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






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

Or, please check it out at the website below.…/07/AUTUMN-FIELDS.pdf


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.・・・/uploads/2016/07/AUTUMN-FIELDS.pdf

By Hidenori Hiruta






Here is a present from a Russian haiku poet.


A painting presented by a Russian haiku poet (2)


The 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest

 (Guidelines for Submission)

 April 30, 2016

Akita International Haiku Network


In 2012, the 1st Japan -Russia Haiku Contest was launched with the help of JAPAN CENTER IN VLADIVOSTOK as one of the links with the cultural exchange between Japan and Russia, wishing to provide an opportunity to mutually share haiku related to the theme of “the sea” (The Sea of Japan) which connects Japan and Russia.

The organizer hoped that the contest would serve as an opportunity to deepen mutual understanding among people, to promote the interaction of people’s views on Japan and Russia, as well as to convey the enjoyment of reading or composing haiku.

The organizer also hoped that it would serve as an opportunity to strengthen and develop the sister city relationship between Akita and Vladivostok, as well as to promote and increase cultural exchanges between Akita Prefecture and Primorsky Region.

The Akita International Haiku Network has held the Japan-Russia Haiku Contest since 2012, because the contests ended in a great success. In particular, in the 4th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest in 2015, more than1,000 haiku were submitted from over 50 countries.

In 2016, the organizer sincerely hopes that the 5th Japan-Russia haiku contest will flourish more worldwide, and that haiku can deepen mutual understanding and enjoyment of different cultures between those people who read or compose the poem.

As a result, the organizer wishes haiku could help make the world peaceful.

Please submit your haiku according to the guidelines below.


Organizer: Akita International Haiku Network

Sponsors:   JAL Foundation, Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Supporters:  Akita Prefecture, Akita International University,

                       Akita Prefectural Board of Education,

                       Akita International Association, Akita City,

                       Akita City Board of Education, Akita Association of English Studies,

                       The Akita Sakigake Shimpo, The Yomiuri Shimbun Akita Bureau,

                      Haiku International Association, 

                      The International University of Kagoshima,

                      Japan Culture Club at Japan Center in Vladivostok, Primorsky Region,

                      Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok City,

                      Yosano Akiko Memorial Literary Society

Eligibility: The contest is open to the public of any nationality in the world

Entry: Only one haiku is allowed to be submitted per haiku poet.

Theme:  “mountain, sea, lake, river, or anything ”

Submission Guideline:

Original, previously unpublished haiku should be submitted according to the entry form. There are three sections of Japanese haiku, Russian haiku, and English haiku. One of the languages has to be chosen from among Japanese, Russian, and English in composing and submitting haiku.

Japanese Haiku Section:                                               

Please download the entry form below in Japanese and submit it by email to:

Japanese Section 日本語部門  (pdf file)

Russian Haiku Section:                                                  

Please download the entry form below in Russian and submit it by email to:

Russian Section    ロシア語部門  (Word file)

English Haiku Section:                                               

Please download the entry form below in English and submit it by email to:

English Section    英語部門  (Word file)

Submission period:  Sunday May 1, 2016   –  Thursday June 30, 2016

Deadline: Thursday June 30, 2016


Japanese Haiku Section:  Shoji Muto, Seiji Tateoka,  Shohaku Shima,

                                               Kazuhiro Kudo, Yoshitomo Igarashi,

                                               Kyoko Uchimura, Reina Yano

Russian Haiku Section:   Alexander Dolin

English Haiku Section:   David McMurray, Satoru Kanematsu,

                                             Ben Grafström, Hidenori Hiruta


Three winners of each haiku section will be notified by email at the beginning of October, 2016 and announced on the website of Akita International Haiku Network ( .

Winner’s haiku and haiku of honorable mention are also posted with translations of the two other languages on the website.

Akita Prefectural Governor’s Award is presented to the best haiku in the Japanese section.

Akita City Mayor’s Award is presented to the best haiku in the Russian section.

Akita International University President’s Award is presented to the best haiku in the English section.

JAL Foundation Award and Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President’s  Award are also presented to one of the honorable mentions in each section by the sponsors above mentioned.

Each winner is presented with the certificate and prize.


Contact: Akita International Haiku Network (

Please inquire by e-mail only.



