Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On August 2, 1689, Matsuo Basho visited Kisakata, Akita, where he composed his haiku.


Here is the English translation by Keene Donald (鬼怒鳴門).


Seishi sleeping in the rain,

Wet mimosa blossoms.


Now in Kisakata, adonises and red camellias are in full bloom.




More than 300 years have passed since 松尾芭蕉 ( Matsuo Basho )(1644-1694) wrote奥の細道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku’ , a major work of haibun by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō .

Basho could not have dreamed of how far and wide in the world haiku is loved.


According to THE Haiku FOUNDATION, there are contests held in 2014, or 2015 as follows.


January :  Haiku Poets of Northern California – Rengay

                   The British Haiku Awards

                   Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015

                   The Haiku Canada Betty Drevniok Award

February:  The With Words Summer Competition: Haiku Section

                  Haiku Society of America Lionel Einbond Renku Competition

                 Sharpening of the Green Pencil Haiku Contest 2015

                 ITO EN Oi Ocha Haiku Contest

March:    The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards

                The Vladimir Devide Haiku Award

                Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

               European Quarterly Spring Kukai

               Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition

               The 17th Apokalipsa Haiku Contest

               Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition

               Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards

               Annual Hortensia Anderson Memorial Awards

               Romanian Haiku Contest 2014

April:      Kaji Aso Studio Annual Haiku Contest

                The UHTS “aha” (Annual Hortensia Anderson Memorial Awards)

                for haiku/senryu

May:      The New Zealand Poetry Society’s Annual International Poetry Competition

                Klostar Ivanić Haiku Contest, Croatia [for details: dvrozic (at)optinet (dot) hr]

                Annual Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Kiyoshi & Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial

                 Haiku Contest

June:      The Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award

                Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

      European Quarterly Summer Kukai

    Pumpkin Festival Haiku Competition, Ivanić Grad, Croatia 2015

    The Third Japan-Russia Haiku Contest

                 Tanka Society of America International Tanka Contest

July:      The Snapshot Press Book Awards

               The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards

               Haiku Society of America Haibun Awards

               Harold G. Henderson Awards for Haiku

               Gerald Brady Memorial Awards for Senyru

August:    The Francine Porad Award for Haiku 2015

               UHTS “Fleeting Words” Tanka Contest

               Penumbra Haiku Contest

September: Annual Mainichi Daily News Haiku Contest

               European Quarterly Autumn Kukai

              Janice M Bostok Haiku Prize

              Haiku International Association (HIA) Annual Haiku Competition

October:   Haiku Poets of Northern California – Haiku, Senryu, Tanka

              Polish International Haiku Competition

              Haiku Presence Award

November: The Heron’s Nest Illustration Contest

              The Snapshot Press Book Awards

              Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2014

December:  Annual Jerry Kilbridge Memorial English-Language Haibun Contest

             European Quarterly Winter Kukai

             Golden Triangle Haiku Contest

             Fujisan Haiku 2014 (Haiku on Mt. Fuji)

             Iris Little Haiku Contest 2015

             The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems

             The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Book Awards


On September 23, 2014, the Akita International Haiku Network published the yearly pamphlet “Akita-The Land of Poetry”,詩の国秋田-2014.9 vol.6in the hope that haiku should be added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Hidenori Hiruta, the Secretary General of the Akita International Haiku Network wrote the article “Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!”

Hiruta hopes that haiku will spread further worldwide if it is included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

In the article, Hiruta refers to the latest trend that senryu and tanka have been paid more attention to among haikuists or haiku lovers in the world.

Through the website of the Akita International Haiku Network, Hiruta has found that the fixed page “What are haiku, senryu and tanka?” has had more and more visitors recently, to 4,427 ones.

In addition, the article “What are haiku, senryu and tanka?” has appeared in the English version of “Senryu (川柳) Wikipedia, which you can see on the website below.


Hiruta sincerely hopes that senryu and tanka will become more familiar worldwide when haiku is added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.



Lastly, let me show you an e-mail sent to Hiruta from Djurdja Vukelic Rozic, Principal editor of haiku magazine IRIS, Croatia, who is a haiku friend of mine.
On June 28, 2014, Djurdja wrote to Hiruta, wishing for “Haiku in the UNESCO list!”


Thank you, dear Hidenori-san,

I entirely forgot to send a note and did not even recognize your e-mail address.

Always hurrying, so please accept my apology.


Thank you for everything you’ve done for Croatian authors,

many of them being my old and even some new brothers and sisters in haiku.

