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
“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