ウラジオストク日本センター(河原和尊所長)のロシア語によるホームページでも応募を呼びかけています。                                                                                                                                                                                                            また、ロシアの俳句詩人からご恵贈いただいた写真を掲載いたします。



Here is a present from a Russian haiku poet.


A present from a Russian haiku poet (1)




(Основные условия участия в конкурсе и подачи заявки)

April 30, 2016

Akita International Haiku Network


В мае 2012 г. Международное веб-сообщество хайку префектуры Акита (Akita International Haiku Network) объявило о проведении Первого японо-российского конкурса хайку, который должен был послужить поводом для любителей японской культуры и литературы объединить свои творческие усилия вокруг темы «Море», поскольку море (Японское море) соединяет Японию и Россию. За время проведения конкурса особенно большой успех имел Четвертый конкурс в прошлом году: были присланы более 1000 хайку из более чем 50 стран.

Организаторы надеются, что конкурс даст возможность участникам творческими средствами выразить свою поддержку взаимопонимания между народами Японии и России, а также получить удовольствие от сочинения хайку и внести свой вклад в дело укрепления отношений между городами-побратимами Акитой и Владивостоком, между префектурой Акита и Приморским краем.

В 2016 г. организаторы искренне надеются, что пятый японо-российский конкурс хайку будет еще более представительным, и что хайку сможет способствовать углублению взаимопонимания между народами, а также дать возможность представителям разных культур получить удовольствие от сочинения и чтения стихов. Организаторы надеются, что хайку принесет мир всему миру.


Организаторы: Международное веб-сообщество префектуры Акита (Япония, Akita International Haiku Network )

Спонсоры: Фонд JAL (Japan Airlines, JAL Foundation), Торгово-промышленная палата преф. Акита

Поддержку осуществляют:

Префектура Акита, Международный университет Акита, Совет по образованию префектуры Акита, Ассоциация международных связей города Акита, Совет по образованию города Акита, Ассоциация английского языка Акита, Газета «Акита Сакигакэ Симпо», Международный университет Кагосима, акитское бюро газеты «Ёмиури симбун», а также Клуб при АНО «Японский центр по развитию торгово-экономических связей», филиал в г. Владивосток, Приморский край, Дальневосточный федеральный университет, г. Владивосток, Литературное общество им. Ёсано Акико, г. Владивосток.

Мы приглашаем вас прислать на конкурс свои хайку в соответствии со следующими положениями:

Право на участие:  конкурс открыт для участия граждан любых стран без ограничений.
Текст:  каждый участник конкурса имеет право представить только одно хайку, ранее нигде не публиковавшееся.
Как посылать заявку на участие в конкурсе: оригинальное, ранее не публиковавшееся хайку следует присылать на прилагаемом бланке заявки. Поскольку существует три секции – японская, русская и английская, – хайку разрешается представлять только на одном из трех языков по выбору участника.

Секция хайку на японском языке: пожалуйста, загрузите прилагаемый бланк заявки и пришлите на адрес

Japanese Section Application Form  日本語部門  (pdf file)

Секция хайку на русском языке: пожалуйста, загрузите прилагаемый бланк заявки и пришлите на адрес

Russian Section Application Form    ロシア語部門 (Word file)

Секция хайку на английском языке: пожалуйста, загрузите прилагаемый бланк заявки и пришлите на адрес

English Section Application Form  英語部門  (Word file)

Сроки приема заявок:

1 мая (вск) 2016 г. – 30 июня (чт) 2016 г. включительно

Состав жюри:

Секция хайку на японском языке: Муто Сёдзи, Татэока Сэйдзи, Тэсима Кунио, Кудо Кадзухиро, Игараси Ёситомо, Утимура Кеко, Яно Рэйна 

Секция хайку на русском языке: Александр Долин

Секция хайку английском языке: Дэйвид МакМаррэй, Канемацу Сатору, Бэн Графстром, Хирута Хиденори

Три победителя от каждой секции будут оповещены о своей победе по электронной почте в начале октября 2016 г., их имена будут объявлены на сайте Международного веб-сообщества хайку Акита (Akita International Haiku Network (   Лучшие и отмеченные хайку также будут помещены с переводом на языки конкурса на данном сайте.


Приз губернатора преф. Акита за лучшее хайку на японском языке
Приз мэра г. Акита за лучшее хайку на русском языке
Приз Президента Международного университета Акита за лучшее хайку на английском языке
Приз Фонда JAL и приз президента Торгово-промышленной палаты г.Акита будут вручены участникам каждой секции, отмеченным специальным решением жюри
Помимо призов, победителям будут вручены почетные грамоты.

