編集 蛭田秀法

Edited by Hidenori Hiruta



On June 21, 2014, Dr. Lars Värgo wrote FOREWORD for a haiku booklet “Radu Șerban AMBASSADORIAL HAIKU” as President of the Tokyo International Literary Society.

Dr. Värgo was very active and influential as in the following report.


Tokyo International Literary Society

25 April 2013
by Lars Vargö


Last night we organized the first lecture activity of the newly formed Tokyo International Literary Society (TILS) at the Alfred Nobel Auditorium of the Swedish Embassy. The lecturer was the renowned authority on Japanese literature, Dr. Donald Keene. It was truly an historic moment. Dr. Keene spoke about his encounters and friendship with writers like Tanizaki Jun’ichirô, Mishima Yukio, Abe Kôbô and Ôe Kenzaburô. He also spoke with sadness in his eyes about his old friend and former Minister of Education Nagai Michio.

Listening to Donald Keene is not only informative and fascinating. He came to Japan right after the war and walked into what he called “the golden age of Japanese literature”. Since then he has written about and introduced Japanese literature to the rest of the world, from early ages until modern times. To have Dr. Keene as the first speaker of TILS was a true privilege.

The purpose of TILS is to introduce Japanese literature to the foreign community in Japan and world literature to Japanese nationals. If there is a writer from, say, Europe, visiting Japan, the TILS will try to invite her/him to give a lecture. TILS will also invite Japanese writers to talk on a regular basis. If you wish to know more about TILS please contact the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo.


Here are two photos on the first lecture activity by Dr. Donald Keene.




Here is FOREWORD by Dr. Värgo with the Japanese translations by Hidenori Hiruta.




 In this collection of haiku by Ambassador Radu Serban the poet has chosen to classify the poems according to five themes: ‘Japan’, ‘Nature’, ‘Feelings’, ‘Time’, and ‘Home’.




In the first category, the reader will find scenes and locations which reveal various experiences of the poet throughout the country.




In Kumamoto and Matsuyama he follows in the footsteps of Natsume Sôseki and Masaoka Shiki.




Mount Fuji is described from various angles and the beauty of the mountains around Asahikawa have also found their ways into the haiku.




In Tokyo the moon becomes part of a giant Christmas tree decoration.

A butterfly on Mount Takao is accompanied by wandering clouds in Fukushima.





In the second category, ‘Nature’, the poet goes through the various seasons of Japan. Flowers, snowflakes, a flying peacock as well as immaculate swans help paint a sensitive atmosphere of harmony against the background of a dramatic and powerful nature.




Feelings are not commonly expressed in traditional haiku, but although a special category is dedicated to them, the poet does not exaggerate or exploit the emotions of humans. He keeps the feelings low key and often only hints at what one can find behind them.




He sometime also alludes to earlier centuries of poets and their expressions. ‘Dew of tears’ in one of the poems immediately brings forward associations to the early Japanese collection Manyôshû.





In ‘Time’ it is especially the passage of time that is alluded to through various poetic expressions. And in ‘Home’ the poet puts the light on the warm atmosphere created in homes where the holiday spirit is a time of philosophical reflection.





Many of Ambassador Serban’s haiku follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic pattern, while in others one can find both jiamari and jitarazu, ‘too many’ and ‘too few’ syllables respectively.




This is in line with the best haiku written all over the world today. What is important is poetry itself, not the metrical uniform.




Lars Vargö

President of the Tokyo International

Literary Society

June 21, 2014  






Here is a photo of Dr. Lars Värgo and Hidenori Hiruta, who translated FOREWORD into Japanese.



By Hidenori Hiruta




















According to


So as a memory of his visit and his ku, the statue of beautiful Seishi was built at the road station, Kisakata-Nemunokoa.




                                                                                                                                                                         蛭田秀法 編集

                                                                                                                                              Edited by Hidenori Hiruta


Three years have passed since we founded the Akita International Haiku Network on May 1, 2009.

At the same time we published the yearly pamphlet 『詩の国秋田 : Akita – the Land of Poetry』 on August 31, 2009.

Here is its front cover page, in which the article by President Mineo Nakajima (中嶋嶺雄)at Akita International University(国際教養大学)is shown.



In this article Dr. Nakajima presented haiku he wrote during his stay in Nara, when he went on a school trip in his junior high school days.





Donald Keene, the ex- member of the President’s Advisory Board at AIU, kindly contributed his Japanese translation for Matsuo Basho’s haiku from ‘The Narrow Road to Oku ‘ by Matsuo Basho (『おくのほそ道』松尾芭蕉).