Thank God for haiku for it enriched my life in a way I could not dream of long time ago,

once when we all were young…


I sincerely hope haiku will soon be on the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,

for it connects people in the most wonderful way I can think of.


With best regards from sunny Croatia,






By Hidenori Hiruta





Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


In May, 2014, the 3rd Japan -Russia Haiku Contest was held in celebration of the 29th National Cultural Festival in Akita 2014.

Only one haiku was allowed to be submitted per haiku poet, and there were three sections of Japanese haiku, Russian haiku, and English haiku.

One of the languages had to be chosen from among Japanese, Russian, and English in composing and submitting haiku. Haikuists and haiku lovers were expected to submit their haiku so that they could share them with each other, deepen their mutual understanding, and that their haiku could be of some help to make the world peaceful through the mutual understanding.




As a result, 1,130 haiku were submitted from 46 countries.

634 haiku were submitted for the Japanese haiku section from Japan, Russia,  Argentina, and Romania. 

54 haiku were for the Russian haiku section from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Israel,  Romania Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, USA, and Japan .

442 haiku were submitted for the English haiku section from 46 countries:

Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary,  India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine, and USA.


On October 25, 2014, the award-giving ceremony was held at the lecture hall of the Akita International University in Akita as part of the international haiku conference, with the results of the 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest announced.


The president of the Akita Sakigake Shimpo newspaper recognized Ramesh Anand’s work from India.

still pond . ..

fading from its center

this stormy cloud







Ramesh Anand kindly sent a photo, in which the certificate of merit and prize are taken there.


Akita Sakigake Shimpo President Award



Ramesh Anand is an engineer from Bangalore, India. He works for Philips healthcare as a manufacturing test strategist. His haiku, tanka and haiga have appeared in 15 countries and translated to 8 foreign languages.  He released his first book of haiku poetry in 2012 called Newborn Smiles, published by Cyberwit.  Akita Sakigake Shimpo President Award, Honorable mention in International Matsuo Bashō Award, Dr. Sandeep Chauhan Commendable Prize by RLP Award 2013 are his latest awards. He is a member of IN haiku group.


Ranjana Balachandra Pai is an aspiring Nature and wildlife Photographer. Her work can be followed at


Here are photos with haiku presented to the Akita International Haiku Network.


Autumn Loneliness





Autumn Sky




Autumn Twilight 





Autumn Wrinkles



Calm Mist 




End Of Play





 Hanging Bridge 




 Long Walk 




Still Pond




Summer Twilight 




 Winter Moon 




By Hidenori Hiruta




Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


In May, 2013, the Akita International Haiku Network held the 2nd Japan –

Russia Haiku Contest with the help of JAPAN CENTER IN VLADIVOSTOK, providing three language sections for haiku submission: the Japanese section, the Russian section, and the English section.

This is because the 1st Japan-Russian Haiku contest ended in a great success. The comments having been given on the contest, some of them said that it should be held every year. And others said that all haiku lovers in the world should be given a chance to join such a global haiku contest.




As a result, 624 haiku were submitted as follows.   

304 haiku were submitted for the Japanese haiku section from 4 countries : Japan, Russia, Romania, and Ukraine.                                                

62 haiku were submitted for the Russian haiku section from 8 countries : Russia, Japan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Serbia.

258 haiku were submitted for the English haiku section from 39 countries : Japan, Croatia, United States, India, Romania, Serbia, Germany, New Zealand, France, Poland, Russia, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Mongolia, Montenegro, Bangladesh, Belarus, Colombia, Ghana, Hungary, Jamaica, Macedonia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

On October 12, 2013, the award-giving ceremony was held at the library hall of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok as part of the haiku conference, with the results of the 2nd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest announced.

Here is a photo of three Russian haiku lovers who attended there, having submitted their haiku to the contest.




At the conference, Mark WILLIAMS, vice president at Akita International University gave a lecture, whose title is “There is neither ‘entrance hall’ in the house nor ‘Kannon’ in UK: translating the literature by Shusaku ENDO into English.”

In conclusion, he said as follows.

It is very difficult to translate Japanese haiku into English. It is possible to give a literary translation, but it is almost impossible to convey what haiku means from the Japanese viewpoint. This is because of the differences in the languages as well as in the cultures. However, we could appreciate haiku from our own viewpoints, making the most use of imagination. This might lead to better mutual understanding beyond the gaps of the cultural differences.     




The other panelists, Kazuhiro KUDO, Ibuki AIBA, and Hidenori HIRUTA gave talks about haiku from their viewpoint, such as Ishii Rogetsu’s works of haiku, teaching Japanese through haiku, and so on.