Контактная информация: Akita International Haiku Network (, обращаться только через электронную почту. Если вы живете в Японии, то можете отправить хайку по факсу 018-824-2188 или художественной открыткой по адресу 010-1606 Akita-shi Araya kotobuki machi 4-38 Jimukyoku Hiruta Hidenori, указав все необходимые данные (как в заявке).
[1] В этом году организаторы разрешают представить хайку не только на традиционную для хайку тему пейзажа (горы, море, озера, реки), но и использовать образ собаки породы «Акита-кэн» – самая известная собака этой породы Хатико – воспета в одноименном голливудском фильме и запечатлена в памятнике на ст. Сибуя в Токио.










応募期間   平成28年5月1日(日)~6月30日(木)

応募資格   国籍、年齢は問いません。

テーマ    山、海、湖、川など(雑詠も可)

投句数       1句(未発表句)

使用言語   日本語、ロシア語、英語のいずれかを選択する。


 (1)ホームページ にて応募用紙をダウンロードして

                記入の上、電子メールにて まで送付。

         ・日本語部門 (日本語部門)日本語部門  (pdf)

         ・ロシア語部門 (ロシア語部門 )  (ロシア語部門 )  (word)

         ・英語部門 (英語部門) (英語部門) (Word) 


     FAX : 018-824-2188

                 010-1606 秋田市新屋寿町4-38

















結果発表      10月上旬ホームページで発表。 


審査委員  日本語部門 : 武藤鉦二 舘岡誠二 島松柏 工藤一紘 五十嵐義知

                                                   内村恭子 矢野玲奈

      ロシア語部門: アレクサンダー・ドーリン 

      英語部門  : デビッド・マクマレイ 兼松悟

                                                       ベン・グラフストロム   蛭田秀法

主催  秋田国際俳句・川柳・短歌ネットワーク

協賛  (公財)JAL財団、秋田商工会議所

後援  秋田県、国際教養大学、秋田県教育委員会、(公財)秋田県国際交流協会、

                秋田市、秋田市教育委員会、 秋田英語英文学会、秋田魁新報社、

    読売新聞秋田支局、 国際俳句交流協会、鹿児島国際大学、




    秋田国際俳句・川柳・短歌ネットワーク事務局 蛭田秀法

    〒010-1606  秋田市新屋寿町4-38

    TEL & FAX: 018-824-2188






Here are 50 senryu in a senryu anthology “A moment of a Cute Carelessness” ,  川柳句集「素敵な油断」by Hasegawa Suigetsu (長谷川酔月).

And here are English translations of them by Hiroshi Sugawara (菅原浩).





Separate surnames!

The chair on the grass

Too white.





Sending a child

To a summer resort

On a very tight budget.





The wife’s whip


Beyond the limits.





A guardian spirit coming,

Required to give her

The bonus.





Because of tax-free,

Accidently loosening

The purse strings.





My family are all circus.

My wife and children

Come flying.





The Noshi:

Insisting on not having

Any other intentions.





Coming out of 100-yen shop,

The economic situation

Becoming stable.





Dandelion carried on the wind,

The map based on a doctrine:

Humans by nature good.





Alarmed by

Cute round eyes

With no suspicion.





Losing the contact with her home,

Apples are ripening

In the city.





At the mountain behind his home

The leader of the kids,

Getting on the clouds.





Hoping to meet a brother,

I get on a swing






Red dragonflies

Release a musical note

In fall.





Sniffing at the circus poster,

I wonder if it is

Father’s shoulder.





An expressionless,

Stray dog coming,

I felt relieved.





In the middle of

The sound of grass whistle,

I meet my father.





Like a light swallowtail,

Love comes flying

And stops.





Searching for love

Between the lines,






Letting a folded

Paper crane flying,

The love ended.





Looking back at

The person of the past,

She turns around me.






Coming with

A smart parting.





Bad people appear

In the drama, but

I am worse.





My cat and I

Are so sharp

In the dark.





The river winds

Lazily as if

Nothing happened.





I always capture

A crow scoffing at me

In my field of view.





Winter grove!

That is a stubborn

Father’s shoulder.





