Fueki Ryuko

Fueki Ryuko — ‘Constancy and change.’ The enduring patterns in the ever changing stream of nature. Sometimes understood to be the eternal truths that poets try to communicate.

permanence and change“,
synthesis between tradition and innovation
Fueki Ryuko 不易流行(ふえきりゅうこう)

fuga no makoto is a result or product of the dynamism of two colliding forces: fueki ryuko, which is another important teaching of Basho.
Fueki simply means “no change” and refers to values of a permanent and enduring nature.

Ryuko, on the other hand, means “changing fashions of the time” and refers to newness, innovation, originality or unconventional values that would break with old ways in a revolutionary manner.

For instance, Beethoven created new and innovative music, ushering in a new age and setting a new trend. However, he did not do so without first having been steeped in classical music of an old tradition. Thus he had fueki ryuko and left legacy of permanent value.
None of us is Beethoven, but all of us can become a little Beethoven! Fueki ryuko is an abbreviation of senzai-fueki ichiji-ryuko (eternal no-change and temporary fashion).

When fueki and ryuko collide and interact in a dynamic explosion of creative haiku writing, the result could be like a newly born baby taking after both parents but different from both. And there is a single ultimate value that lies beyond fueki ryuko, and that is nothing but fuga no makoto.

— Susumu Takiguchi

“”Fueki ryuko”… is one of the essential principles of what I call Basho’s dialectic poetics. It should be given much greater significance than was originally perceived. This is because it now applies to almost all aspects of modern Japan where the balance between fueki, or permanent values, and ryuko, or changes, is shaky. A similar situation is also seen elsewhere in the world.

The two words can be interpreted in more ways than one. Fueki, for instance, can represent unchanging tradition while ryuko can represent changing fashion. Since the two are contradictory there should be a kind of creative tension generated between them. This tension should keep haiku fresh, creative and interesting. If people cling to tradition and neglect newness (or atarashimi) inherent in fashion, then haiku could become stale, imitative and boring. If, on the other hand, people indulge in newness without tradition, haiku could become gimmicky, incomprehensible and nonsensical. Needless to say, fueki should be genuine fueki, and ryuko should be genuine ryuko. And here starts one of the most important arguments, “What makes fueki and ryuko genuine?”” — Susumu Takiguchi

When a haijin (a writer of haiku) writes a haiku about something wabi sabi she will often attempt to capture both its transient beauty and the abiding qualities within the beauty, what haiku masters in years past called, Fueki Ryuko. Such haiku stimulate feelings of favorable melancholy. The most successful haiku of this type produce a clarity of perception in which the reader sees the subject of the haiku for what it is. There is a release of any desire to repair or arrest the effects of time, experience, or age. Everything is just right the way it is, defects and all. — Richard R. Powell

More on fueki ryuko here.