つぶし, 穀潰し, ごくつぶし a person without a job or income

hoomuresu ホームレス homeless

. Poor Monk (dooshinboo 道心坊) .
konjiki, kojiki, kotsujiki 乞食 beggar, Bettelmönch

kojiki 乞食 beggar (an old word used by Issa)
tsuji no kojiki 辻の乞食 crossroads beggar

. komo o kite tarebito imasu hana no haru .
who is this man wearing a straw mat ?

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 and his Beggar Haiku .


shirami toru kojiki no tsuma ya ume ga moto

the beggar's wife
picks off the lice -
under the plum blossoms

Tr. Gabi Greve

tsuki tenshin mazushiki machi o toorikeri

the full moon
overhead, i pass through
a poor town

Tr. Robin D. Gill

. moon and Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .

by Yamaguchi Hitomi 山口瞳

tsukitenshin, a kigo for autumn.


runpen ルンペン "Lumpen", tramp, loafer, bum, hobo

CLICK for more photos

runpen ni koyoi no benchi ari ya nashi

for the tramp
a bench tonight -
maybe yes, maybe not

runpen no utage no sora ni hoshi hitotsu

at the banquet
of the tramps high in the sky
just one star

. ルンペン晩餐図
Shinohara Hosaku 篠原鳳作


boro ぼろ tattered cloths, rags
boro ichi ぼろ市 flea market
Any piece of an old robe could be re-used like patchwork to make another robe, then a piece of wiping cloth and finally back to earth to become manure. In the Edo period, not one thread was wasted.

ushiro kara boro o warau yo ume no hana

behind me
laughter at my rags...
plum blossoms

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

. . . . .

boro utte sake koote samishiku mo aru ka

If I sell my rags
And buy some sake
Will there still be loneliness?

. 山頭火 Santoka and Sake



Beggars in Mongolia
- Reference -

while everything awakens
a beggar sleeps soundly

Sodkhuu Altanchuluun



Down at city bus-link
Waiting, destination nowhere !

- Shared by Mokhtar Sah Malik -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2014

Things found on the way

. Deity to bring poverty 貧乏神 binboogami, bimbogami
with Haiku by Kobayashi Issa - bimbô kami

Priest Daito as beggar

Kojiki Daitoozoo
白隠慧鶴筆 Painting by Hakuin

source : Tokyo National Museum


. Shotoku Taishi and Daruma as a beggar


namekuji yo onushi itsu kara hoomuresu

dear slug !
since when are you

Maeda Tomio 前田吐実男
source : rekishitanbou.com


sudden rain--
the dwarf beggar limps
to the pavement

Caleb Mutua


Patrick Wafula

even beggars
line up mangoes for sale--
Haile Selassie Avenue

source : Nairobi Haiku

ndizi for lunch --
a ragged beggar
asks me for a coin

source : Arusha Travel

ndizi is Swahili for banana


drizzling --
a beggar tightly clings to
a mug of hot tea

~Simon Magak (Bamboocha)

source : Tea in Kenya


festive month--
Christmas tones from the
blind beggar's flute

Caleb David Mutua, Kenya, 2009

Christmas Haiku


the old beggar -
a pockmarked face
always smiling

Gabi Greve, 2005
My beggar friend in India

cold winter eve -
a homeless heads
for KFC's backdoor

Gabi Greve, Fast Food


winter sunset --
the beggar's shadow
grows thinner

Melissa Spurr
Shiki Kukai October 2009


first snow --
the homeless man's bed is
no longer here

The first snow fell in Brussels on 25 November, when I wrote this haiku. The homeless man, who had lived for more than a year in the sheltered corner of an office building, disappeared that day with his bed and his few other belongings, which he had always kept so tidily. He has still not returned, and I wonder, worry, what has become of him...