The snails

Getting used to a transfer,

Are footloose.





At the door

The cat is waiting

And I throw off my mask.





Airing out the futon,

She looks like

A happy person.





On the answering machine

My father is yelling

In the country.





The principle of a single life

Falls from the hands

Of peeling an apple.






Men are inclined to

Removed the core.





The water of a shower

Repel a secret






The man having chazuke

Can’t understand

The mind of love yet.





The wife conducts

A baton of a deep insight

As I expected.





The cat evaluating,

Takes sides with a wife

In the end.





Men’s having pollen allergy,

Perhaps out of






I’ll hit

Over and over again

The meaningless laugh.





Biting an apple

With the mouth wide open,

The apple tastes of regrets.





Crossing the 38th parallel,

She changed

From a friend to a wife.





Judged by

Mother’s bowing

And her back.





Admiring someone

You really don’t know,

The spring thunder roars.





On its owner’s lap

The offensive cat

Closing the eyes.





Saying a prayer

For family ties,

Getting on a train.





A newborn baby,

Catching the wind of






My father wearing geta,

Tries to suppress

His joy.





Father snores loudly;

The incarnation of






The bride,

Eating a crab innocently,

Seem to be nice.





Putting the room in order,

Somehow mother’s shoulder

Feel lonely.


By Hidenori Hiruta




Here are 50 senryu in a senryu anthology “A moment of a Cute Carelessness” ,  川柳句集「素敵な油断」by Hasegawa Suigetsu (長谷川酔月).

And here are English translations of them by Hiroshi Sugawara (菅原浩).





At sunset some day,

Playing hide-and-seek

All alone.





The story of a day;

Burning the ayu

In the fall.





At the condominium

My late mother

Boiled over many times.





On the street

Of zero visibility,

Wearing a red shirt.





A reserved seat,

Secured alone

In the wind.





Risking my life,

Valued at three-grade ranking

On five-grade scale.





A future plan,

Left unfinished

In the blue room.





With the deutzia smelling,

It’s becoming spring-like,

Mother beside me.





Maple trees,

Just start to fall,

Waiting for the wind.





To that person

The setting sun some day,

Giving a final answer.





Linking each other’s finger,

A moment of a cute carelessness

can be seen.





For new snow,

Hoping for intense love,

I play the silver flute.





With one eye opening,

Married couple overlook the error,

Getting along well.





At the ninth station

The setting sun, not sinking,

Eats up the mountain.





On the ground

Lying down,

I hear farther rebuke me.





At a retired age,

His fists smell like

Beast’s scent.




Over the course of life,

Terribly betrayed once or twice,

It’s a good medicine.






To draw

In the snow fields.





A child’s complaints,

Slowly boiled up

In his mother’s pot.





Paper cups never ask

And reveal its identity

Each other.





The wife says,

“Money solves the problem”,

Establishing a firm position.





How sinful

This hand!,

Tearing the dried squid.



雨は秋 思想のしみた旗を巻く


The rain in autumn,

Rolling up

A thought-soaked flag.





Putting a stamp,

This is a fine

Letter of challenge





Until the rival

Is off guard,

Keep showing a uvula.



定年が近いぞ 死んだふりしよう


The retirement age

Coming up,

Let’s pretend to be dead.





Whatever the process,

I’d like

Red wine.






I’ll dry wife’s apron

As white.





The whiteness of squid sashimi;

The same as

Mother’s teeth.





The mountain,

Forgiving everything,

Is burning brightly.





I hear

Faithful mother’s voices

On the low dining table…   .





A funny joke,

Softening the scorch

Of the main dish.





Eggplants and tomatoes,

Not of the same size,

Laugh a lot.





To break a deadlock,

I’ll bring

Only thunder.





“Thanks a lot!”

The Wife and a cat supporting me,

Shouldering the moon.





Dishing up

An ordinary love

On the silver plate.





Hot sake


A demon.



妻に恵まれ だまって 飯を食っている


Blessed with a wife,

Having a meal






In a picture of the sea,

Father’s favorite sails,






Unfitted buttons,







A nail coming out,

Strike it again

In silence.





Having a habit of

Wrapping a husband

In furoshiki.





The snow falling silently,

A Buddhist, attained enlightenment,

Sitting and waiting for spring.





You, Persian cat!

Stiffening me

A little bit.





Boil a pumpkin!

