Haiku by World Children : Impressions of Wind (かぜのうた)


The Akita International Haiku Network is now organizing Japan – Russia Haiku Contest(日露俳句コンテスト), sponsored by The JAL Foundation(日航財団).

The JAL Foundation has just contributed Haiku By World Children Vol.10 : Impressions of Wind (かぜのうた) for the contest.


Here is a photo of the haiku book.




You can get the haiku book through amazon.co.jp.


Here is Prologue “Sense of Life by Tota Kaneko.

It says in the first paragraph as follows.


When I heard that the 10th edition of Haiku by World Children was being published, it reminded me of one haiku that was in its first edition published about 20 years ago and has somehow stayed in my mind all these years:

It read:


     Hey, bamboo shoots

     They are going to take

     My cast off too!

                   Yohei Hatagami (Translated by Jack Stamm)



生き物感覚 金子兜太(俳人)


           たけのこよぼくもギブスがとれるんだ(畑上 洋平)



Here are some photos of the haiku and pictures by world children. And the other paragraphs of Prologue sometimes appear among them.




The author was a seven-year-old Japanese boy. In this haiku, two scenes blend quite naturally like a duet – bamboo shoots shedding their skin layer by layer and this boy having his plaster cast removed gradually as his recovery progresses. I was impressed by the high caliber of this haiku. To this boy, he and the bamboo shoot must have been one. He must have sensed that they were both living things sharing a common life force.                                                     ( Continued.)


作者は日本人の七歳の男の子。筍(たけのこ)の皮が次々に剥がれて(はがれて)落ちてゆく様子と、少年自身のギブスが、回復にともなってとれてゆく様子が、ごく自然に重なって(重奏感があって)、スケールの大きい俳句だと感銘したのである。少年にとっては、自分も筍も同体だったのだろう。どっちも同じ生き物として感覚していたのだ。                              (続く)



I call such sense the “sense of life”. It can be wrapped up in the broader concept of animism, but I call it the sense of life in reference to the art of expression. This sense comes quite naturally with children, but I was wondering how that is with adults. For starters, I ask Matsuo Basho as he was the man who had established haiku as a form of poetry.                                                                                                  (Continued.)



子どもにとっては極く(ごく)自然なのだが―おとなの場合はどうかと思って、まず松尾芭蕉(まつおばしょう)に問いかけてみた。芭蕉は俳句を詩として確立した人である。 (続く)             



Basho had an answer to my question as, in his later years, he used to say “make haiku as children play” or “let the 3-foot-tall child in you be the poet”. But he himself could not do so. Basho could not allow himself to become a child because he and his haiku became the subject of literary criticism, as exemplified by his works being summarized under the literary concept of “karumi (lightness).” Basho had regretted this until he breathed his last.                                  (Continued.)


芭蕉は承知していた。晩年になって、「俳諧(はいかい)を子どもの遊ぶごとくせよ」 とか、「三尺の童(わらべ)にさせよ」と言ったのである。しかし芭蕉にはできなかった。「かるみ」という文芸概念(ぶんげいがいねん)でくくられているように、文芸論として語られて、芭蕉自身は「子ども」にはなれなかったからである。だから死ぬまで悔しがっていた。                           (続く)



But there were some adults who had been blessed with the sense of life. I see such examples in haiku composed by Hirose Izen, one of Basho’s followers, while he was wandering through various provinces after Basho was gone. For example:


     Japanese plum flowers

     red, red

     red, indeed


     A water bird

     sliding to the other bank

     straight, swift and quiet











Kobayashi Issa, whom I consider Basho’s true successor, made a good number of such haiku including:


    Front teeth loosening

    like poppies unstable

    in the breeze


Issa was seeing something in common between his front teeth starting to come loose and poppy petals swaying in the breeze – a commonality as living beings, a common life force.                                                              (Continued.)





 自分のぐらつきだした前歯と芥子(けし)の花びらも、まったく同じ生きものとして、そのいのちを感覚していたのである。                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             (続く)




I am a firm believer that any adult can possess the sense of life. In my view, such an adult has something in common with an innocent child. My old friend Jack Stamm was such a man. He helped translate haiku composed by contestants from around the world in the series’ early editions and his excellent translations were well-known. I am sure up in the heaven he is pleased at the news of this 10th edition.



Haiku of Hirose Izen and Kobayashi Issa presented above were translated by Akira Nakagiri.  (The End.)


.「生きもの感覚」はおとなにも可能、と確信しているのだが、そうしたおとなは、どこか無邪気で子どもに共通しているところがある。この歳時記のはじめのころ、英訳に協力していたジャック・スタムの名訳は有名だったが、かれは子どものような人だった。十集の発刊を天国で喜んでいることだろう。                                                                                                                                              (終わり)


Lastly, we sincerely hope that you will enjoy Haiku in your own ways or through Haiku contest.


The next posting ‘Haiku by World Children : Impressions of School’ appears on May 26.


― Hidenori Hiruta ( Member of HIA)


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