Seishi sleeping in the rain,

Wet mimosa blossoms.

        Donald Keene


Here is a photo of Donald Keene taken at the final lecture at Columbia University on April 26, 2011 by Atsuko Teramoto (寺本敦子撮影).

His Japanese name is 怒鳴門




 AIU President Mineo Nakajima (中嶋嶺雄), who is one of the most important founders of the Akita International Haiku Network, is eminent as Ph.D., Sociology, The University of Tokyo, M.A., International Relations, The University of Tokyo, and B.A., China Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

You will see what Dr. Nakajima has been doing as AIU President on the Internet at http://www.aiu.ac.jp.




Dr. Nakajima has also a clear understanding of haiku and feels a great love for haiku.

This is partly because his late father, Seiyo Nakajima (中嶋晴陽), was one of the  haiku poets in Japan.

In 1990, Dr. Nakajima compiled a book of haiku by his father, titled Seiyo Kushu (晴陽句集).

Let me show you its front cover page and the last haiku by Seiyo Nakajima.






Dr. Nakajima has written articles or essays on haiku for haiku journals or the newspapers, and has appeared in NHK TV program on haiku these days.

He also contributed the article of congratulations on the first issue of the yearly pamphlet by the Akita International Haiku Network.


Last of all, we sincerely hope that haiku will spread out to the world more because of its  brevity and its coexistence with nature.


The next posting ‘『詩の国秋田』にちなんで(2)-有馬朗人先生との出会い-’ appears on August 24.



Hidenori Hiruta



Japan-Russia Haiku Contest
(Guidelines for Submission)

April 17, 2012

Akita International Haiku Network





This is a photo of a haiku workshop for the group of Professor Tatiana Breslavets, Japanese literature and Philology Group at Far Eastern Federal University.




From September 25 till October 2, 2011, Hidenori Hiruta, a member of the Haiku International Association (HIA), whose president is Dr. Akito Arima, had an opportunity to introduce and share haiku in Vladivostok, Russia.

During his stay in Vladivostok, Hiruta visited Eastern School, Far Eastern Federal University, and Japan Center there.

His visit there was supported by Akita Prefecture and Akita International University as well as by the Haiku International Association and the JAL Foundation.

On September 26, Hiruta paid a courtesy visit to Japan Center and Far Eastern Federal University, School of Regional and International Studies, Chair of Japanese Philology, Chair of Asia Pacific Region Countries’ Languages.

Hiruta told Director, Sohei Oishi and Head of the Chair, Alexander Shnyrko about the aims of his visit, and asked them for their cooperation, hoping for a further spread of haiku in Vladivostok.

  In his visits to Eastern School, Hiruta told about haiku to kindergarten children and elementary pupils who study Japanese. The children enjoyed reading haiku in chorus in Japanese as well as in Russian. They also enjoyed drawing pictures  about haiku.

In Japan Center in Vladivostok, Hiruta gave a talk on “Haiku and Tea Ceremony” to the members of the tea club “Ichigo Ichie no Kai” formed for the cultural course.

The articles on Hiruta’s activities for cultural exchanges through haiku in Vladivostok have appeared in the following homepages of the Japan club at Japan Center in Vladivostok and the Haiku International Association in Tokyo.

* The Russian version : http://www.jp-club.ru/?p=2341

* The Japanese version :http://www.haiku-hia.com/report/jp1.html

* The English versionhttp://www.haiku-hia.com/about_haiku/world_info_en/russian/




Hiruta gave four-day workshops of 90 minutes on writing haiku, short poems, at the FEFU School of Regional and International Studies. Students learned to write haiku through these workshops.

The article on the workshops at Far Eastern Federal University has appeared in the homepage of Far Eastern Federal Universisty.


It says as follows.

The workshops were conducted by “Haydzin” Hiruta Hidenori — a poet who writes haiku specially arrived to Vladivostok. Students, studying the Japanese language, listened with interest to the explanations of how to write haiku in various languages — Japanese, English and Russian, and then created their own poems.

Mr. Hiruta arrived from Akita Prefecture, which has friendly relations with Primorsky Region. Next year there will be the 20-th Anniversary of sister-relationships between Akita and Vladivostok. Universities in these cities have students and teachers exchange agreements, so Far Eastern Federal University students may participate in the Haiku contest in Russian, as well as in Japanese and English. Winners of the competition have a real opportunity to go to Japan.





