Let's compose haiku like taking a picture!

In 1688, a poet visited Mt.Ryumon-dake in Yoshino village.

His name was Matsuo Basho. He is one of Japan's most famous poets.

His poems are haiku, a uniquely Japanese form of poetry.

Haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry consisting of three lines. Rhythm is important, and it usually has 17 syllables, with the first and third lines each having 5 syllables, and the middle line having 7 syllables.

Try reading a Japanese haiku out loud. Feel the rhythm of the haiku. The author of this haiku is Matsuo Basho. Don't think about the meaning, just recite it.

Fu Ru I Ke Ya
Ka Wa Zu To Bi Ko Mu
Mi Zu No O To

Here is the translation of this haiku.

  • 1.Old pond-Frogs jumped in-Sound of water.(Translated by Lafcadio Hearn)
  • 2.The ancient pond-A frog leaps in-The sound of the water.(Translated byDonald Keane)

It may be difficult at first, but after repeating it five or six times, you will be able to feel the rhythm of the Japanese language. It may be interesting to read it while keeping the beat.

This repetition of five and seven syllables is also the basis of Japanese rhythm, and until about 50 years ago, this rhythm of five and seven syllables was often used in music.

And there is a rule that haiku must always include words that describe the seasons.

Haiku focuses on the description of nature. It captures a moment in time and depicts, in that moment, the various thoughts and feelings of human life.

The frog haiku I mentioned earlier just describes a frog jumping into a pond, but the fact that it says "old pond" suggests that it is a quiet, lonely pond. When the frog jumps into that quiet place and the sound of the frog disappears, we are again left with a quiet, lonely scene, as if nothing had happened.

Many scholars have offered various interpretations of this short poem, which gives a sense of the expanse of the universe as well as its ephemeral nature.

To create a haiku, you must

  • 1. start with a seasonal word or phrase to establish the time of year
  • 2. choose a natural scene or subject related to the season.
  • 3. use sensory language to capture the moment or feeling of the scene
  • 4. follow a 5-7-5 syllable pattern with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line
  • 5. Keep it simple and clear, use cutting and unexpected words and phrases in the third line, and create contrasts and juxtapositions.

You do not need to be fluent in Japanese! There is an established genre of English haiku, and a growing number of Japanese people are becoming enthusiasts.

You don't have to be limited by the number of syllables, just write in three lines.

Focus on rhythm, use your own words, and write haiku as you would take a picture!

It will surely be a good memory of your trip.

The point is to write with as few I's as possible.

Matsuo Basho, who came to Yoshino's Mt.Ryumon-dake, composed two haiku while looking at the Ryumon Falls.

Meaning: I want to tell my drinking friend about the view of flowers blooming at this waterfall.

Meaning: Let the flowers blooming at Ryumon be a souvenir for my sake-drinking friends.

Matsuo Basho then stayed at a private house that used to exist where the parking lot of Fukubatake is located, and wrote that he was very impressed by the kindness of the family.