Matsuo Bashō is one of the most famous poets of the Edo period and the greatest figure active in Japanese haikai during the latter half of the seventeenth century. He made his life’s work the transformation of haikai into a literary genre. For Bashō, haikai involved a combination of comic playfulness and spiritual depth, ascetic practice and involvement in human society. He composed haikai masterpieces in a variety of genres, including renku, haibun, and haiga. In contrast to the traditional Japanese poetry of his day, Bashō’s haikai treated the ordinary, everyday lives of commoners, portraying figures from popular culture such as the beggar, the traveler and the farmer. In crystallizing the newly popular haikai, he played a significant role in giving birth to modern haiku, which reflected the common culture.