Such cultural exchanges as this caused a great sensation there in Vladivostok, making them more interested in haiku and inspiring them to write haiku.

This is why the Akita International Haiku Network is pleased to launch the Japan-Russia Haiku Contest, as an opportunity to share haiku related to the theme of “the sea”.  

The organizer hopes that this contest will 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 writing and reading haiku.

The organizer also hopes that it will serve as an opportunity to strengthen and develop the sister city relationship between Akita and Vladiovostok, as well as to promote and increase comprehensive exchanges such as cultural, economical, medical, agricultural ones between Akita Prefecture and Primorsky Region.  

As mentioned in the homepage of Far Eastern Federal University, Akita Prefecture has friendly relations with Primorsky Region. In March, 2010, Akita Prefecture and Primorsky Region concluded the treaty that there should be more exchanges promoted and increased between them. This treaty reminds Hiruta of those fruitful exchanges the ancient people had by way of the northern sea route from the 8th century till the 10th century. Japan is said to have started trading with Balhae渤海 by ship in those days.



Organizer: Akita International Haiku Network

Sponsor: JAL Foundation


Akita Prefecture, Akita International University, Akita Prefectural Board of Education, Akita Prefectural Artistic and Cultural Association, Akita International Association, Akita City, Akita City Board of Education, The Akita Sakigake Shimpo, Akita Branch of Ten’i (Providence) Haiku Group, Akita Khorosho Club, Akita Vladivo Club, Haiku International Association, Japan Center in Vladivostok, Far Eastern Federal University, Yosano Akiko Memorial Literary Association, KYODO NEWS Vladivostoku Bureau

Theme: Umi ( the sea : 海 )

One of the most popular haiku related to the sea was written by Matsuo Basho in 1689 . Basho’s haiku is found in his travel diary Oku no Hosomichi ( The Narrow Road to Oku).

荒海や佐渡によこたふ天河        芭蕉

Araumi ya  sado ni yokotau  amanogawa


Turbulent the sea –

Across to Sado stretches

The Milky Way                         Basho


Translated by Donald Keene(ドナルド・キーン:鬼怒鳴門)


Original, previously unpublished haiku referring to some aspect of the sea should be submitted according to the entry form.

Japanese haiku poets should write haiku following traditonal styles in the Japanese language, having season words. And they have to add its Russian and English traslations.  Otherwise, they could leave a message in each translation blank : I would like the organizer to translate haiku into Russian or English.

Russian haiku poets should keep in mind that haiku is considered to be the shortest poem in the world, and submit haiku with a length of three lines in the Russian language. Season words are not essential. And they have to add its Japanese and English translations.  Otherwise, they could leave a message in each translation blank : I would like the organizer to translate haiku into Japanese or English.

Limited number of entries: Only one haiku may be submitted per haikuist.


The contest is open to the public of nationals of Japan or Russia who are currently residing in Japan or Russia.


Please download the entry form below and submit it by email to: shhiruta@nifty.com

Entry form:  Japanese entry form   Russian entry form

Submission period:  Saturday May 5, 2012  –  Friday May 25, 2012

Deadline: Friday May 25, 2012


Hidenori Hiruta, Secretary-General of Akita International Haiku Network, and also a member of Haiku International Association

Alexander Dolin, Professor at Akita International University

Kunio Teshima, Professor at Akita National College of Technology

Kazuhiro Kudo, Teacher at Akita National College of Technology

Okiaki Ishida, Chief Editor of Haisei (Haiku Stars)

Yoshitomo Igarashi, a dojin of a haiku group : Ten’I (Providence) led by Dr. Akito Arima

Kyoko Uchimura, a dojin of a haiku group : Ten’I (Providence) by Dr. Akito Arima, and also a member of Haiku International Association

Reina Yano, a dojin of two haiku groups : Tamamo led by Ms. Tsubaki Hoshino and Ten’I (Providence) by Dr. Akito Arima


A winner will be notified by email and announced on the website of Akita International Haiku Network, on Friday, June 29, 2012.  The winner will be offered a round-trip to Akita City, Akita, which is called “The Land of Poetry” in Akita Prefectural song, in Northern Honshu, Japan from Vladivostok Airport and a stay in a hot spring hotel there if he or she lives in Russia. The winner is supposed to attend Japan-Russia haiku meeting held in Akita City, on Saturday, Sepetember 22, 2012.  And if the winner resides in Japan, a round -trip ticket to Vladivostok City of Russia from Narita Airport and a stay in a hotel there will be offered. The winner is supposed to attend Japan-Russia haiku meeting held in Vladivostok City, the site of APEC Summit 2012 in Russia, on Saturday, September 29, 2012.  Further information will be notified directly from the organizer to the winner.