Here are three haiku by students, to whom Ibuki AIBA teaches Japanese at Akita International University.



 The panelists from Akita, Japan, enjoyed haiku walks there in Vladivostok during their stay.

Here are four photos with haiku by Hidenori HIRUTA (蛭田秀法).




White waves 

jumping in Amur Bay

the autumn wind




Late autumn

something solemn around 

Siberian graveyard





Deep autumn 

matryoshka into

deep thought





Russky Island 

into academic center 

thinking in autumn

                                                                                                                                                                                     By Hidenori Hiruta




Let haiku be on the UNESCO list! 

In May, 2012, the Akita International Haiku Network launched the first Japan –

Russia Haiku Contest with the help of JAPAN CENTER IN VLADIVOSTOK as one of the links with the cultural exchange between Japan and Russia, wishing to provide an opportunity to mutually share haiku related to the theme of “the sea” (The Sea of Japan) which connects Japan and Russia.




The organizer hoped that the contest would serve as an opportunity to deepen mutual understanding among people, to promote the interaction of people’s views on Japan and Russia, as well as to convey the enjoyment of writing and reading haiku. The organizer also hoped that it would serve as an opportunity to strengthen and develop the sister city relationship between Akita and Vladiovostok, as well as to promote and increase cultural exchanges between Akita Prefecture and Primorsky Region.

This is because Akita Prefecture has had friendly relations with Primorsky Region. In March, 2010, Akita Prefecture and Primorsky Region concluded the treaty that there should be more exchanges promoted and increased between them.

As a result, 428 haiku were submitted to the contest from students and haiku lovers in Japan as well as in Russia. In particular, 58 haiku were submitted by students and citizens almost all over Russia.  They were sent to the contest from those parts of Russia: Vladivostok, Sakhalin, Moscow, Moscow Oblast, Saint Petersburg, Magadan, Birobidzhan, Novosibirsk, Ufa, Blagoveshchensk, Sverdlovsk, Perm, Kalugo, Krasnodar, Tikhvin, The Chuvash Republic, The Republic of Tatarstan, and so on.

On September 22, 2012, the award-giving ceremony was held in Akita as part of the Akita haiku conference, with the results of the Japan-Russia Haiku Contest announced.

The grand award, which was in celebration of the 140 anniversary of Akita-born poet Ishii Rogetsu’s birth (1873-1918), went to Russian haikuist SUMAROKOVA Olga.


Сибирская зима

Накрыла белой скатертью залив

Вдали – крошки-рыбаки




Siberian winter

covering the bay with white tablecloth

fishermen looking like dots far away


スマローコヴァ オリガ







On September 29, this haiku was also introduced to the audience at JAPAN CENTER IN VLADIVOSTOK as part of the Vladivostok haiku conference.


SUMAROKOVA Olga was also presented with Akita local beer produced by Akita youth





In return, SUMAROKOVA Olga, assistant director at JAPAN CENTER IN VLADIVOSTOK, presented such a fine painting by a Russian artist to Akita Prefectural Government.




At the conference, students, citizens, and members of haiku groups in Akita enjoyed haiku talks on Ishii Rogetsu, a lecture on the haiku, tanka, and classical Chinese poetry composed by Akita poets during the Edo era (1603-1868), and the recitation of haiku and tanka poems.




After that, they enjoyed a haiku walk in Senshu park, located in the remains of Kubota Castle(久保田城)built by Satake Yoshinobu (佐竹義宣) (1570~1633) in 1604.





On September 23, some of the participants visited Akita Castle (秋田城), Akita-jō?) , which refers to the ruins of a Nara period fortified settlement located in what is now the city Akita, Akita Prefecture, Japan. It is also sometimes referred to as “Fort Akita”.

Akita people those days are said to have had those fruitful exchanges by way of the northern sea route from the 8th century till the 10th century. Japan is said to have started trading with Balhae(渤海) by ship in those days.





Balhae (698–926) (Korean Balhae {Korean|hangul=발해}, Bohai [渤海] in Chinese}, Korean pronunciation: [paɾɛ], Бохай or Пархэ in Russian) was a mixed ethnic Korean–Mohe empire established in northern Korea and Manchuria after the fall of Goguryeo. It existed during the North South States Period of Korea along with Unified Silla.


Last of all, let me present you haiku written by Suleymenova Aida, associate professor at Far Eastern Federal University. She enjoyed two haiku walks, writing some haiku.




The castle town

friendly in the hope

Akita cedar’s scent


                                                                                                                                                                                     By Hidenori Hiruta