On May 23, 2014, Adjei Agyei-Baah, Kumasi, Ghana, submitted his haiku for the English section of the 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest.


leafless tree―

lifting a cup of nest

to the sky


Adjei’s haiku was judged and selected for Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Award by Fay Aoyagi.

Fay Aoyagi: A naturalized US citizen living in San Francisco. She is President of HAIKU SOCIETY OF AMERICA (http://www.hsa-haiku.org), Webmaster at Haiku Poets of Northern California (http://www.hpnc.org) and a dojin of two Japanese haiku groups: Ten’I (Providence) led by Dr. Akito Arima and Aki (Autumn) led by Mr. Masami Sanuka. 

Her two haiku collections, “Chrysanthemum Love” (2003) and “In Borrowed Shoes” (2006) were published from Blue Willow Press.

Her English blog (http://fayaoyagi.wordpress.com) includes a daily haiku translation and she has a Japanese blog (http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/fayhaiku), as well.


On October 25, an award ceremony was held with the results announced at the Akita International University, part of the international haiku conference in celebration of the 29th National Cultural Festival in Akita 2014.

  Adjei Agyei-Baah delightedly spoke to attendees via Skype from Ghana when he received his award from the president of the Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He shared his great delight and honor with academics, such as Dr. Akito Arima, the president of the Haiku International Association, David McMurray, professor at The International University of Kagoshima, Alexander Dolin, professor at Akita International University, and haiku poets and students from Russia, UK, USA, Canada, Taiwan, and Japan.

 Saying,  “Congratulations!”,  we, attendees, wished if Adjei would invite his haiku friends to submit haiku for the contest the following year, with haiku spread further throughout Africa.



Adjei Agyei-Baah also presented his photo haiku to the Akita International Haiku Network.



On October 26, Adjei sent his e-mail to the Akita International Haiku Network as follows.

Dear Sir,

I am most grateful for the honor done me on the event. I hope all went well. I will still continue to read and delve deep into the haiku aesthetics and get back to you someday with good news to share.

I look forward to receiving the certificate and the cultural artifact.

Once again, thanks to members of the organizational team for making this grand event happen.




On November 18, Adjei sent his e-mail to the Akita International Haiku Network as follows.

Dear Mr. Hiruta san,

I have finally received the parcel and once again, i am grateful to you and all the organizers of the event.
This laurel has come to boost my moral in the haiku art and also to spread it in my country Ghana.
I am yet to frame the certificate for my wall.  Though I could not read the content, it’s still of a treasure to me.
I hope to come up one day with a haiku collection to share my African settings with the world:

getting my pen worth

of me

Thank you Akita


Part of Interview with Ghanaian Poet, Adjei Agyei -Baah.

On December 5, Geosi Gyasi, a young Ghanaian book lover and also a poet, interviewed with Adjei as the brain behind Geosi Reads, a web space where he features reviews of books, literary news and author interviews.






Photo: Adjei Agyei -Baah




Adjei Agyei-Baah is a founding partner of Poetry Foundation Ghana, a language examiner and a part-time lecturer for West African Examination Council and Institute of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Ghana, respectively. He is also the co-editor of Poetry Ink Journal, a yearly poetry anthology in Ghana. As part of his duties, he also serves as a supporting administrator for http://www.poetryfoundationghana.org. He is a widely anthologized both home and abroad and among his outstanding works includes the praise songs:“Ashanti” written and presented to the King of Ashanti, Otumfuo Osei Tutut II and “Ghost on Guard’ , for Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana. At the international front, his poem, “For the Mountains”, was selected by the BBC to represent Ghana in a Poetry Postcard Project for the just ended Commonwealth Games 2014, held in Glasgow, Scotland.

He is a devotee of the Japanese poetry form haiku and has written and published in e-zines and international journals such as Frogpong, World Haiku Review, The Heron’s Nest, Shamrock and is one of the winners of 3rdJapan – Russia Haiku Contest 2014, organised by Akita International University, Japan, making him the recipient of the Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Award. Adjei is currently working on ‘’KROHINKO’’-an anthology of poems from Ghana Poetry Prize contest, 2013 and looks forward in coming out with his two poetry collections. Some of his poetry artefacts can be found in Manhyia Museum and Centre of National Culture, Kumasi. 


Geosi Gyasi: First, congratulations. You are the 2014 winner of Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Award for the 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest. How excited are you to have won this award?

Adjei Agyei -Baah: It’s a great feeling and I have every reason to be happy for this promising news of our time. I thank God for these streak feats this particular year. This is global laurel and it puts my country (Ghana) and Africa as a whole on the world haiku map. Though some of my haikus had earlier on been given merit and honourable mentions in international haiku journals, this one comes in to crown the effort made so far. At least assuring me that my commitment to this Japanese art form has finally paid.

Geosi Gyasi: When did your love for haiku begin?

Adjei Agyei -Baah: It started about three years ago when I chanced upon the works of my fellow writers like Emmanuel-Abdalmasih Samson (Nigeria), Nana Fredua-Agyemang (Ghana), online and Prince K. Mensah (Ghana) who had come out with an experimental collection (Haiku For Awuku) on this poetry form. I must say I was moved by the brevity of this genre. To make it short, to say more in few words is something that really fascinated me to try it. But not ending there, I moved further on to learn from the originators of art: I mean the Japanese masters like Basho, Buscon, Shikki, Issa etc. who have been of great influence in my haiku career.

Geosi Gyasi: Tell us about the inspiration behind your winning haiku?

Adjei Agyei -Baah:

leafless tree—

lifting a cup of nest

to the sky

The above haiku is a scene captured in one of the harmattan season in Ghana as I was traveling in a bus from Kumasi to Accra. In the middle of our journey, our bus got stuck along the road, and upon getting down, saw this naked tree from afar with an outstretched branch with a nest as if requesting for help from above. Immediately an imagery came into mind of a desperate fellow (a waif perhaps) looking up to God to fill his cup with some kind of manna, just as He did provided the Israelites on the desert, on their way to the Promised Land.

Geosi Gyasi: How easy is it to write a haiku?

Adjei Agyei -Baah: It is not easy to write a haiku. First one has to learn the aesthetics of the art before he or she can write a ‘good’ haiku. It may look simple in appearance and yet difficult to write. Haiku has to capture the ‘aha’ moment (moment of delight) which come with keen observation. Besides, it packaged in lines of three or two or sometimes in one stretch of line in approximately 17 syllables with seasonal and cutting words. These are but few rules which one has to observe in writing an ‘acceptable’ haiku. This is all what I can say for now, as I am still humbly learning at the feet of the contemporary haiku enthusiasts like Hidenori Hiruta, Robert D. Wilson, John Tiong Chunghoo, Aubrie Cox, Anatoly Kudryavitsky and others.

Geosi Gyasi: Your poem was selected out of some 1,130 haikus from 46 nations. Now, could you imagine emerging as the ultimate winner?

Adjei Agyei -Baah: No! I had some doubts for sure, for we Africans are not noted for this art form. The Westerners have the upper hand since they started exploring this poetry genre decades of years ago. Aside this, haiku opens itself to a myriad of interpretations, and when your imagery is not familiar to the reader’s environment, its likely to be misunderstood or misrepresented. Ogiwara Seisensui puts it succinctly: “haiku is a circle, half of which is created by the poet and the other half completed by the reader”. So it takes the composer and the reader to dig out a winning haiku. Approximately, the judging team was able to see what I saw, felt what I felt upon this encounter and selected my haiku as one of the best. In fact no one can ever admit that his/her haiku will surely win upon submission, for the eyes that look are many but the ones that see are few.

Like Loading…


In January, 2015, Adjei sent a few e-mails to me, telling of his intention to publish a haiku collection and his wish that I would write a foreword to accompany his book.  

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for accepting to write the foreword to my haiku collection. This is really great news and a dream comes true.
 I will forward the manuscript made up of my 60 best haikus to enable you to start right away.
Besides, your suggested time frame (February 2015) for completion will be okay for me. Please kindly look forward to the book by the close to tomorrow.

