Reminder of 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest : Deadline is June 30


Dear Haiku Friends,

We are looking forward to your haiku for 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest, whose deadline is June 30.

Please check out the guidelines again on the website below.


Here in Akita, it is just June-like weather lasting these days, when I visited Kisakata(象潟) Basho visited on August 1, 1689, on his journey.

Basho and his party are said to have taken a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata.  They put in first 能因島 (Nohin jima), Nohin Island, where they called at the remains of the hut in which 能因(Nohin)(988-?), a waka poet, lived in seclusion for three years.

After that, Basho and his party left for the opposite shore, where they landed from their boat, and they saw the cherry tree that stands as a memento of 西行法師(Saigyo hoshi)(1118-1190), Saigyo. Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which is now called 蚶満寺 (Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple.


Here are photos and haiku about the present-day Kisakata.






Basho wrote about Kisakata in his travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』 .

鬼怒鳴門(キーン・ドナルド), Donald Keene, translated the last part about Kisakata into English as follows:


  Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, I rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water. To the west, one can see as far as Muyamuya Barrier; to the east, the road over the embankment leads to Akita in the distance. The sea is to the north. The place where the waves of the sea break into the lagoon is called Tide-Crossing. Kisakata is about two miles in either direction.

Kisakata resembles Matsushima, but there is a difference. Matsushima seems to be smiling, but Kisakata wears a look of grief. There is a sadness mingled with the silent calm, a configuration to trouble the soul.


Basho’s last lines might say that there is something woeful about Kisakata.

I wonder if Basho predicted that such a natural disaster as earthquake might occur in Kisakata in the future.

In fact, on July 10, 1804, a big earthquake occurred in Kisakata about 105 years after Basho’s visit there. The earthquake caused upheaval of ground by 2.4 meters. As a result, the lagoons were changed into dry land, most of which turns into paddy field.

Here are some excerpts of The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』, translated by鬼怒鳴門(キーン・ドナルド), Donald Keene.






Here is a photo of 鬼怒鳴門(キーン・ドナルド), Donald Keene, my haiku friend and me, taken at Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo, Japan.




Lastly, there are more information about Kisakata at the following website.


By Hidenori Hiruta










Let haiku be on the UNESCO list! (50)


On April 8, 2016, Mr.  Ali Znaidi in Tunisia, kindly sent me an e-mail as follows.


Dear Mr. Hidenori Hiruta,


I want to add my voice (Tunisia’s voice) to the growing concern that haiku should be added to the UNESCO list. Although anchored in history (Berber, Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, etc) and rich in natural landscapes, Tunisia has no established tradition in creative writing in general and in particular in haiku writings in the English language. Most writers write either in Arabic or French. Haiku writing is not that famous because there are only a couple of writers among those who write creatively in the Arabic and French languages who are interested in writing and publishing this kind of poetry.


Humbly and without bragging, I can say that haiku in English made its way to the Tunisian literary scene with my haiku poems featured in international haiku journals and with my haiku book collection Bye, Donna Summer! which was published on March 11, 2014 by Fowlpox Press in Canada. It is a collection of haiku poems written within the traditional 5-7-5 syllable pattern. It is in fact the first Tunisian haiku poetry collection which is originally written and published in the English language.


Just a note: There are a couple of aspiring Tunisian poets who are trying their hands at writing haiku in English, but they are not featured in international haiku journals. They only publish some of their haiku poems in their Facebook pages.


As I said, some of my haiku poems have been published in international journals and have received haiku awards. The most recent are:


a straggly blue light—
the shadow of a dolphin
in my empty room


It was awarded a second prize (silver medal) on March 23, 2015 in the UPLI Global Poetry Contest [Category 4-The Prof. Noriko Mizusaki Award] (Philippines/USA).


full autumn moon…

an ant carrying away

a pomegranate seed


It won Honorable Mention on November 1, 2015 in the 2015 Annual Autumn Moon Haiku Contest run by the Bangor Haiku Group in Maine (USA).


full moon…

the weight of

the blood donor’s joy


It received a High Commendation in February 2016 in the 2015 Blood Donation Haiku Contest (Croatia).


I am supporting haiku as an oldest form of poetry that encompasses simplicity and at the same time enigma and mystery. It’s like nature simple and enigmatic. I would like to add my voice to those who want to make haiku included in UNESCO’s list as a heritage and as a universal form of art not to be forgotten in the midst of a hectic technological era.


Here is a photo of Ali Znaidi!


Ali Znaidi Headshot


Here is his bio!


Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He is the author of several chapbooks, including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014), and Mathemaku x5 (Spacecraft Press, 2015). For more, visit


Greetings and peace from Tunisia,


Ali Znaidi (Tunisia)



Lastly, let me take up haiku by Hidenori Hiruta(蛭田秀法), whose pen name is HIRUTA Syuto(蛭田秋稲).




First dream –

let the earth be

a haiku planet


This haiku appears in the haiku magazine ‘HI (HAIKU INTERNATIONAL) 2016  No.124’  published by Dr. Akito Arima on May. 31, 2016.




HI N0.124(p.35)


By Hidenori Hiruta