Isabelle Prondzynski
Happy Haiku, December 2010


mango peels-
a chokoraa makes
a feast

Andrew Otinga
Januaray 2011

Related words

***** WKD : Haiku with BEGGAR

***** . kojiki shibai 乞食芝居 beggar's performance, beggar's play .
hitorishibai, hitori shibai 一人芝居 one-man theater
often with the left and right side of the body with different make-up and costumes, so one person could play two roles.

begger #beggar #kojiki



Anonymous said...

homeless . . .
a plastic bag drifts
across the sidewalk

Dietmar Tauchner


Gabi Greve said...

spring rain ...
a homeless man by the roadside
and wildflowers

Sandip Sital Chauhan
(Joys of Japan)

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

first snow --
beggar at the door early
calls me "God Ebisu"

hatsu-yuki ya asa-ebisu suru kado kojiki

Kobayashi Issa

comment by Chris Drake is HERE

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

tanabata ya yoi ko mottaru kojiki-mura

star festival --
in the beggar village
they're all good kids

Tr. Chris Drake

Read the discussion about hinin

Iss said...

kotsujiki no sumoo ni sae mo hiiki kana

the beggar
gives money even
to his favorite wrestler

This hokku was written in the eighth month (September) of 1821, when Issa was in and around his hometown. Most beggars in Issa's time were no doubt fans of various kinds of performers, but Issa is amazed by one beggar, who seems to be doing extremely well: he is a patron and supporter of even a sumo wrestler. This means he meets the wrestler and gives him money and valuable presents. In some cases Japanese patrons also became part-time lovers of their favorite performers. Issa stresses "even," so the beggar also seems to be a patron of one or more other performers, such as his favorite Kabuki actor, storyteller, or musician. In Issa's home province of Shinano, sumo had been very popular since ancient times, when it seems to have begun as a shamanic fortune-telling ritual held to estimate the size of the fall harvest. In Issa's time, there were many tournaments in Shinano between sumo wrestlers at the big Suwa Shrine and by visiting groups of wrestlers who performed at local Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. It wasn't easy to become a patron of a famous wrestler, so the beggar must be giving him a fair amount of money. I wonder if there might not be the further suggestion that the beggar was once a performer himself who still has his communication skills and enough presence to persuade many passersby to contribute to his cause.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

himajin ya daratsuki akite wakaba kage

in the shade
of new leaves a loafer
tired of his leisure

In this hokku Issa seems to be referring to a man who gets along by doing as little work as possible but ends up finding himself in a psychological bind. Uninterested in working regularly in a rice field or at a local job, he seems to be resting by himself in the shade of trees which are now putting out fresh new leaves, yet he has so much free time he paradoxically feels tired (-akite). He may have a worried look on his face or just look unhappy. Issa says the person has grown tired of his slow-moving leisurely lifestyle, so perhaps he envies people he sees moving around energetically nearby and envies even the fresh new leaves that are energetically appearing on the limbs of the trees. Issa doesn't indicate the precise reason for his weariness, but a guess would be that it is related to being isolated from the rhythms of ordinary social life. He doesn't seem to be a Daoist who delights in outwitting utilitarian and narrowly rationalistic thinking and thereby spontaneously communes with the Way of the universe. Rather, his tiredness, ennui, and preference for shadows may be the result of growing lethargy and literally not knowing what to do with his time.

Two hokku before the above hokku in Issa's diary is a hokku that uses a word that is similar to hima-jin in the sense of loafer or idler:

an idle man changes
into summer robes
just to kill time

muda-bito ya hima ni agunde koromo-gae

The word muda-bito in the first line literally means 'useless or unemployed person' and referred both to the idle rich and to people who lived off others without working or who did nothing with their lives. In the hokku Issa implies that the person has separated himself from the ordinary rhythms of society and so when lunar summer arrives he (or she) feels nothing special about changing into summer robes, an important moment in the daily lives of most people. He doesn't know what to do with all his free time, and he seems to lose his sensitivity to many of the subtle changes in nature and society that constantly appear as time flows onward.

Both of these third-person hokku seem to be objective. If Issa is referring to himself here, he must be using a lot of irony, especially since he never got seriously weary or tired of his life's work -- writing haikai. Issa sometimes used hyperbole and referred to himself as a beggar, especially while he was living mostly at other people's houses in Edo and on travels, and later in life he was well aware that many people in his hometown thought he was strange for not becoming a farmer and working in the rice fields he inherited from his father. At the same time, Issa did not consider writing haikai to be a useless activity or or a form of being unemployed. He worked exceeding hard, especially after returning to his hometown, to support himself as a haikai teacher while creating a network of what he considered progressive haikai poets in the mountainous region in which he lived. He tirelessly traveled around teaching, encouraging, editing anthologies, and writing renku with local haikai poets even in the winter months. Issa was not an artless nightingale warbling in the wilds but an energetic and intense poet who never tired of experimenting and writing large numbers of hokku while enthusiastically reading the work of his contemporaries along with works of classical Japanese poetry and prose.

Chris Drake