I am once again grateful for your time and assistance.
Adjei Agyei-Baah

Foreword by Hidenori Hiruta




Adjei Agyei-Baah is the winner of the Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Award in the English section of the 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest. The award-giving ceremony was held as part of the international haiku conference at the Akita International University in Japan, October 25, 2014.  Adjei delightedly spoke with attendees via Skype to share a word or two with the audience and other participants when he received his award from the president of the Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Akito Arima, the president of the Haiku International Association in Tokyo, Japan, was very delighted to hear that Adjei would spread haiku further because of its brevity and its coexistence with nature, and that he would continue to read and to delve deep into haiku aesthetics and get back to us someday with good news to share.

A few months after the president heard these good intentions, to my great delight, I excitedly received the news from Adjei that he was going to publish a haiku collection, strongly believing haiku is a beautiful genre which can be used to tell their African story and wonderful settings. He intuitively and creatively describes his natural surroundings in haiku, the shortest form of poetry. For example, he takes up in his haiku “harmattan, egret, kapok, mango, Afadjato, cocoa, eagle, and cocoyam ” as the objects in nature that are particularly interesting and influential to him in his surroundings.

He wrote this haiku about harmattan (A dry dusty wind that blows along the northwest coast of Africa) in his haiku collection “Afriku ” :


harmattan peak

not only does trees’ bark crack

the heels too!


He also describes what he sees in his daily life in his own way of writing haiku or senryu from his own viewpoint:


pavement beggar—

on his lips

the footprints of harmattan


Here is an excerpt from ASAHI HAIKUIST SPECIAL by David McMurray, professor at The International University of Kagoshima in Japan, November 17, 2014.

Akito Arima, an avid haikuist and former education minister, addressed academics at the Akita International University in an effort to convince them that haiku should be added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. He 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, Arima garnered support for his idea that “haiku can help make the world peaceful.”

Adjei Agyei-Baah has great interest of pioneering this art, haiku, in his country and further takes it up as his Phd thesis (Haiku in Africa). Haiku tells their African stories and wonderful settings in nature, and also connects people in the most wonderful way we can think of.  Adei’s haiku is in truth beneficial for us, mankind:

morning dew―

perhaps heaven weeps

for mankind

-Hidnenori Hiruta  

                                                      February 2015




On October 12, Adjei sent his e-mail to me as follows.

Dear Hidernori Hiruta san.

It’s been a while Sir but the good news is that Jim Kacian’s Red Moon Press is done with the publication of my maiden haiku collection “Afriku” and I would like to send you a signed personal copy. 

So please kindly provide me with you postal address that I can forward to you anytime I have the opportunity to do so.

Once again, i am grateful to you and Dr. Akito Arima for your support and inspiration. I really appreciate every role that you have played in my haiku career.


Adjei Agyei-Baah


Here is part of AFRIKU.

















Adjei’s comment on the AFRIKU cover page concept.


Here it is. To the curious mind who wants to unravel the AFRIKU cover page code (concept). It’s simply made up of an inverted greening baobab tree with egrets flying on top. The upturned root of the tree symbolizes Europe/Asia from where haiku is spreading down to Africa. The beautiful orange background also brings to mind the serene sunset setting on the savannah plains where wild animals graze and roam freely.


Book Review


“Here is a review of AFRIKU by a fellow haijin from home, Nana Fredua-Agyeman. Please enjoy his analysis and share comments with us”, says Adjei in his facebook page on February 16, 2017.

Art is dynamic. Art is adaptive. And regardless of where it originates, and with what rules, it is bound to transform and adapt to different cultures. The debate has always been to stick within the rules, be novel with the rules, or to break the rules entirely. But it is these debates, and how they are treated by active-passive artists and the critics alike, that makes art simply ART. It is what has kept it valuable and relevant in an age where the computer is determined to take over our lives and transform everything into a virtual non-reality.

Haiku is just one poetry form. It is perhaps the shortest poetry form, albeit with the longest set of rules. One Haijin (a Haiku poet), Jane Reichhold wrote in her book that one must learn all the rules, practice them, and break them. This is such a difficult thing to do, breaking them. Nevertheless, it is what one must do to remain relevant or to adapt the art form to a given culture. And Haiku is one poetry form that requires a lot of adaptation. 

And this is exactly what Adjei Agyei-Baah did in his book Afriku – Haiku & Senryu from Ghana (2016). As its name suggests, it is a collection of haiku and senryu poems, but with a ‘difference’. Adjei has translated each poem into his native Twi language. The Twi language has short syllables and so these translations did not take much away from the original. The question here is: Are the Twi versions the originals or the translations? This is a question Adjei will answer some day.

The collection opens with an adaptation of one of the most popular Haikus of all time, Basho’s Frog by Matsuo Basho. There has been numerous adaptations of this Haiku, yet Adjei found a way to bring it home. He writes

old pond – 

the living splash

of Basho’s frog

And even for this, he managed to write a Twi version. At this stage, I am assuming the Twi versions to be translations.

sutae dadaa – 

nkaedum a Basho

apotrɔ gyaeε

However, the importance of the collection does not lie in just one simple adaptation of a great work. There are several others that do exactly what Haiku should do: to live someone’s captured moment. For instance who does not feel the hot breath, the tiredness, the sweat droplets, and the pain of this farmer?

drought – 

the farmer digs

into his breath

Or the sole egret playing catch-up with the swarm in


season of migration

the lightning dash

of a late egret

Haikus are meant to show and not tell. They are like art pieces. The reader-viewer must make his own explanations, must live the artist’s moment in his own personal way, must bring to the art his own interpretation. However, Haiku – the classical Haiku  – do more. For instance, they must indicate the date or period within which the event occurred using seasonal markers (Kigo). In the ‘drought’ piece above, one can easily feel the harmattan and can geopin it to the northern part of Ghana where the harmattan is severe and the drudgery of farmers become palpable in their breaths. In fact, if one has a broader and deeper knowledge of the landscape of the country, one can easily say that this farmer is in the Bongo District of the Upper East where the land is rocky and the soil is laterite and extremely difficult to cultivate. 

However, for Haiku writers in the tropics, the use of kigo has become the dry season of our arts. It makes writing difficult since the changes in the season is not dramatic. Adjei faced some of these problems and manoeuvered around it. For instance, 

gust of wind…

the crow takes off

in a zigzag line

shows that we are in the rainy season but not in July, when it only drizzles. This could be the period just after the dry season, early March to April, where the rainfall is preceded by heavy winds and squalls. 

But Adjei did not tie himself with the entire range of Haiku rules. There are times that he preferred the moment to the classic rules.

traffic holdup

the absurdity of politics

served fresh on the airwaves

or this

school memories – 

all the farts concealed

by shifting chairs

could be argued to be non-Haiku. In fact, I am tempted to believe that these ones are the Senryu the title is referencing. But can one not relate to the issue in the piece? Adjei attempted to make his Haiku tell a story, the story of Africa. He managed to introduce old narratives into new formats. Take this piece

stone meal…

mother fakes supper

to put the kids to sleep

Anyone who knows the story told behind this will easily relate to this piece. Recently, I was explaining how we used to light up cooking fire to a late nineties colleague and it was as if I was an ancient being, but Adjei captures and packages it in a way that makes my story verbose

childhood memories

the wood shavings that light up

mother’s charcoal

There are some really beautiful gems in this collection including the one-liner 

a dragonfly pausing the wind


smiling pond…

a dragonfly dips

its tail

I like the fact that Adjei broke the rules, sometimes. There are many who consider Haiku to be just 5-7-5 syllable poem or Short-Long-Short. If Haiku were just these then it is not an art form. It is this and more. Just as you cannot write a 15-line poem and call it a sonnet but can write a sonnet of straight 14 lines or of a sestet and octet, so too can you play within the rules, break them entirely, and still keep the Haiku identity. In several of the pieces, Adjei did this. In the ones he did not, where he sought to carry a story through, or lighten up things, the Senryu in the title is there for cover.

Adjei’s collection is important for several reasons. One, it brings home an art form that is very difficult to tame. It encourages several individuals to consider alternative forms of poetry. The bold attempt at translating into Twi is important for reasons beyond just Haiku. Like many other things, the African is comfortable writing in English or French than his native language. Yet, he thinks first in his native language even when speaking these languages. Writing in the native language then has the capability to free the writer. And the more writers we have doing this, the better it will be for our writing.

