Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


Ms. Djurdja Vukelic Rozic, Croatia, presented me with IRIS Haiku Magazine -7/8, 2013-2014 .

Here is a front cover of the magazine.




Ms. Rozic, Principal editor of haiku magazine IRIS, took up the article “ASAHI HAIKUIST SPECIAL/ Former minister Arima finds support for UNESCO haiku bid” , translating it into Croatian as in the following copies.





This is an excerpt of the article:



Ms. Djurdja Vukelic Rozic also sent an e-mail, kindly suggesting to us that they would like to write letters of support to let haiku be on the UNESCO list.

Here is her e-mail.


Dear Hidenori-san,

is there anything poets from Croatia can do to help Haiku towards the UNESCO’s The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity?

May we write a letter of support?
I can encourage people from Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia, Slovenia … to write their own letters.
They may be joint letters from the clubs or single ones.
Will need your advice and instructions.

With haiku we feel part of the world, coming from small countries, we live haiku like equal partners on this Haiku Planet, and haiku connects us with not only wonderful Japan and its tradition and culture, but many other nations and languages. 

I’m certainly richer person with haiku poetry and it has become a part of my life.

Djurdja Vukelic Rozic
Principal editor of haiku magazine IRIS, Croatia

Thanks to Ms. Rozic’s encouragement, more than 30 haikuists were willing to send their letters to support the campaign “Let haiku be on the UNESCO list.”


Here is a list of the names of the haikuists and their nationality. You can see their letters here on this website.


Letters of support: Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


 Djurdja Vukelic Rozic  ( Croatia)
 Stjepan Rozic(Croatia)
 Ljudmila Milena Mršić  (Croatia)
 Naselje Garča  (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
 Malvina Mileta(Croatia)
 Marija Pogorilic  ( Croatia)
 Smajil Durmisevic  (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
 Tereza Salajpal (Croatia)
 Jasna Popović Poje  (Croatia)
 Zlata Bogovi ć  (Croatia)
 Vesna Stipčić  (Croatia)
 Sanja Petrov  (Croatia)
 Dimitrij ŠKRK(Slovenia)
 Marija Maretić  (Croatia)
 Grozdana Drašković  (Croatia)
 Andrej Zbašnik  (Croatia) 
 Dubravko Korbus  (Croatia)
 Midhat Hrnčić Midho  (Bosnia and Herzegovina)  
 Mirjana Ranković Matović  (Serbia)     
 Toni Pavleski  (Macedonia)
 Milica Perdic  (Croatia)
 Branka Vojinović Jegdić  (Montengro)
 Milena Drpa(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
 Đermano Vitasović  (Croatia)
 Zoran Raonić  (Montenegro)
 Slavka Klikovac  (Montenegro)
 Dušan Đurišić  (Montenegro)
 Julia Guzmán  (Argentina)
 Jorge Giallorenzi  (Argentina)
 Dan Costinas (Romania)
 Smilja Arsic  ( Serbia)
 Adjei Agyei-Baah  (Ghana)
 Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian  (Nigeria)

Lastly, let me report that I referred to the letters of support in the panel discussion of the Only One Kagoshima Tree Haiku Contest festival held as one of the 30th National Culture Festival Haiku events at the International University of Kagoshima, November 3, 2015.

Here is a copy in my presentation.


By Hidenori Hiruta



Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On the morning of October 25, 2014, Mr. Masayuki Tsuchihashi, Mr. Hayato Shimokubo, Mr. Takayuki Fukuyama, Ms. Chen Ching Ling (Taiwan), Ms. Rachel Alexandra Bawerbank (UK), and Ms. Jessica Williams (UK) reached Akita Station by bus from Tokyo to take part in the 29th National Culture Festival Haiku events held at the Akita International University. They were students at the International University of Kagoshima, where Mr. David McMurray teaches International Haiku as Professor of Department of International Studies. 

That morning they enjoyed the national culture festival with high school students.




  That afternoon the students listened to Dr. Akito Arima, the president of the Haiku International Association addressing academics in an effort to convince them that haiku should be added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.




