Saturday, July 03, 2010

Hello Japan! July mini-challenge: Haiku

Hello Japan!
Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there will be a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. Anyone is welcome to join in any time. You can post about the task on your blog. Or if you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment on the Hello Japan! post for the month. Everyone who completes the task will then be included in the drawing for that month's prize. For more information, just click on the Hello Japan! button above, or if you have any questions please feel free to email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com.
July's Topic

In June we focused on manga, a relatively modern art form, so for a change of pace, this month we're going to look at a different kind of art, the written art of haiku. From WikipediaHaiku (俳句) is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 moras (or on), in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively. Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables, this is inaccurate as syllables and moras are not the same. Haiku typically contain a kigo (seasonal reference), and a kireji (cutting word). In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku. Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century.

On Love and Barley
At the ancient pond
a frog plunges into
the sound of water

A lovely spring night
suddenly vanished while we
viewed cherry blossoms.

July's Task

July's task is to read, write, or otherwise appreciate, haiku. Now don't worry, you don't have to be a poetry afficionado to take part. You just have to take a moment to enjoy a haiku or two during these hot summer days (or cold winter nights depending which hemisphere you call home).

magnetic haiku
Haiku, a poem,
Five, seven, five syllables.
Life frozen in words.

Line one sets the stage,
Line two tells more about it.
Line three is the heart.
[From Enchanted Learning]
Here are a few suggestions on how you can complete this month's haiku mini-challenge:
*write your own haiku (How to Write a Haiku)
*read a book, or collection, of haiku (Japanese haiku online)
*share a favourite haiku, or two, or three...
*share a photo of a place mentioned in a haiku
*learn about one of the famous haiku poets, like Bashō, Buson, Issa, or others
*instead of traditional haiku, go for something modern (Zombie Haiku)
*or anything else that relates to haiku in some way

July's Prize

The Sound of Water

July's prize is this cute little book, The Sound of Water: Haiku by Bashō, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets.

To be eligible for the prize, you must complete this month's mini-challenge and provide a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment with the details on this post, or email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com. You are welcome to post more than once and add the links below. I love it when you are enthusiastic about a topic! However, each participant will receive only one entry per month. It doesn't matter if you've won previously, you're eligible each month that you participate. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Once you have completed the task, don't forget to come back here to add your link to the Mr. Linky below. Please submit the link to the actual post, not just to your top page, and please only submit links to posts relating to the Hello Japan! task for this month. All other links will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding. Have fun!

Happy haiku!

The small print:  Links in this post to Amazon contain my Associates ID.  Purchases made via these links earn me a very small commission.  For more information please visit my About Page.


  1. I'm excited about this mini-challenge! I love haiku but haven't read any in awhile! Count me in!

  2. Hi,

    At the ancient pond
    a frog plunges into
    the sound of water
    by Matsuo Basho

    Above is probably the most well known
    Haiku in Japan.

    I read the following translation of the same
    haiku a few years ago. I forgot who translated it
    but liked it. What do you think?

    a frog jumped into
    an ancient pond

    I forgot if it was an ancient pond
    or the ancient pond

    It is not a word to word translation
    but I really liked it

  3. Now this is a 'task' I'm especially interested in! Woo hoo! Can't wait, Tanabata, to think of what I'll post, or how I'll participate. The ideas area already whirling...

  4. Bellezza turned me on to this challenge!

  5. Oh this sounds fabulous! I've loved all the Haiku I've read, so I should go find a collection of it!

  6. Hi, Tanabata-san. Thank you for making this mini-challenge. Above, I already register my Hello Japan's first post. Hope I don't ruin anything since my understanding of Haiku is not much. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. :)

  7. I had already written a series of blog posts about haiku in April and May of this year, so missed my chance to participate in this month's challenge. After writing a haiku about Terry Fox this month, I wanted to share it with a wider audience here.

  8. Murakami book
    A cold winter morning. What?! -
    Not another cat!

  9. No Mr. Linky is showing today, but here's my post with the haiku (more difficult than it looks).

  10. My submission to the July challenge is this haiku that I wrote:

    On hot dusk-dark grass
    The blue heron startles back
    Feathers dripping oil

    It was inspired by a blue heron that I see on my walks in my neighborhood near Lake Pontchartrain (which is near the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, but not on it). Thankfully, 'my' heron and my area haven't been directly affected by the recent oil spill, but when I see 'my' heron and the birds around here, I think of the wildlife that has been harmed.

  11. I've completed the task, at least!;)


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