For those interested in writing and reading Haiku, please do include this in your material.


Newspapers Report


On January 8, 2017, Ayaka Kitashima, a reporter at The Akita Sakigake Shimpo in Akita, Japan, asked questions about The Japan-Russia Haiku Contests and “Afriku”, reporting her article in Akita Sakigake newspaper on June 10.

You can see the article in a copy below.



Kitashima referred to “Afriku” and Adjei’s haiku below.



Adjei’s comment on this haiku


Dear Hiruta san,

Matsuo Basho is the one you speak of and one of the originators of the haiku art along other masters like Issa, Shiki, Buson just to name few.

My haiku was inspired by Basho most popular haiku “old pond” and decided to dedicate my version to him for being one of the fathers who worked hard and grounded the art for we young bards of today to continue from where he and the others left. 


Find his original translated version here:

The old pond;

A frog jumps in —
The sound of the water

In short, Basho has been a great inspiration and I find it most appropriate for him to get a dedication in my book. So the haiku in my book is dedicated to him as he is “perceived” to be the father of the art (I stand to be corrected). Maybe it was my way of putting smile on his lips while rest peacefully in his grave.





Exciting News


Adjei’s facebook page says as follows on January 31.



Last week, KGCL, a school in Accra after getting a copy of my book, AFRIKU invited me to their Visiting Writers Series to come and teach haiku to their students and as well share some of the inspiration behind poems. Huh, today happens to be the event day as I leave for Accra this morning to honor this lovely opportunity, and hope to share some of the works that students will pen right here with you on my return. And would also take this opportunity to thank Mr. Geosi Gyasi for this wonderful connection with his students.


Lastly, we sincerely hope that Adjei Agyei-Baah will have more opportunities to teach haiku to students at school.

And we also hope that children, students, and teachers will get interested in haiku because of its brevity and its coexistence with nature.

Hidnori Hiruta


Mr. Vitaliy Svirin submitted his haiku to the Russian section of the 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest.

Mr. Svirin also sent his poetic works of tanka, haiku and photo haiku.

He is a karate instructor, loving to play chess as a hobby.

He enjoys writing tanka and haiku, studying Japanese, and publishes his tanka and haiku in journals.






Here is his tanka, with the help of his friend, Alexey Gorbachev (USA), in translating into English.




Мечта о мечте…

Пустые объятия.

С милой на яхте…

Ее белому платью

Хочется птицей взлететь…    





A dream of a dream… 

An empty embrace… 

With sweetheart on the yacht…   

And her white dress 

Is longing to fly away…           




Here is his brief bio.


Имя: Виталий

Фамилия: Свирин



Я родился в 18.08. 1970

Окончил Гуманитарный Университет по специальности учитель  начальной школы и учитель экологии.

Я работаю инструктором по карате с 1995 года в спортивных клубах и спортивных школах. С 2008 года я работаю в качестве тренера с детьми от 1 года до 7 лет (карате, фитнес, шахматы).

Я начал изучать японский язык самостоятельно. Я хотел научиться читать японскую поэзию в оригинале.

Затем учился у Нишимура Takahito 西村貴仁  японскому языку.

В 2010 году я прошел тест JLPT  на  5уровень ( 5 Кю).

В 2007 году я сдал экзамен на 2 дан WSKF.

Я начал писать танка и хайку когда стал изучать японский язык.А  серьезно сел писать в декабре 2015 года.

Есть несколько моих публикаций в российских журналах и сборнике стихов “Золотой томик стихов №2” .

В русских хайку и танка  я соблюдаю классическую форму – 5-7-5-7-7 слогов.

Я начал писать стихи, потому что я почувствовал внутреннюю необходимость в этом после того, как прочитал сборник  стихов японских поэтов.


Name: Vitaliy

Surname: Svirin



I was born on August 18, 1970.

I graduated from the Humanitarian University specializing in the teacher of elementary school and teacher of ecology.

I have been working as a karate instructor since 1995 in sports clubs and sports school. Since 2008 I have been working as a coach for children from 1yo to 7 yo (karate, fitness, chess).

I started to study Japanese by myself. I wanted to learn to read Japanese poetry in the original.

I studied the Japanese language through my teacher, Nishimura Takahito 西村貴仁.

In 2010 I passed the test JLPT for 5N – 5 Kyu.

In 2007 I passed the exam for 2 Dan WSKF.

I started writing tanka and haiku when I started to learn Japanese. But seriously I started writing in December 2015.

There are a few of my publications in Russian journals and the anthology of poems “Golden book of poetry No. 2” .

I keep the classical form 5-7-5-7-7 syllables in Russian haiku and Tanka.

I started writing poetry because I felt the inner need for this after reading the books of Japanese poets.

As for my Russian publication, I publish haiku and tanka in Russian with titles “ My know-how”.


Here are his works of poetry.



IN THE OPEN WINDOWS (miscellanea tanka, haiku, may be senryu)




Мысли.. как птицы,

Но силком не поймаешь.                      

Умные слишком…




Thoughts as birds fly, but               

Do not catch the snare them.    

They are too clever …        






Птицы как мысли.

Вот, одна приземлилась,

Время обеда…




Birds’ flight as thoughts…

One landed now.

Dinner time…






Мысли… как кошки

Тепло и внимание

Любят… мяукнуть

На кухне в компании…

Если нет, смотрят в окно.





Thoughts … as cats                                        

The warmth and attention

Like… to mew            

In the kitchen in company …

If no these, look through a window.






Не трудно принять                          

Нажитого утрату…                          

Пусть остается!





Accepting loss

Of all things earned…

This is here to keep.






Проснулся… один

День прошел, отмеряю

Жизни остаток.






The day passed, I measure

Remaining life.                    






Проснулся… один

День прошел, отмеряю

Жизни остаток.

Как все-таки шаток мир,

Мы друг без друга – ничто!






The day passed, I measure        

Remaining life.      

How world is shaky,                        

Without each other – nothing!                






В открытом окне

Пустоты много… мысли

В нескольких окнах.





In an open window

There is a lot of emptiness… thoughts

In several windows.






Творческий голод…

Пища для размышлений.

Переварить бы.




Hunger to create…

Food for pondering.

How to digest?






Творческий голод…

Пища для размышлений.

Переварить бы.

Плоды вдохновения…          

Замысел должен созреть.





Hunger to create

Food for pondering

How to digest?

Inspiration fruits …          

Have to ripen.






Ква-ква– лягушки…

Омываются светом

В озере лунном…

Не станет поэтом тот,    

Кто не умылся росой.    





Ribbit-ribbit… frogs           

Are washing by silver light    

In the lunar lake …          

Will have never become a poet  

Who hasn’t washed with dew.  






И в капле туши

Вижу море. Волненье…    

Отпуск на носу.




In a drop of ink                                 

I see the Black Sea. Excitement …    

Vacation soon.                                







Тоска до краев…

Пустыня в сознании.

Сохнут чернила.




Filled with sadness and longing

My consciousness is a desert.

The ink dries.                                






Тоска до краев…

Пустыня в сознании.

Сохнут чернила.

Стихи сочинил, а вот                                      

А вот тушь развести… слез и нет.





Filled with sadness and longing…

My consciousness is a desert.

I wrote a poem.

The ink is dry.

No tears to wet it.






Творчества поле,                            

Просторы бескрайние…

Пашут и пашут…





Creativity field,                               

Boundless open spaces …    

They plow and plow …  






Стихи… я ловлю  

Вдохновения ветер.

Парус бумажный…





Verses … I catch  

Inspiration wind.

The paper sail …






Стихи… я ловлю  

Вдохновения ветер.

Парус бумажный…

Погода не важная,

Штиль на душе. Мысли в док.





Verses … I catch  

Inspiration wind.

The paper sail …

The weather is bad,

Calm at heart. Thoughts in dock.              






Смолкло пение птиц.

Потеряло небо цвет.

Ветер шепчет…нет,

Нет… смахнув росу с ресниц,

Вспоминаю…   жду рассвет.