Arima reassured students in the audience that haiku can be composed by everyone, from the man in the street to the likes of Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer, the Nobel laureate of literature in 2011 who penned at age 23: disappearing deep in his inner greenness/ artful and hopeful. Later in his career he penned in Swedish:

My happiness swelled

and the frogs sang in the bogs

of Pomerania

By stressing that haiku can deepen mutual understanding and enjoyment of different cultures between those people who read or compose the poem, he garnered support for his idea that “haiku can help make the world peaceful.”


A year after, on November 3, 2015, four of the students who attended the 29th National Culture Festival Haiku events in Akita, played leading parts among 26 students who carried out the Only One Kagoshima Tree Haiku Contest festival as one of the 30th National Culture Festival Haiku events in Kagoshima.

Mr. Hayato Shimokubo played a part of a coordinator in the panel discussion, giving me a chance to refer to 27 letters of support of the campaign “Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!” sent by Ms. Djurdja Vukelic Rozic in Croatia and her haiku friends.    

It was also another good chance to show the signatures of 106 haikuists from 15 different countries, supporting the campaign, who signed at the Second International Haiku Conference in Poland, 17 May 2015, at the 19th Haiku Meeting in Croatia, 13 June 2015, and at Gathering of haiku poets in the Castle of Zrinski in Croatia, 12 September 2015.


Lastly, here are three pictures taken by Ms. Chen Ching Ling.






By Hidenori Hiruta


Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On November 17, 2015, Mr. Masayuki Tsuchihashi, graduate student at the International University of Kagoshima, Japan, kindly sent me an e-mail as follows.


Dear Mr. Hiruta,

Congratulations on our haiku seminar 3rd November in Kagoshima. Thank you for your support of our project.
Let us think if haiku should be included on a list of the world intangible cultural heritage. I agree! We can understand other cultures by reading a haiku- short poem. Haiku is close to the Japanese heart. What we think of and what old Japanese haikuists thought in the past in Japan. And reading some of them, we are provided with world view.

I am yours.

Masayuki Tsuchihashi Graduate student from International University of Kagoshima


On November 3, 2015, the Only One Kagoshima Tree Haiku Contest festival was held as one of the 30th National Culture Festival Haiku events at the International University of Kagoshima.

During the symposium, Dr. Akito Arima explained differences in the way haiku is penned around the world in an address to 150 participants. The president of the Haiku International Association visited with academics at the International University of Kagoshima in an effort to convince them that haiku should be added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

In the panel discussion, I talked about what was happening in the haiku world since the 29th National Culture Festival Haiku event was held at the Akita International University on October 25, 2014.

In the beginning, I recited the following haiku as a greeting through PowerPoint.                          This is because Mr. Masayuki Tsuchihashi kindly requested me to write haiku about Kagoshima. He was a group leader among six students from the International University of Kagoshima who attended the Akita haiku event with Professor David McMurray on October 25, 2014.





  The catch phrase of the 30th National Culture Festival was 「ひっとべ!かごしま国文祭」, or “ Be active! Kagoshima National Culture Festival” in English.  

 Why were the words “Be active!” used as a catchphrase?

I found out the answer when the guide showed us around 「維新ふるさとの道」, or History Road “Road to the Meiji Restoration” on November 2, in Kagoshima City.

The guide presented us with an Iroha poem Shimazu Tadayoshi (島津 忠良) (October 14, 1493 – December 31, 1568) wrote around 1547.  Shimazu Tadayoshi was a daimyo (feudal lord) of Satsuma Province during Japan’s Sengoku period.




The Iroha Verses of Shimazu Jisshinko (島津日新公いろは歌) begins with the following words:

Inishie no    Michi wo Kikitemo  Tonaetemo   Waga  Okonai  ni  sezuba


いにしへの   道を聞きても     唱へても    わが  行い  に せずば



It means,

“Though you have heard and recited

The Way taken for granted

It is of no value in life

Unless it is mastered

And let it be practiced.”


Translated by Tsutomu Hamaoka (浜岡勤訳)


It also means, “Even if you learn old ways, if you cannot use them as your own, it is meaningless.”

