Saturday, February 04, 2006

You Only Live Twice

heizei sunawachi jisei nari
nanigoto zo kono setsu ni ara n ya?

every day's poem is a death verse
what else could there be at this time?
--Basho (October 10, 1694; two days prior to his death)

I had often heard that the title of You Only Live Twice was taken from a verse by Basho: "You only live twice/ Once when you are born/ And once when you stare death in the face."

It turns out this is totally wrong. This is supposedly a "haiku" made up by James Bond himself.

However, Fleming confuses the inattentive reader, first by putting the verse at the beginning of the book and labeling it as, "After Bassho, Japanese poet, 1643-94." Later on Bond seems to attribute his own haiku to Basho: "As Bassho said, or almost said, 'You only live twice.'"

There are a lot of trivia questions out there with the wrong answer.


At 9:56 AM, February 05, 2006, Blogger Antagonist said...

James Bond!

At 5:35 PM, May 28, 2011, Anonymous magic 44 said...

I found nothing under Basho on the title which really sounds more Fleming than poetry. One never pictures Connery when reading the Fleming novels, rather I pictured myself, as I think the author did.


Post a Comment

<< Home