Birds have gone silent.

Sky lost its colour.

The wind is whispering…no,

No… shedding dew from eyelashes

I remember… I wait for dawn.






Плачет гитара…                                  

По струнам бью, значит к ней    

Не равнодушен.


«Бьет – значит любит» поговорка   («Beats means loves» rus. saying)




The guitar is crying…      

I beat on strings, means                       

I’m not indifferent to it.    






Как рыба в воде…

Глубоко погружаюсь…

Плаваю в теме…

Плыву по течению…

Море житейских проблем.




Like a fish in water…

Deeply I plunge …

I swim in a subject …

I float down stream …

The sea of life’s problems.






Тень от тарелки

Увидеть в саду можно…

ТВ на кухне.





Shadow from the dish                                            

Can be see in the garden              

TV in the kitchen.                          






Тень от тарелки

Увидеть в саду можно…

ТВ на кухне.

Пишу осторожно я…

Хочется спутник поймать.






Shadow from the dish                                            

Can be see in the garden              

TV in the kitchen.                        

I’m writing cautiously …                              

Whanted to catch the satellite.            






Белый дар небес…  

Греет надеждой в мороз

Зеленый росток.





White gift of heavens…  

Warms hope in a frost

Green sprout.






Сыплет дар небес…

Греет надеждой в мороз

Зеленый росток.

Миллионы таких же

Дремлют под белым пледом.




A gift of heaven pours    

Heats hope in a frost

Green sprout.

Millions of the same

Doze under a white plaid.






Дед мороз пришел!

На дворе моем стоит…

Прямо на траве.



NEW YEAR IN ST. PETERSBURG (Russian Santa Claus)              


Father Frost has come!          

Standing on my yard

Right on the grass.






Ходим вокруг мы

Взявшись за руки крепко,

Дерево дружбы…





We are walking around  

Holding hands tightly,  

The tree of friendship…  





Только подумать,

Жизнь так скоротечна что…

Не успеваю

От мысли избавиться –

Это еще не конец.



« Всё всегда заканчивается хорошо. Если всё закончилось плохо, значит это ещё не конец.»

(Пауло Коэльо)

«Everything always ends well. If it ended badly, then this is not the end.» (Paulo Coelho)


Just think,                                

Life is so fleeting that…                      

I don’t have time

To get rid of the thought –    

That it is not the end.






Сосны и волны,

Следы на песке ведут

В прошлое… лето.



(松濤   pen name Funakoshi Gichin

船越義珍, ふなこし ぎちん)



Pine trees,


Steps in sand lead

To the past…






Lastly, here is a photo of the North of St. Petersburg where Mr. Vitaliy Svirin worked at a private school 2008-2012.

Then he went on vacation last summer, and made a photo .




Here is another photo haiku.




By Hidenori Hiruta









                         秋田市長 穂 積  志








Congratulations on the 5th Anniversary of the Japan-Russia Haiku Contests    

Motomu Hozumi, Mayor of Akita City

Let me send you my hearty congratulations on the 5th anniversary of the Japan-Russia Haiku Contests.  It is also a great honour to greet you in Akita—the Land of Poetry vol. 8, to be published on this memorable occasion.

I understand that through haiku, a traditional culture of Japan, the exchanges among the haiku lovers in the world have been rapidly promoted due to the endeavors of Akita International Haiku Network, the sponsoring organization of the Contests.  I tender my sincerest homage to the activities of the Network.

The Japan-Russia Haiku Contest project was launched in May, 2012, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Akita and Vladiovostok.  The 1st contest was targeted at Japan and Russia only, with 60 haiku submitted in Russian, while to the current 5th contest, I am told, besides the submission of over 450 haiku in Russian, 1,167 haiku have been submitted from 60 countries all over the world.

As well as from Russia, numerous submissions to the current contest are from Germany, the United States, and China, countries which include our sister cities.  In Passau, Germany, for example, more and more people have been interested in haiku, with haiku by Ishii Rogetsu and Ando Wafu translated in German and printed in local literary magazines.  Haiku has indeed made significant contributions to the exchanges between Akita and our sister cities.  I expect more and more friendly relations will be promoted among us through haiku.

In June, next year, Akita and Vladiovostok will have the 25th anniversary of our sister city relationship.  On the 27th of November this year, our city is planning to commemorate it by inviting the ethnic music and dance ensemble made up of graduates and staff of Far-Eastern State Academy of Arts, and holding an admission-free concert for our residents in Akita City Culture Center.  It is my pleasure to offer you numerous Russian folk songs familiar to your ears with fantastic performances, songs, and dances, accompanied on the Russian folk musical instruments.

The friendly relations we have developed with our sister cities are our common assets in the constantly changing world situation.  I will continue to try to implement projects which can return the results of out exchanges to our residents.

Lastly, I wish all of you good health and every success, and hope your haiku project will be more and more prosperous.


Translated by

KONO, Minoru

Professor Emeritus

Akita University





                                            Мотому Ходзуми, мэр города Акита


        Позвольте принести мои поздравления по случаю пятой годовщины проведения японо-российских конкурсов хайку. Для меня большая честь приветствовать вас в пятом выпуске брошюры «Акита – земля поэзии», который будет опубликован к годовщине.

        Я знаю, что благодаря активной деятельности Акитской Международной Сети хайку (Akita International Haiku Network) , спонсорской организации конкурсов,  значительно продвинулись связи между любителями хайку во всем мире. Мы воздаем должное самоотверженным усилиям членов этой организации.

       Проект проведения Японо-российских конкурсов хайку был впервые запущен в мае 2012 г. в ознаменование двадцатой годовщины подписания соглашения о породненных городах между Акитой и Владивостоком. Первый конкурс охватывал только японский и российский контингент участников и собрал всего 60 хайку, присланных из России, меж тем как проходящий ныне пятый конкурс, по моим сведениям, собрал не только свыше 450 хайку из России, но ив целом  1167  хайку из 60 стран со всех концов света.

       Многочисленные хайку поступили на текущий конкурс не только из России, но также из Германии, США и Китая – стран, в которых находятся породненные с Акитой города. В германском Пассау, например, все больше людей интересуется хайку – особенно сейчас, когда были переведены на немецкий и опубликованы в местных литературных журналах произведения Исии Рогэцу и Андо Вафу. Хайку внесли большой вклад в развитие культурного обмена между Акитой и породненными городами. Я надеюсь, что в дальнейшем наши отношения будут и впредь развиваться благодаря хайку.

       В июне будущего года Акита и Владивосток отметят двадцать пятую годовщину установления  особых отношений между нашими породненными городами. 27 Ноября нынешнего года в порядке подготовки к празднованию наш город намерен пригласить ансамбль народной музыки и танца коллектива выпускников и работников Дальневосточной государственной Академии искусств и устроить бесплатный концерт для жителей Акиты в городском Культурном центре. Мы будем рады представить вам  в фантастическом исполнении многочисленные русские народные песни и танцы , с которыми вы, возможно уже встречались, в сопровождении оркестра русских народных музыкальных инструментов.

      Дружеские отношения, которые сложились между нашими породненными городами,  – это наше общее достояние в постоянно меняющемся мире. Я и впредь буду содействовать реализации проектов, результаты которых пойдут на пользу гражданам нашего города.

       В заключение позвольте пожелать вам доброго здоровья и успехов. Надеюсь, что проекту развития хайку предстоит дальнейшее процветание.


Translated by

Alexander Dolin

Professor of Japanese Literature 

and Civilization Studies

Akita International University







 In the world haiku movement poems in Russian occupy an important place. We receive them from Ukraine and Belarus, from Israel and Kazakhstan, from Armenia and Uzbekistan, from Moldova and Bulgaria – from all those places where the Russian diaspora communities have settled after the collapse of the communist empire. Over twenty million former Soviet citizens and their children who still call Russian their native tongue live now beyond the borders of the Russian Federation. Many of them keep reading Russian books and journals, watching Russian TV channels and speaking Russian in daily life. No wonder that there are poets who still prefer Russian for the expression of their thoughts and sentiments, sharing the traditional love for the Japanese poetic tradition. Literature and arts easily go across the borders. Even more it refers to the international brigade of haiku-lovers who draw inspiration from the Japanese classics. Hundreds of poets compose haiku in Russia and scores of poets write haiku in Russian abroad inspired by the numerous translated collections of Japanese poetry. Let’s wish them further success in their bold poetic experiments.


