“Bashõ, Me and the Poetics of Pilgrimage” a Lecture by Dr. Robert Sibley


On March 20th, the Embassy of Japan hosted a lecture entitled “Bashõ, Me and the Poetics of Pilgrimage” by Dr. Robert Sibley, a senior writer at the Ottawa Citizen and adjunct professor of political science at Carleton University.


In the spring of 2005, Dr. Sibley visited the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage on foot. Originally serialized as “The Way of Shikoku” in the Ottawa Citizen in 2005, he published his experiences as a book “The Way of the 88 Temples – Journeys on the Shikoku Pilgrimage” in 2013.


In his opening remarks, Mr. Hiroshi Karube, Minister of the Embassy, expressed his hope that the talk would inspire the audience to take their own journey to Japan, perhaps even attempting the Shikoku pilgrimage themselves.


Dr. Sibley talked about his 55 day, 1400 km journey, drawing similarities between his own experience and those of Bashõ Matsuo, a haiku poet and one of Japan’s most famous travel writers, who recounted his travels in his book “Narrow Road to the Interior.”


During the lecture, the 140 attendees could view Dr. Sibley’s photos projected on the wall, allowing them to truly appreciate his experience. At the Question and Answer session after the lecture, the audience posed a variety of questions ranging from the religious outlook of Japanese people to advice for undertaking the Shikoku pilgrimage.



Minister Karube delivering opening remarks



Dr. Robert Sibley giving his lecture



Question and Answer Session




Dr. Sibley’s book “The Way of the 88 Temples: Journeys on the Shikoku Pilgrimage-”