Grand prize a winner gets is called “Rogetsu Sanjin International Award”.  Rogetsu Sanjin is another pen name of Ishii Rogetsu石井露月, one of the great haiku poets in Japan Akita ever produced. Rogetsu is a pen name, whose real name is Ishii Yuji (1873 – 1928). This haiku contest is held partly because of celebrating the 140th anniverasay of Ishii Rogetsu’s birth.

JAL Foundation Award is presented to two winners by the JAL Foundation. Honorable mentions are also presented to six winners by Akita Prefecture governor, Akita City mayor, superintendent of Akita City board of education.

Each winner is presented with Haiku By World Children edited by the JAL Foundation as an award.

*The contest winner will be notified by email from the organizer and be given further details of the round-trip prize. Please note that the winner may have to cover some of the travelling costs.



Here is a photo of Rogetsu’s haiku related to the sea.




海の如く野ハ緑也五月晴                 露月山人

Umi no gotoku  no wa midori nari  satsukibare


Like the sea

the field is green –

fine May weather                                                            Rogetsu Sanjin


Translated by Hidenori Hiruta



Lastly, here are two photos of the sunset, which will surely inspire you to write haiku related to the sea.

The first one was taken from a hotel facing Amur Bay, Vladivostok City.

The second one was taken from Katsuhira Hill facing the mouth of the Omono River, Akita City.







The next posting ‘Haiku by World Children : Impressions of Water’ appears on April 28.

― Hidenori Hiruta ( Member of HIA)


























12 марта, 2012,


 Дорогие друзья! Префектура Акита и город Акита – побратим Владивостока – приглашают вас принять участие в российско-японском конкурсе хайку с 5 по 25 мая 2012 г. Тема конкурса: МОРЕ. Заявку с указанием информации об авторе и стихотворением необходимо направить с 5 по 25 мая (до 14:00 по японскому времени) по электронным адресам: shhiruta@nifty.com (г-н Хирута) и в Японский центр vladjcof@vtc.ru (с пометкой «хайку»). В Японском центре также состоится семинар (мастер-класс) А.М. Сулейменовой по сочинению хайку, дата семинара будет объявлена дополнительно.

Итоги конкурса будут объявлены 22 сентября в Акита и 29 сентября в г. Владивостоке. С победителем конкурса Оргкомитет свяжется до 29 июня с.г.

Участниками конкурса могут быть граждане Японии и России, проживающие в стране своего гражданства. Возраст значения не имеет.

Требования к хайку: кандидат должен писать хайку на родном языке, если ваш родной язык русский, три короткие стихотворные строчки на указанную тему «Море» (даже без упоминания сезонных слов) могут участвовать в конкурсе. Необходимо перевести на японский и английский языки Ваше стихотворение (см. заявку).

NB! Сообщение от Японского центра: если вы не владеете ни японским ни английским языками, пришлите, пожалуйста, только русский вариант, мы постараемся перевести по возможности, но за сохранение атмосферы вашего настроения в стихотворении мы ответственности не несем

Организаторами конкурса выступили: Международное сообщество хайку-сэнрю-танка из Акита при поддержке Префектурального управления Акита, Akita International University, Комитета по образованию префектуры Акита, Ассоциации деятелей культуры и искусства (преф. Акита), Ассоциации международных обменов (преф. Акита), Администрации города Акита, Комитета по образованию Администрации города Акита, Газеты «Акита сакигакэ синпо», Филиала общества сочинителей хайку «Тэн-и» в Акита, Общества друзей русского языка (Акита), Международной Ассоциации сочинителей хайку, Финансовой группы JAL, Японского центра во Владивостоке, ДВФУ, Литературного Общества им. Ёсано Акико, Отделения ИА «Киодо цусин» в г. Владивостоке.

Формы заявок:

При заполнении Вы можете так же оставить полезную и интересную информацию о себе в шапке заявки

Поделиться в соц.сетях:








かたつむりさん 学校にちこくした 24時間おくれてる

                                        Besedina Sasha

                                                                      Age 6  Female












The next posting ‘Japan-Russia Haiku Contest : Guidelines for Submission’ appears on April 17.


― 蛭田 秀法(国際俳句交流協会会員)













































宝風立つ高原や蕎麦の花   秀法

















The next posting ‘日露俳句コンテスト(3):ロシア語要項など’ appears on April 16.