Medical records saying,

“Spring is near at hand.”





Two Japanese rice cake

Making a good picture,

The snow falling in large flakes.





The north window

Needs a child

And a family.





At an open-air market

An old woman’s smile

Sells well.





My habit of

Crouching at once

In the nature of dogs.





Snow melting,

Changes everything

Into comedies.


川柳句集「素敵な油断」, “A moment of a Cute Carelessness” (2) appears on April 24.

By Hidenori Hiruta




長谷川 酔 月  プロフィール


1 雅号等  長谷川酔月(本名 長谷川三紀夫)

  住 所  010-0973  秋田県秋田市八橋本町4丁目3-18

  電 話  018-864-3782  (FAX兼用)

  川柳略歴 1994年に「川柳銀の笛吟社」創設。









  著 作 川柳句集「素敵な油断」


2 川柳を始めたきっかけ






3 活動内容




4 雅号について



5 最近の川柳について







6 近作





Hasegawa Suigetsu   Profile


1    Pen name: Hasegawa Suigetsu  (Real name: Hasegawa Mikio)
2   Address: 4-3-18 Motomachi, Yabase, Akita-city, Akita 010-0973 Japan
3   Telephone and FAX: (Japan81)18-864-3782 E-mail:

4   Senryu Personal Record:

 Founded  “Senryu Silver Flute” in 1994.

Now the chief of senryu silver flute.

The president of Akita City senryu association.

The all-Japan senryu association regular coordinator.

The selector of all-Japan senryu Sendai Contest in 2011, the 29th national cultural Festival in Akita.
5    Writings:  senryu “A moment of a Cute Carelessness” 

6  The motivation of starting senryu


In 1989, during my time in office in Akita prefectural Gojome-town, I happened to

find the works of senryu displayed at an open-air market, and realized senryu was what I had long expected to do. By writing senryu, I could put my feeling in order and felt refreshed. That’s why I was absorbed in senryu rapidly. Next year, I joined “Suzumushi” in Gojome-town and began writing senryu in earnest. In 1994 I founded “senryu Silver Flute” in order to train successors and expand the bottom of senryu, so that the incumbent workers could attend the meeting.

7   Activities
The central activities are regular meeting held twice each month, about 100 members

attending the meeting. We make appearances on community broadcast, and hold a cherry blossom viewing meeting, making senryu. Also, we enjoy a various kind of senryu contest.

Personally I act as a judge at Akita Sakigake newspaper and so many places. I teach children how to compose senryu in elementary school club activity. In Akita prison I teach prisoners senryu and help to reform them. Recently the chance to tell the charm of senryu is increasing at a lecture.

8   The recent trend of senryu
We are mainly aiming at feelings-based senryu, so to speak, full-scale arts and science: literature. Sense of humor is an important factor in senryu. Humans feel at ease by expressing graceful laughter spontaneously, not by forcing people to laugh.

Recently public senryu or current events senryu get a lot of attention, especially salaried senryu. Some of these senryu include word play or a boring joke and there is no room for including the joys and sorrows of life. It is my personal opinion that we should remove word play or a boring joke, making full-scale arts and science: literature.

9   Pen name
I would like to see the moon and think about a various kind of things since I was a small child. Whenever I see the moon, I am intoxicated with the moon. So I named my pen name ‘Suigetsu’.

10   Recent works


Only at that place

Is glittering

With kids




A midnight radio program,

Wetting the pillow with tears



Telling the day,

When people cried and

The political situation changed


訳者紹介  菅原浩






墓参り 家族の絆 強くする


Hello, everyone!  I’m Hiroshi Sugawara, a translator of senryu ( a humorous haiku). Now I’m teaching English in a senior high school. I love senryu and write senryu myself.

Senryu, made up of 17 syllables arranged in a 5-7-5 pattern, is said to be the shortest poetic form in Japan. It is said that senryu, humorously and gently satirize human feelings, social conditions and manners of today.

Why don’t you join the world of senryu, which is humorous and satiric?  We can share the pleasure and the sorrow of human beings in common.  Also, we can freely express our real intentions.  I’m sure senryu interest you and you can enjoy the great depth of senryu as well as haiku.



   Visiting the ancestor’s grave

Making the family ties




50 senryu in the senryu anthology ‘A moment of a Cute Carelessness’ by Hasegawa Suigetsu (1)  appear on April 17.

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