Ксения Никодимова

Ksenia Nikodimova  (Belarus) 


С разных сторон

Стрекоза и паук на листе.

Вода прозрачна…


On two sides of a leaf

A dragonfly and a spider together

transparent water







Ирина Ожеховская

Irina Ojehovskaya  (Ukraine)  


Нити золота

Пересекают реку.

Последний закат.


Golden threads

Crossing the river –

The last sunset.



川を横切っている ―




Михаил Мишин

Michail Mishin  (Ukraine)  


В озере вершин

горных отражение –

счастливый дуэт.


In the lake

A reflection of the peaks –

A happy duet,,,



峰々の影 ―




Ион Кузуйок

Ion Kuzuyok  (Republic of Moldova)


ржавый замок –

между собой читаются

письма в ящик


A rusty lock –

Letters in the mailbox

Interesting only for each other…


さびた錠 ―





Елена Клепикова

Elena Klepikova  (Kazakhstan) 


С облаком вровень

Плыву над вершинами.

Горы в тумане.


With the clouds

I float over the peaks –

Mountains covered with mist…



峰々をさまよう ―




Маргарита Богданович

Margarita Bogdanovich  (Belarus)  


Молчит стрекоза над водою,

Дожидаясь рассвета…

Построю и я здесь качели.



A silent dragonfly upon the water

Waiting for dawn,,,

I will build a swing here







Леонид  Светик

Leonid Svetik  (Belarus) 


Солнце над морем.

Волны бьются о скалы.

Холст всё ещё пуст.


Sun over the sea.

Waves pounding the rocks.

The canvass is still empty.







Елизавета Безушко

Elisaveta Bezushko  (Ukraine)(Student )


Ракушки в море.

Жаль, что не видят пейзаж!

Садится солнце.


Shells in the sea.

It’s a pity they don’t see the landscape!

The sun is setting.







Лидия Ляшенко

Lidia lyashenko  (Ukraine) 


Вечер. Мелкий дождь.

Капли бьются о стекло

сердцу в унисон.


Drizzling rain in the dusk.

Drops knocking on the window

In unison with the heartbeat.







Vitali Khomin  (Ukraine) 


аист над крышей

между вершиной и небом

белый снег


A stork on the roof.

Between the peak and the sky

Just white snow.







Рут Соминская

Ruth Sominskaya (Israel) 


В зыбкой дымке песков

Лоск глянцевой глади

Мертвого моря


In the shaky sandy mist

The glamour of the silky water

In the Dead Sea.






Елена Шуваева-Петросян

Elena Shuvaeva-Petrosyan  (Armenia) 


Как много огоньков:

Персеиды, светлячки, костер, глаза шакалов.

Вернешься: за неуплату отключен свет.


So many lights –

All these fireflies, bonfires, jackal’s eyes…

And at home the power is off for ignoring the bill.


とっても多くの光 ―





Владимир Кунцман

Vladimir Kuntsman (Israel)  


Блики света

Плоды оливы на мостовой



Bleaks of sunlight

Olives on the asphalt








Михаил Низовцов

Michail Nizovtsev  (Ukraine)


Японский? Русский? –

Море не различает.

Берега – братья.


Japanese shore?  Russian shore?

It doesn’t matter for the sea

Both shores are brothers.


日本の海岸? ロシアの海岸?





Татьяна Худая

Tatiana Khudaya  (Belarus) 


Голубого льна

В зеркалах озерных

Времени холсты


In the mountain lake

Of the blue linen

The pictures of time






Ирина Мадрига

Irina Madriga  (Ukraine)


Чтоб море видеть,

стой на макушке горы,

встречая солнце


To watch the sea

Come to the top of the mountain

With the dawn.







Лев Альтмарк

Leo Altmark  (Israrel) 


Осенью сердце

Прячется в дыме костра…

Или в тумане?


The heart in fall

Hides in the smoke of the bonfire

Or just in fog?







Андрей Анфиров

Andrey Anfirov  (Uzbekistan)


Осень. Медленно падают листья.

Маленькая стрекоза заснула у окна.

Проснется ли она весной?


Autumn leaves are falling.

A small dragonfly is sleeping at the window.

Will it wake up in spring?







Иван  Александров

Ivan Alexandrov  (Bulgaria)


Земля вращается не останавливается
Орта и потому, что все больше и больше уже умерли.
Сохраните вашу землю, чтобы ваши дети едва известны,
сохранить больше красоты и воды на земле.
Пусть ваши дети земля, красота и вода.


Planet earth is spinning

Keep your Earth alive for your children yet unknown

Keep more water and beauty!







Владимир-Георгий (ВлаСт) Ступников

Vladimir-Georgiy Stupnikov  (Kazakhstan)


Меркнет звёздный свод

Ритмичный всплеск у камышей

В садке два карпа


The starry sky is getting dark.

Rhythmic splashes in the reeds.

Two carps in a trap.







Алина Кусаинова

Alina Kusainova   (Kazakhstan)(Student )


Трава манит к себе,

И нежно говорит,

Все шепчет о любви..


Grass is calling me

Whispering gently

The words of love







Екатерина Дементьева

Ekaterina Dementieva  (Ukraine)(Student )


Камень голыш спит

Убаюканный морем

Ему снятся скалы


A pebble on the beach

Is seeing dreams

Of the big rocks






Михаил Климов

Michail Klimov  (Israel) 


Сирень расцвела

Но моря между нами

Только мечта там


Lilac in bloom

But we are separated by seas –

Still my dream flies there







Валентина Ханзина

Valentina Khanzina  (Canada) 


Слушаю море

в фарфоровой чашке

завывает метель


I am listening to the sea

In the porcelain cup –

The roar of the blizzard


私は磁器の中の海の音にじっと耳を傾けている ―




Виктория Маринова

Victoria Marinova  (Bulgaria)


белая трoпѝнка

луна целует море

прилив любви


A white moonlight path

Kissing the sea –

The tide of love


白い月光の進路が海にキスしている ―




Alexander Dolin

Professor of Japanese Literature 

and Civilization Studies

Akita International University





Akita is a place of wonderful nature highlighted by folklore, enchanting tales and legends.

One of the many great mysterious folkloric tales is encapsulated in the golden statue you see in the picture. The statue is of Tatsuko Hime(辰子姫). We’ll call her Princess Tatsuko.

Erected in 1968, this golden statue stands on the shore of Lake Tazawa(田沢湖), the deepest lake in the entire Japanese archipelago. Legend has it that the crystalline waters that feed the lake were a main source of Princess Tatsuko’s enchanting beauty. She drank from these waters in the belief that it would give her eternal beauty. Unfortunately, she drank so much of the water that Goddess Kannon (観音)cursed her, and turned her into a water dragon.

Well, the story gets more interesting. Prince Hachirotaro(八郎太郎), a young prince from a nearby village, went fishing one day and ate a fish from a stream near Lake Tazawa and from that developed a powerful unquenchable thirst. He drank the water there for 33 days, and as a result also turned into a huge water dragon! Since he could never go home in such a condition, he decided to inhabit Lake Tazawa, which as you know was home to Princess Tatsuko. Of course they got together. 2 water dragons in the same place, what are the chances!?!

Tales passed down throughout the different eras tell us that during the winter months, the heat from their passionate lovemaking prevents the lake from ever freezing over. Scientists might give you another version but it won’t be as romantic !






Kirsten Cliff   (New Zealand) 



the sea salt scent

through her hair







Wendelinus Wurth  (Germany)


a slight breeze tugging

the immovable mountains

into the lake







Maria Tirenescu   (Romania) 


on a cliff

writing a new haiku  –

golden twilight



新しい俳句を書いている ―




Krzysztof Kokot   (Poland)


old boat –

compass needle always

on the rising sun


古い船 ―







summer by the sea

the klapa’s song fulfils

the emptiness of my heart




*クラパ(クロアチア語: Klapa)は、クロアチアのダルマチア地方で行われているア・カペラ(無伴奏)の男声合唱



Irene Massumi F U K E   (Brazil) 


Chisel of the wind  —        

ephemeral sculpture of the dune.