It might mean, “Being active, or taking it into action” is the most important in our lives even today.


Lastly, here are two pictures in Kagoshima City.






By Hidenori Hiruta


Results of the 2nd ONLY ONE TREE Haiku Contest


2,020 haiku composed in the English language vied for recognition in the ONLY ONE KAGOSHIMA TREE haiku contest supported by the Asahi Shimbun and organized by the International University of Kagoshima. Kindly assisted by Mr. Hidenori Hiruta of the Akita International Haiku Network, in 2015 the Only One Tree contest was possibly the second largest English haiku contest in the world.


By comparison, the hotly contested 4th Japan- Russia haiku contest attracted 495 haiku to its English haiku section. The 4th Vladamir Devide contest received 290 entries. The 5th EU-Japan contest garnered 613 entries, and the 2nd Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Contest received 822 entries. The world’s largest English haiku contest, admirably organized and hosted by Itoen Ocha gathers over 10,000 haiku in English.


Please refer to a special article about the Only One Tree contest at the Asahi Haikuist Network: 


The colorful 100-page book “Only One Tree haiku music & metaphor” includes a chapter about how haiku contests can be judged and suggests ways to encourage support for the recognition of haiku as an intangible world heritage by the United Nations. Copies can be ordered (1,000 JP yen approx. $10 US plus shipping) by writing to the International University of Kagoshima by email to  ke00@kinokuniya.co.jp or FAX to 81-99-261-0227.




Donald Bobiash, a Canadian living in Jakarta, Indonesia won the top prize, for:


Solitary tree

Stretching up to the blue sky

The past, the future


Satoru Kanematsu, a retired teacher living in Nagoya, Aichi won a special prize, for:


Last glory

golden in the sun

ginkgo trees


Mina Mori a high school student on Amami Island wins a prize, for:


Natural air conditioner

Everybody gather

Shade of tree


Mina Mori is a student at Oshima High School on Amami Island.


Keiko Fujii a haikuist in Kitakyushu was given a certificate for,


Live here, still

Memory of you

Cherry tree


Patrick Sweeney, an elementary school teacher in Misawa, Aomori was awarded for:


In my other life

A pale-green sycamore

Arms wide, shimmering


Yuka Itou, a high school student in Kagoshima won a prize for,


The leaves trembled

And fell to the road

By the breeze




Fall strolling

in the beech forest

up and down

–Hidenori Hiruta (Akita Prefecture)


Pray for world peace!

A bird is singing

In the trees

–Jin Wada (Akita)


An ogre-Namahage

Playing with stardust

On a treetop

–Rumiko Wada (Akita)


cold night

a star shines on

the thrown Christmas tree

–Alexey Andreev (Moscow, Russia)


among yellow maples

a woman strolls

toward the red one

–Alexey Andreev (Moscow, Russia)


among paving stones

between the two world wars

grew a weeping willow

–Igor Damnjanovic (Belgrade, Serbia)



a concert

in the woods

–Deb Koen (Rochester, New York)


Cherry blossom trees

Scintillating in the dawn…


–Keith Simmonds (Rodez, France)


yellow whispering

among leaves…

daily spread of disinformation

–Gabriel Rosenstock (Dublin, Ireland)


Invisible crow

the lebanon tree utters

a call of three caws

–Alan Summers (Wiltshire, England)


Shadows and lights—

in the whispering poplar

the smile of Basho

–Francesco De Sabata (Pescantina, Italy)


Interpreting the dew

in the faint light of dawn

bodhi tree

–Ernesto P. Santiago (Athens, Greece)


Night sakura

lighten lanes

Kyoto maze

–Murasaki Sagano (Kyoto)


Colors glow

Looks tasty as cake

Christmas tree

–Toshifumi Shinmyouzu (Kagoshima)


Sunlight through the woods

upon the track

pleasant touch of breeze

–Takizawa, Takayasu (Kagoshima)


My son hugs his knees

At the foot of the big tree

As my dad found me.

