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Interestingly, in 1996 an article in Asia Week claimed in the original manuscript of The Narrow Road to the Deep North was found in the library of an Osaka bookseller.

It appears the manuscript was discovered after an earthquake.

The name of Matsuo Basho is associated especially with the celebrated Genroku era (ca.

1680-1730), which saw the flourishing of many of Japan's greatest and most typical literary and artistic personalities.

Although Basho was the contemporary of writers like the novelist and poet Ihara Saikaku and the dramatist Chikamatsu Monzaemon, he was far from being an exponent of the new middle-class culture of the city dwellers of that day.

Rather, in his poetry and in his attitude toward life he seemed to harken back to a period some 300 years earlier.

An innovator in poetry, spiritually and culturally he maintained a great tradition of the past.