Let haiku be on the UNESCO list ! (1)

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


2 thoughts on “Let haiku be on the UNESCO list ! (1)

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