The moving art!







Knežević Vilma   (Croatia)


flowing river 

carries information

on eco-friendly homeland 







Sofia Tsagari   (Greece)


Smiling dolphins

spurt out of the blue

to seize the breeze







Kovačić Nina   (Croatia) 


rain at sea

drops disappear

in drops







Dimitrij ŠKRK   (SLOVENIA) 


my feet in the sea …

the gull’s flight draws a skyline

between the two depths







Štefanija Ludvig   (Croatia) 


calm sea

hills and cloudy sky

sinking with the Sun







Vladimir Ludvig (Croatia)  


flood —

torrents carry off the nest

small birds scream


洪水 --





David Nunn  (UK)


A cockatoo calls

The scent of frangipani

Infuses the air          






Sasa Vazic   (Serbia) 


distant mountain

bounces back from my sight …

a bluebird’s cry







Čeperić-Biljan Mihovila   (Croatia)


heat of the summer

in a glass of water ants

are drinking moonlight







Dušan Đurišić   (Montenegro) 


on the shore
a lone boat – in it
some fish scales



一艘の船 - その中で




Birgit Schaldach-Helmlechner   (Germany) 


riverside forest

wind and waves play

our slow waltz






Keith A. SIMMONDS   (France)  


Symphony of light
throbbing on a waterfall… 
aroma of dawn







Kit Nagamura   (USA)  


moonlit wake

all that’s still








Goran Gatalica   (Croatia) 


fragrance of the river –

pillows on the window

after storm


川の匂い ―





MELISA TADEO (Philippines)


Bamboo leaves glittered

With droplets from summer’s rain—

Hanging liquid pearls…







Stoianka Boianova   (Bulgaria)


tops under the stars

heirs of  Orpheus picking roses

in fragrant valleys






Minko Tanev   (Bulgaria) 

colorful tops
in the spectrum of the sun
Balkan Peninsula







Željko Funda   (Croatia) 



broken by

a firefly flickering





David McMurray   (Canada) 


Misty rain

fills the hot spring bath






Anne Curran   (New Zealand)


a coxswain’s call

through morning mist …

dipping of oars







Julia Guzmán   (Argentina)


The sounds of the temple

among the cherries…

Petals falling







Andrius Luneckas   (Lithuania)


sea horizon

so far so close

we are







Marta Chocilowska   (Poland) 


sweltering heat

under the painter brush

chill of water







Willy Cuvelier   (Belgium) 


My road map travels

to Japan as a boat

in origami.






Wiesław Karliński   (Poland)


the mountain lake

in the clouds and fog

I hear Grieg







John McDonald (UK) 


spring breeze –

cherry blossom

blowing across borders






Smajil Durmisevic    (Bosnia and Herzegovina)


Bosnian hills,/ become smaller, on the road -/ to homeland!


ボスニアの丘、 / だんだん小さくなる、路上で― / 故郷へ



Ramona Linke  (German) 


Wajima City —

at the morning market

the taste of East Sea







Chen-ou Liu  (Canada)


alone by the pond

frog song

lost in frog song






Dubravko Korbus   (Croatia) 


the sea is

a flat plate – distant gull

flies beyond it



平たい皿 ― 遠くのカモメ




Tatjana Debeljacki   (Serbia)


the daybreak

fields of amber

waves of the danube river 







Vasile Moldovan  (Romania) 


Even nowadays

in the Black Sea mirror

the sky is still blue







Djurdja Vukelic-Rozic  (Croatia)


pond sunset

countless plops of

my shadow






Pravat Kumar Padhy   (India)


early dawn–

my daughter wishes mountain

to lift the sun


早い夜明け ――



Translated by

Hidenori Hiruta


Akita International Haiku Network







In 2013 Akita International University Press published ‘ISHII ROGETSU A MOON IN A DEWDROP SELECTED HAIKU (石井露月俳句集)’ by Alexander Dolin.

This book includes the article ‘THE HAIKU WIZARD FROM AKITA’, 328 selected haiku translated into English and Russian, copies of 7 original scrolls, some remains and so on in it. Some copies of them are shown as follows.
































In 2011 Susan Smela (セメラ勇花) from USA visited the Ishii Rogetsu Shiryoshitsu, climbing Mt. Takao (高尾山)Ishii Rogetsu loved to climb.

Inspired by Ishii Rogetsu’s fine works, Ms. Smela and her friends from Thailand, Germany and France made their haiku pictures through haiku workshop at Akita International University.







The theme of the 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest was “mountain, sea, lake, river, or anything .”  Thank you very much again for your submission. We wish you a nice haiku life.

Lastly, let me present you with the following photo haiku on the Oga Peninsula (男鹿半島).





詩の国秋田-2016.10  vol.8- 

発行日 平成28年10月30日

Published on  October 30, 2016

発行人 幸 野 稔

    KONO  Minoru

編集人 蛭 田 秀 法

    HIRUTA Hidenori

発行所 秋田国際俳句・川柳・短歌ネットワーク

Published by  Akita International Haiku Network

E-mail:  shhiruta@nifty.com

URL: https://akitahaiku.com/



Alexander Dolin, Professor of Japanese Literature and Civilization Studies at Akita International University Japan, edited AUTUMN FIELDS, AKITA HAIKU TO THE WORLD秋田俳句集), which is A BILINGUAL ANTHOLOGY, in collaboration with HIDENORI HIRUTA.


Here are a few copies of the beginning part.












Here is a table of Contents.




Here is part of the anthology.










































Please send your e-mail to Professor Alexander Dolin, if you would like to read all of the anthology.

Alexander Dolin akitadol@gmail.com

Or, please check it out at the website below.



Here is the linking address.

You cannot open and get the pdf version from here, so please copy the address below and put it into your searching box on your PC. And then you will get it successfully, I hope.


By Hidenori Hiruta




Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


Here is a photo and haiku about Namahage.




In the Oga Peninsula, Akita Prefecture in the northern Honshu, Japan, there is a deep feeling of mystery as the New Year begins. There is the “Devil Festival” held there on December 31, a ceremony that children find exciting and full of thrills. Two or five young men dressed in straw rain capes, large straw boots and wearing frightful masks run as fast as possible through the village in the snow and shout in a monster-like voice as they knock upon each door. When the door is open, the first devil describes himself as the spirit, while the second devil beats upon a wooden bucket with a large cutting knife.

The elders of the house receive them and bring the devils into the house and the living room. As the devils walk slowly down the hall way the devil of Namahage will shout in a loud voice. “Where are the crybabies in this house?”  Suddenly the devil slides open a door and there will be the children. Namahage will shout. “Are you good children?” “Are you working hard at school?” Of course, the children all nod their heads that they are doing their best.





Messengers of god

bring up Oga children

New Year’s Eve


The real purpose of the arrival of the devils is to punish the lazy fellow who does not do his work or help the parents with the house chores.                                      

The head of the family will serve the devils in a formal manner with sake and fish while the children and the housewife watch from a respectful distance. Suddenly the devil will shout to the wife “Is the cooking knife sharp?”  “Are the New Year’s beans boiled?”


なまはげ (御膳)


The festival consists of drama between human beings and the guardian deities. It is carried out as tradition and custom in the richness and fantasy afforded people of this part of the world. The figures suddenly rush out of the house to pound on the next door in their frantic scratch for a lazy fellow.

Here is a legend about Namahage.

The legend of the Namahage varies according to an area. An Akita legend has developed regarding the origins of namahage, that Emperor Wu of Han (d. 87 BC) from China came to Japan bringing five demonic ogres to the Oga area, and the ogres established quarters in the two local high peaks, Honzan (本山) and Shinzan (真山). These oni (鬼), as they are most commonly called in Japan, stole crops and young women from Oga’s villages.

