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
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