–Yuji Hayashi (Fukuoka)


Camphor tree

Deep blue nuts glisten


–Yoriko Tashiro (Kagoshima)


A gnarled plum tree

Also waits


–Dennis Woolbright (Kitakyushu)


Big trunk

Aloha dress

Sways in autumn wind

–Yamada Maenohana (Kagoshima)


Spring is beautiful

Because I love the scent of wood

I love spring

–Rui Okazaki (Amami)


Forest of trees

swung by winds

“Let’s dance!”

–Taki Kawakami (Amami)


Like scattered petals

we drift apart

new beginnings

–Yuka Yoshitomi (Miyako, Fukuoka)


Cherry blossoms

bring with them

new friends

–Saori Saki (Yukuhashi, Fukuoka)


Golden leaves

holy gingko tree

silent shrine

–Doc Sunday (Hiroshima)



gingko leaves tremble

midnight shrine

–Doc Sunday (Hiroshima)


Silent dark branches of pine trees

October night

Before full moon

–Masato Watanabe (Matsuyama)


Touched the pine tree branch

and scattered

snow falls

—-Masato Watanabe (Matsuyama)


Children jumping up,

Leaves of an old camphor tree,

A high summer sky

–Hiromi Noma (Matsuyama)


Why are you drawing

that tree? –Because its branches

go like this! And this!

–Barbara Casterline (Nagoya)


White birch forest

Frozen sap expanding in trunks

Cracks echo

–Yuko Hirota (Osaka)


Falling and falling

yet still full of blooms

the cherry tree

–Hidehito Yasui (Osaka)


Would I rather be a tree?

And live for a thousand years?

May I find myself on another planet

–Junko Saeki (Tokyo)


Summer thunderbolt

Child’s wood train starts moving


–Juichi Masuda (Tokyo)


Ghastly pine tree…

Left lit after dark

Hangs on cliff

–Jiro Oba (Kawasaki, Kanagawa)


Olive tree

By blackbird song

Ghost wakes up

–Junko Yamada (Kamakura, Kanagawa)


Trunks of trees

Felt the growth rings


–Masaru Tsurabara (Yokohama)


The woodpecker nails

a hole in one


–Stuart Walker (Sapporo, Hokkaido)


The colorful 100-page book “Only One Tree haiku music & metaphor” can be ordered (1,000 JP yen approx. $10 US plus shipping) by writing to  ke00@kinokuniya.co.jp or to FAX 81-99-261-0227.


–  Written by David McMurray, edited by Hidenori Hiruta





Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On December 27, 2015, Ms.  Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian in Nigeria, kindly sent me an e-mail as follows.




Dear Mr. Hidenori Hiruta,


           I want to add my voice (Nigeria’s voice) to the growing concern that haiku should be added to the UNESCO list. It is true that Basho’s bug had come to Africa a little late as compared to other continents. Haiku made its way to the Nigerian literary scene in 2004. It enjoyed a good reception as a Facebook profile was launched with the name “Nigerian haiku”. This laudable feat established the West Africa country’s presence in the world haiku scene. Howbeit, Nigerian poets have since then launched into the haiku scene; some of them have been featured in international haiku journals, Facebook groups, etc.


         It is great pleasure to introduce to you some of Nigeria’s Basho’s-in-the-making: Emmanuel Abdulmasih Samson, Barnabas Ikeoluwa Adeleke and my humble self Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian. Some of the aforementioned haiku poets have been published in international journals and have received haiku awards. The most recent is, Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian whose haiku got a honourable mention at the 2015 edition of Vladimir Devide Haiku Contest and third place at the 12th European Kukai.


approaching dusk

the homeless man tides up

his new residence


Honourable Mention, 2015 Vladimir Devide Haiku Contest.


autumn dusk

white herons turn black

on their way home


Third Place, 12th European Kukai.


     It is only a matter of years; Basho’s bug will spread into the most populous black nation. In the meantime, I want to reiterate that haiku should be added to the UNESCO list as it sure has earned its place long ago. Having sailed from its homeland in Japan to the inlands of Africa, Basho’s bug deserves more than a pat on the back!


Greetings from Nigeria,


Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian (Nigeria)

Co-founder, Africa Haiku Network