Reminder of World Haiku Series 2022

Reminders on World Haiku Series

How are those haiku poets doing these days? 
They are those who kindly and earnestly submitted their haiku to the Japan-Russia Haiku Contest.

Hidenori Hiruta hopes that they are enjoying writing haiku as usual.
Furthermore, he reconsiders the meaning of Bashō’s visit to Kisakata in 1689. 
Bashō’s visit reminds him of many, many things as follows.

Bashō’s visit to Kisakata in 1689

On the narrow road to Oku, Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) arrived at Kisakata on the evening of August 1, 1689, when a misty rain started to fall, obscuring Mount Chōkai (2,236 m, or 7,336 ft). In Bashō’s journey, Kisakata was the farthest north in Japan. 

The next morning the weather cleared beautifully. When the morning sun rose in all its splendor, Bashō and his party took a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata. They put in first Nōin-jima, or the Nōin Isle, where they called at the remains of the hut in which Nōin (988-1050, or 1051), a waka poet, lived in seclusion for three years.

After that, Bashō 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 Saigyō hōshi (1118-1190), or Saigyō, a waka poet who visited Kisakata in 1174.

Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple (Kanman ju- ji), which is now called the Kanman-ji Temple (Kanman-ji).
Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, Bashō rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chōkai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water.

Note: Donald Keene 

In April, 2013, Hidenori Hiruta had a chance to listen to Donald Keene’s lecture on Japanese literature at the Swedish Embassy. 
After the talk, they exchanged their name cards. 
Some years later, part of Donald Keene’s English translation of "The Narrow Road to Oku (おくのほそ道)" by Matsuo Bashō appeared on the website of the Akita International Haiku Network.  
Hidenori Hiruta read the part of his translation again.

Kisakata and Seishi

More than 330 years have passed since Matsuo Bashō (松尾芭蕉) visited Kisakata (象潟) on the evening of August 1, 1689. 

Now, the statue of Bashō is erected with the statue of Seishi(西施)in the garden of Kanman-ji (蚶満寺) in Kisakata, Nikaho City (にかほ市), Akita Prefecture (秋田県), Japan.
If Bashō were to be here, he would be greatly surprised to find that haiku is loved around the world. 
Seishi would also wonder in surprise why she is with Bashō in the garden of Kanman-ji in Kisakata.

This is because the beauty of Kisakata was compared to the beauty of Seishi through Bashō’s haiku.

 象潟や雨に西施がねぶの花               芭蕉

 Kisakata –
 Seishi sleeping in the rain,
 Wet mimosa blossoms.
                                  Translated by Donald Keene
                                     (鬼 怒鳴門 訳)

Note: Seishi (西施, Xi Shi)

Seishi (Xi Shi) was one of the four beauties of China, who was born in Yue (越) in the 5th century B.C. Her birthplace is in Zhuji City in north-central Zhejiang province, China. There are many stories about her, but not all of them are historical facts – mostly legends. She was so beautiful that even her grimace was still admired as beautiful.

呉越同舟 : Wu (呉 ) and Yue (越) in the Same Boat

Seishi reminds us of her legend as well as a set phrase “呉越同舟”.

Xi Shi was a famous Chinese beauty of the 5th century B.C. , who was presented to King Fu cha (- 473 B.C.) of Wu (呉) by King Gou jian (- 465 B.C.) of Yue (越). Fu cha loved her so much that he neglected political affairs and defense, and eventually Wu was defeated by Yue. She came back to Yue to her lover Fan Li, a royal retainer of Gou jian, with whom she disappeared from a boat on a lake.

This might be a Chinese legend, but “呉越同舟” is put as a set phrase in the Japanese dictionary even today.

Originally, “Wu and Yue in the Same Boat (呉越同舟)” was a story that could be found in the military law book “Sonshi (孫子:Sungzi )”, a famous book on military theory. 
The book was written by Sonshi in Wu (呉), China, in the 5th century B.C.
The content is that “Even if they are enemies, if their boats meet in a storm and face the same danger, they will cooperate.” From this, it came to be used in the sense that “even those who are hostile will cooperate with each other if their interests and crises that must be overcome are the same.” 
In short, “woes unite foes.”

Note: Bashō’s haiku in Kisakata 

Bashō’s haiku reminds us of the beauty of Kisakata before the earthquake in 1804 and the beauty of Seishi born in the 5th century B.C., but also of the above mentioned story. 
The story is most meaningful, prophetic, and indispensable for the present-day situations on the earth.

Guidelines of the World Haiku Series 2022

Eligibility: Open to all!

Theme: Earth 地球

Language: Any language is allowed to be used, but English translation must be added when haiku is not composed in English.


  • Ten haiku per person, haiku written in 2022
  • Photo haiku is also OK.
  • No problem whether published or unpublished  

Bio: Please add your short bio or your recent report, and your photo.

Photo: Please add photos of your favorite things or anything inspiring, if possible.

Submission period: October 5–November 30, 2022

E-mail: Please send your haiku to the address below.

Organizer: The Akita International Haiku Network

Sponsors: The Haiku International Association,The Committee to Register Haiku as UNESCO World Heritage, Akita Prefecture Government, Akita International University, Akita Prefectural Board of Education, Akita City, Akita City Board of Education, and Akita Sakigake News.

Last of all, please check out the guidelines of World Haiku Series 2022 again, and please send and share your haiku with haiku friends around the world.

Here are its addresses of the website below.

World Haiku Series 2022 : Guidelines

World Haiku Series 2022 : 募集要項

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