The citizens of Oga wagered the demons that if they could build a flight of stone steps, one thousand steps in all, from the village to the five shrine halls (variant: from the sea shore to the top of Mt. Shinzan) all in one night, then the villagers will supply them with a young woman every year. But if they failed the task they would have to leave. But just as the ogres were about to complete the work, a villager mimicked the cry of a rooster, and the ogres departed, believing they had failed.





Here are interpretations about the festival.
An obvious purpose of the festival is to encourage young children to obey their parents and to behave, important qualities in Japan’s heavily structured society. Parents know who the Namahage actors are each year and might request them to teach specific lessons to their children during their visit. The Namahage repeat the lessons to the children before leaving the house.

Some ethnologists and folklorists suggest it relates to a belief in deities (or spirits) coming from abroad to take away misfortune and bring blessings for the new year, while others believe it is an agricultural custom where the kami (神, or god) from the sacred mountains visit.

Lastly, let me refer to the Namahage Sedo Festival.

The Namahage Sedo Festival is held on the grounds of the Shinzan Shrine at the foot of Mount Shinzan on the second Friday, Saturday and Sunday of February every year, when the “Devil Festival” on December 31 is re-enacted for the public there.




Namahage join the festival as messengers of god in the following way.

First of all, there is a ceremony in which young men are exorcized and changed into messengers of god with devil masks handed by Shinto priest(神官), entering Mount Shinzan as Namahage.






Then, those Namahage come down to the grounds of the Shinzan Shrine to take part in the festival.





From Mount Shinzan

descend messengers of god

into a festival


Namahge give performances through sacred music and dance in the festival.





Firewood burning

Namahage absorbed in

sacred music and dance





The Oga people have coexisted with nature, inventing drama between human beings and the guardian deities. Giving birth to a feeling of mystery, the festival presents children something exciting and fantastic. The children gradually develop a sense of affiliation with their community and its culture, while the men who act as Namahage reinforce their identity and the continuity of their longstanding traditions.

Namahage is expected in the near future to be added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO as Koshikijima no Toshidon in Kagoshima Prefecture was in 2009.  

We sincerely hope that UNESCO will pay more attention to the campaign “Let haiku be on the UNSCO list!” through haiku about Namahage.

Haiku will be loved more because of its brevity and its coexistence with nature, by which the earth will be a haiku planet.


By Hidenori Hiruta



Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On August 2, 1689, Matsuo Basho visited Kisakata, Akita, where he composed his haiku.


Here is the English translation by Keene Donald (鬼怒鳴門).


Seishi sleeping in the rain,

Wet mimosa blossoms.


Now in Kisakata, adonises and red camellias are in full bloom.




More than 300 years have passed since 松尾芭蕉 ( Matsuo Basho )(1644-1694) wrote奥の細道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku’ , a major work of haibun by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō .

Basho could not have dreamed of how far and wide in the world haiku is loved.


According to THE Haiku FOUNDATION, there are contests held in 2014, or 2015 as follows.


January :  Haiku Poets of Northern California – Rengay

                   The British Haiku Awards

                   Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015

                   The Haiku Canada Betty Drevniok Award

February:  The With Words Summer Competition: Haiku Section

                  Haiku Society of America Lionel Einbond Renku Competition

                 Sharpening of the Green Pencil Haiku Contest 2015

                 ITO EN Oi Ocha Haiku Contest

March:    The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards

                The Vladimir Devide Haiku Award

                Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

               European Quarterly Spring Kukai

               Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition

               The 17th Apokalipsa Haiku Contest

               Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition

               Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards

               Annual Hortensia Anderson Memorial Awards

               Romanian Haiku Contest 2014

April:      Kaji Aso Studio Annual Haiku Contest

                The UHTS “aha” (Annual Hortensia Anderson Memorial Awards)

                for haiku/senryu

May:      The New Zealand Poetry Society’s Annual International Poetry Competition

                Klostar Ivanić Haiku Contest, Croatia [for details: dvrozic (at)optinet (dot) hr]

                Annual Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Kiyoshi & Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial

                 Haiku Contest

June:      The Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award

                Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

      European Quarterly Summer Kukai

    Pumpkin Festival Haiku Competition, Ivanić Grad, Croatia 2015

    The Third Japan-Russia Haiku Contest

                 Tanka Society of America International Tanka Contest

July:      The Snapshot Press Book Awards

               The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards

               Haiku Society of America Haibun Awards

               Harold G. Henderson Awards for Haiku

               Gerald Brady Memorial Awards for Senyru

August:    The Francine Porad Award for Haiku 2015

               UHTS “Fleeting Words” Tanka Contest

               Penumbra Haiku Contest

September: Annual Mainichi Daily News Haiku Contest

               European Quarterly Autumn Kukai

              Janice M Bostok Haiku Prize

              Haiku International Association (HIA) Annual Haiku Competition

October:   Haiku Poets of Northern California – Haiku, Senryu, Tanka

              Polish International Haiku Competition

              Haiku Presence Award

November: The Heron’s Nest Illustration Contest

              The Snapshot Press Book Awards

              Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2014

December:  Annual Jerry Kilbridge Memorial English-Language Haibun Contest

             European Quarterly Winter Kukai

             Golden Triangle Haiku Contest

             Fujisan Haiku 2014 (Haiku on Mt. Fuji)

             Iris Little Haiku Contest 2015

             The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems

             The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Book Awards


On September 23, 2014, the Akita International Haiku Network published the yearly pamphlet “Akita-The Land of Poetry”,詩の国秋田-2014.9 vol.6in the hope that haiku should be added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Hidenori Hiruta, the Secretary General of the Akita International Haiku Network wrote the article “Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!”

Hiruta hopes that haiku will spread further worldwide if it is included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

In the article, Hiruta refers to the latest trend that senryu and tanka have been paid more attention to among haikuists or haiku lovers in the world.

Through the website of the Akita International Haiku Network, Hiruta has found that the fixed page “What are haiku, senryu and tanka?” has had more and more visitors recently, to 4,427 ones.

In addition, the article “What are haiku, senryu and tanka?” has appeared in the English version of “Senryu (川柳) Wikipedia, which you can see on the website below.


Hiruta sincerely hopes that senryu and tanka will become more familiar worldwide when haiku is added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.



Lastly, let me show you an e-mail sent to Hiruta from Djurdja Vukelic Rozic, Principal editor of haiku magazine IRIS, Croatia, who is a haiku friend of mine.
On June 28, 2014, Djurdja wrote to Hiruta, wishing for “Haiku in the UNESCO list!”


Thank you, dear Hidenori-san,

I entirely forgot to send a note and did not even recognize your e-mail address.

Always hurrying, so please accept my apology.


Thank you for everything you’ve done for Croatian authors,

many of them being my old and even some new brothers and sisters in haiku.

Thank God for haiku for it enriched my life in a way I could not dream of long time ago,

once when we all were young…


I sincerely hope haiku will soon be on the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,

for it connects people in the most wonderful way I can think of.


With best regards from sunny Croatia,






By Hidenori Hiruta




Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


In May, 2014, the 3rd Japan -Russia Haiku Contest was held in celebration of the 29th National Cultural Festival in Akita 2014.

Only one haiku was allowed to be submitted per haiku poet, and there were three sections of Japanese haiku, Russian haiku, and English haiku.

One of the languages had to be chosen from among Japanese, Russian, and English in composing and submitting haiku. Haikuists and haiku lovers were expected to submit their haiku so that they could share them with each other, deepen their mutual understanding, and that their haiku could be of some help to make the world peaceful through the mutual understanding.




As a result, 1,130 haiku were submitted from 46 countries.

634 haiku were submitted for the Japanese haiku section from Japan, Russia,  Argentina, and Romania. 

54 haiku were for the Russian haiku section from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Israel,  Romania Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, USA, and Japan .

442 haiku were submitted for the English haiku section from 46 countries:

Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary,  India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine, and USA.


On October 25, 2014, the award-giving ceremony was held at the lecture hall of the Akita International University in Akita as part of the international haiku conference, with the results of the 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest announced.


The president of the Akita Sakigake Shimpo newspaper recognized Ramesh Anand’s work from India.

still pond . ..

fading from its center

this stormy cloud







Ramesh Anand kindly sent a photo, in which the certificate of merit and prize are taken there.