― 蛭田 秀法(国際俳句交流協会会員)


















応募用紙:日本語応募用紙 ロシア語応募用紙




















後援:秋田県 国際教養大学 秋田県教育委員会 秋田県芸術文化協会 

秋田県国際交流協会 秋田市 秋田市教育委員会 秋田魁新報社

天為秋田支部 秋田ロシア語友の会 秋田ウラジオ会 国際俳句交流協会 

ウラジオストク日本センター 極東連邦大学 与謝野晶子記念文学会



shhiruta@nifty.com 照会はメールでのみ受け付けております。



The next posting ‘日露俳句コンテスト(2):趣旨と経緯’ appears on April 15.


― 蛭田 秀法(国際俳句交流協会会員)




On August 1, 1689, Basho visited Kisakata (象潟), Akita Prefecture (秋田県),  Northern Honshu, on his journey.

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

Here I take up the latter part of this section.




Here is a painting of Kisakata exhibited at the Kanmanji Temple.




Photo courtesy; as per original copyright at:



Donald Keene translated this part 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 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.


Here is a photo of the backyard of the Kanmanji Temple in Kisakata, 321 years after Basho’s visit.




Koji Otomo, curator at Shoji Taro Memorial Museum in Akita-city, contributed his poems on the earth to our network.


春愁 無情         Spring Woe   No Mercy

東海林太郎音楽館館長 大友康二


大地 ゆらぐ日                 On the day when the earth quakes

海 怒りて                          the sea gets furious

慟哭                                   cries bitterly  

三陸の海を                         the Sanriku coast

引き裂く                              tears into pieces


花 待つことなく                  Flowers wait for no man

人 逝く                             those there pass away

波に 消える                     vanish into waves 

あわれ                               alas!


世界に ただひとつ            The only nation in the world

被爆の国 ニッポン             the atom-bombed nation, Japan 

その空に                             in the skies

白い光の 恐怖                   the terrors of white rays


六十有余年           A little more than 60 years             

問われる 政治                   what has politics done?

問われる いのち                what is life?

喪われた こころ                  lost hearts


なぜ                                     Why?

どうして                               for what reason?

繰り返すことばは                the repeated words  

がれきに 吸い込まれ          are absorbed into rubbles

沈黙(しじま) 空しく            silence is empty 


潰滅の地に                         In the annihilated areas

おののきばかり                   there remain nothing but shivers

人 ただ侘(た)つ                those there have only to mourn


ふるさとの こころに             In the heart of home

槌音 響くは                        hammering sounds will resound

いつの日か                          when is it?


Here is a photo of the ruined fortress (払田柵)in Akita Prefecture(秋田県), constructed in the Heian period(平安時代)(794-1185).




Haikuists in Akita contributed haiku to our network.

They are members of the haiku group: Ten’I (Providence)天為俳句会led by Dr. Akito Arima主宰 有馬朗人).


余震なほ朔太郎忌の星月夜         伊藤沐雨 (Mokuu Ito)


aftershocks come

on the starlit night

Sakutaro’s anniversary


燭台に朱のろうそくや余震来る         伊藤智子 (Satoko Ito)


on the candlestick

vermeil candles burning

the aftershock comes


大津波退きオリオンの煌めける         伊藤慶子 (Keiko Ito)


huge tsunami gone out

Orion’s Belt



大地震の果てなる春の浅きかな      五十嵐義知 (Yoshitomo Igarashi)


great earthquake over

this spring

how transient!


なにもかも攫はれし地に黄水仙         笹尾巳生子 (Mioko Sasao)


everything lost

in the waste land

jonquils bloom


鎮魂の瓦礫の町に春の雪            進藤八重子 (Yaeko Shindo)



the towns of devastation

spring snow


奥入瀬の激しき調べ春の霜            鈴木東亜子 (Toako Suzuki)


intense music

of the Oirase River

spring frost


浴槽の揺れの余震や春寒             寺田恵子 (Keiko Terata)


the aftershock

of bathtub shaking

spring cold


被災地につくしたんぽぽなずなかな     山内誠子 (Seiko Yamanouchi)


for the devastated areas

field horsetail’s shoots,

dandelions, and shepherd’s purses


囀に小さな森の膨らめり              和田仁 (Jin Wada)


birdsongs resounding

the small woods seem

bigger and bigger



Here is a photo of daffodils and local springwater (郷清水) in Akita Prefecture.