Akita Sakigake Shimpo President Award



Ramesh Anand is an engineer from Bangalore, India. He works for Philips healthcare as a manufacturing test strategist. His haiku, tanka and haiga have appeared in 15 countries and translated to 8 foreign languages.  He released his first book of haiku poetry in 2012 called Newborn Smiles, published by Cyberwit.  Akita Sakigake Shimpo President Award, Honorable mention in International Matsuo Bashō Award, Dr. Sandeep Chauhan Commendable Prize by RLP Award 2013 are his latest awards. He is a member of IN haiku group.


Ranjana Balachandra Pai is an aspiring Nature and wildlife Photographer. Her work can be followed at


Here are photos with haiku presented to the Akita International Haiku Network.


Autumn Loneliness





Autumn Sky




Autumn Twilight 





Autumn Wrinkles



Calm Mist 




End Of Play





 Hanging Bridge 




 Long Walk 




Still Pond




Summer Twilight 




 Winter Moon 




By Hidenori Hiruta




Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


In May, 2013, the Akita International Haiku Network held the 2nd Japan –

Russia Haiku Contest with the help of JAPAN CENTER IN VLADIVOSTOK, providing three language sections for haiku submission: the Japanese section, the Russian section, and the English section.

This is because the 1st Japan-Russian Haiku contest ended in a great success. The comments having been given on the contest, some of them said that it should be held every year. And others said that all haiku lovers in the world should be given a chance to join such a global haiku contest.




As a result, 624 haiku were submitted as follows.   

304 haiku were submitted for the Japanese haiku section from 4 countries : Japan, Russia, Romania, and Ukraine.                                                

62 haiku were submitted for the Russian haiku section from 8 countries : Russia, Japan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Serbia.

258 haiku were submitted for the English haiku section from 39 countries : Japan, Croatia, United States, India, Romania, Serbia, Germany, New Zealand, France, Poland, Russia, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Mongolia, Montenegro, Bangladesh, Belarus, Colombia, Ghana, Hungary, Jamaica, Macedonia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

On October 12, 2013, the award-giving ceremony was held at the library hall of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok as part of the haiku conference, with the results of the 2nd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest announced.

Here is a photo of three Russian haiku lovers who attended there, having submitted their haiku to the contest.




At the conference, Mark WILLIAMS, vice president at Akita International University gave a lecture, whose title is “There is neither ‘entrance hall’ in the house nor ‘Kannon’ in UK: translating the literature by Shusaku ENDO into English.”

In conclusion, he said as follows.

It is very difficult to translate Japanese haiku into English. It is possible to give a literary translation, but it is almost impossible to convey what haiku means from the Japanese viewpoint. This is because of the differences in the languages as well as in the cultures. However, we could appreciate haiku from our own viewpoints, making the most use of imagination. This might lead to better mutual understanding beyond the gaps of the cultural differences.     




The other panelists, Kazuhiro KUDO, Ibuki AIBA, and Hidenori HIRUTA gave talks about haiku from their viewpoint, such as Ishii Rogetsu’s works of haiku, teaching Japanese through haiku, and so on.

Here are three haiku by students, to whom Ibuki AIBA teaches Japanese at Akita International University.



 The panelists from Akita, Japan, enjoyed haiku walks there in Vladivostok during their stay.

Here are four photos with haiku by Hidenori HIRUTA (蛭田秀法).




White waves 

jumping in Amur Bay

the autumn wind




Late autumn

something solemn around 

Siberian graveyard





Deep autumn 

matryoshka into

deep thought





Russky Island 

into academic center 

thinking in autumn

                                                                                                                                                                                     By Hidenori Hiruta






The Russian Section 



AIH President Award by Akita International Haiku Association


Любовь Пахомова(Russia) 


Шумит летний дождь         

Каждой капле радугу       

Дарит солнце              


The sound of the summer rain

To each drop the sun gives

A rainbow as a gift










JAL Foundation Award


АлисаАнтоновна Лалетина 



Рыжий зверь принёс         

Сливы белый лепесток        

На чёрном носу.            


(это про весну и собаку)          


A red pet brought

A white petal of a plum

On its black nose.


(a dog in spring)


アリサ アントノヴナ・ラレティナ

(ロシア)(ウラジオストク 小学生) 










The Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Award


Владимир Ашурко (Belarus)   


летние сумерки                 

брошенные в костер                 

шорохи леса                   


the summer dusk

the sounds of the wood

thrown into the bonfire










The Akita Sakigake Shimpo President Award


Алиса Куртова (Russia)       


первая ссора  

не меньше хозяина                

огорчён щенок                      


the first quarrel… the puppy feels nonetheless confused than its master


最初の口論… 操り人形がそれにもかかわらず困惑した感じ




Akita Branch of Ten’i (Providence) Haiku Group Chairman Award


Ганзи Цу Мицунари (Russia)      


О, эта сирень!                    

Не вижу, но чувствую,  

Всё ближе, ближе            


Oh this lilac!

I can’t see but can smell it –

closer and closer…


ガンジ ツ・ミツナリ(ロシア)  



見ることはできないけど匂いを嗅ぐことはできる –





Akita International University President Award


Ольга Бокорева  (Russia:Vladivostok)        


Собака скулит    

У сосны многолетней.

Последний поезд.    


A dog howls

Near an old pine tree.

The last train.



(ロシア)(ウラジオストク 極東連邦大学)







On September 15, 2013, Ms. Julia Guzmán in Argentina kindly gave such a nice comment on the article “The Results of the 2nd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest.”  

You can check it out on the website below.



Then our correspondence started.  

On September 22, 2013, Ms. Guzmán kindly sent me a haiga (modern haiga) where the photo and haiku complement themselves. 

Here is her haiga.




She kindly translated her haiku into English as follows.


In the fallen leaves

the yellow chest 

of a great kiskadee







(Translated into Japanese by Hidenori Hiruta)


Here is a brief bio of Ms. Julia Guzmán.


Now let me tell you a bit about myself.  I´m from Córdoba, the second city in Argentina. I´m a teacher of English literature and a public translator. I´m an amateur photographer and a lover of the Japanese Culture; specially haiku and sumi-é , both disciplines I really enjoy a lot. 


My husband and I are very much interested in teaching haiku and as such we are permanently travelling around our country to give Workshops about haiku and its essence in different Book Fairs. 


I participate in haiku forums in the Web – Paseos.net; El Rincón del Haiku, Hojas en la Acera, etc. My haiku have been published in different Anthologies and I have had the honor to be included in the First Haiku Anthology by hispanish speakers which was recently printed in Spain and it’s called “Un Viejo Estanque” (An Old Pond”).


In 2010 I had the honor to be selected by the Japanese Embassy to give a lecture on “Chiyo-ni”, a haiku woman poet I´m very much interested in.


Last year my husband and I were selected by the Japanese Embassy to expose our haigas in the Luna Park, a very important place in Buenos Aires.


I also participate in the International Haiku Congress with different lectures -every two years-  which is held in Buenos Aires and organized  by the Tozai Institute. 


I permanently collaborate with translations with the virtual and published magazine “Hojas en la Acera”, printed in Spain and specialized in Haiku.


Together with my husband we published our first haiku book “Aniko and Akiro ”  and now we have the intention to print a new one with our haigas. We also published a series called “Seasons” where we included our haikus related to the season. We distributed them free in congresses and general public.


I have just started a blog called “haikukoyasan”, which I pretend to continue -now that I´m almost retired. I´m 57 years old.

Here is the website address of her haiku blog.




I have been judge in haiku contests, too.

I have just returned from a Book Fair where I gave a workshop about sumi-é ( simply as a student of this marvelous artistic expression which I´m learning with a Japanese sensei (from Akita)  who lives near me and who accepted me as her student). Now we are preparing an Exhibition in Córdoba for September -spring time here. Last year my partners and I participated with one of our paintings in an exhibition held in Tokyo.


Last of all, Ms. Julia Guzmán has invited people to participate in the 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest, whose deadline is June 30.

Please check it out on the website below.




― 蛭田秀法(Hidenori Hiruta)