Hiroko Kawashiri (川尻弘子) in Akita contributed haiku too.




the earthquake over

too heavy for the canal

spring snow




the pale moon

i feel like…

someone is calling



Last of all, let me post my haiku.




grasses growing

over the ruined fortress



The next posting ‘Haiku about the Great East Japan Earthquake (5)’ appears on May 28.

― Hidenori Hiruta


On August 1, 1689, Basho visited Kisakata (象潟), Akita Prefecture (秋田県),  Northern Honshu, on his journey.

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


江山水陸の風光数を尽くして、今象潟に方寸を責。酒田の湊より東北の方、山を越、磯を伝ひ、いさごをふみて其際十里、日影やゝかたぶく比、汐風真砂を吹上、雨朦朧として鳥海の山かくる。闇中に莫作して「雨も又奇也」 とせば、雨後の晴色又頼母敷と、あまの苫屋に膝をいれて、雨の晴を待。其朝天能霽れて、朝日花やかにさし出る程に、象潟に舟をうかぶ。



Here is a painting of Kisakata in those days.




Photo courtesy; as per original copyright at:



Donald Keene translated this section into English as follows:


  After having seen so many splendid views of both land and sea, I could think of nothing now but Kisakata. We journeyed to the northeast from the port of Sakata, climbing over hills, following along the shore, plodding through the sand, a distance of about twenty miles in all. As the sun was sinking in the sky a breeze from the sea stirred up the sand, and a misty rain started to fall, obscuring Chokai Mountain. We groped ahead in the darkness. I felt sure that if Kisakata was exquisite in the rain, it would prove no less wonderful when it cleared. We squeezed into a fisherman’s thatch-covered hut and waited for the rain to stop.

  The next morning the weather cleared beautifully. When the morning sun rose in all its splendor, we took a boat out on the lagoon of Kisakata. We put in first at Noin Island, where we visited the remains of the hut in which Noin lived in seclusion for three years. On the opposite shore, when we landed from our boat, we saw the old cherry tree that stands as a memento of Saigyo.


In fact, there were 99 small islands and 88 lagoons in Kisakata in those days and the people enjoyed beautiful sceneries or fishing by boat around the islands.


However, 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.

Now most of those lagoons have turned into rice fields or residential areas, but there are the remains of those days left there.

You can see such remains as the Noin Island, the boat-tying stone, or small islands in the article Basho’s Stay in Kisakata (1) at the site : https://akitahaiku.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/


Here is a photo of present-day Kisakata, 200 years after the earthquake, which was exhibited at Kisakata Local Museum in Nikaho-city, in June , 2004.(にかほ市象潟郷土資料館企画展2004年6月).




As posted already above, Donald Keene, the ex- member of the President’s Advisory Board at Akita International University(AIU)(国際教養大学), kindly contributed part of his English translation for Matsuo Basho’s travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi to our network.

This is because AIU President Mineo Nakajima (中嶋嶺雄) asked Donald Keene for his permission for us to use part of his translation.  


Kirby Record, a professor at AIU, teaching as director of English for Academic Purposes, also contributed his haiku to us. 

Haiku by K. Record

On the Earthquake


Villages of rubble        瓦礫の村々

Everything washed away    何もかも流される 

But the still-blue sky        しかし静かで青い空



Clutched in the hand     手でしっかりとつかんでいる

Of a child, floating face down—


Her favorite doll        彼女の大好きな人形

Yukari Sakamoto (阪本縁), a graduate from AIU, wrote haiku on the earthquake.


Unseasonable snow 
In silence
While the earth quakes


Blooming daffodils

A heap of debris


Susan Smela, who studied at AIU in 2010, is now a student at Beloit College in Wisconsin, USA.

On March 25, 2011, Susan sent me an e-mail , saying that they all heard about the huge earthquake in America, and many of them are raising money to help Japan.

Susan also said that she introduced haiga in America, and that she was able to hold a haiga meeting with students from her university (Beloit College in Wisconsin) and teach some basics of haiga and haiku.

It was a great time and the copies she made from my book really helped illustrate what she was talking about. They did some practices, then went in a circle, with 3 people writing one line of a haiku and the 4th person drawing a haiga-style picture.

Here are some photos Susan’s friend took from the meeting.











Yasushi Sato (佐藤康), a member of Akita International Haiku Network, contributed his haiku to us.



spring snow
mercilessly falling on
earthquake-devastated towns



so devastating tsunami
any words powerless
 relentlessly cold



Junko Masuda (桝田純子), a member of Akita International Haiku Network, contributed her haiku to us too.




sakura  sakura  bloom

believing in the future

Tohoku region



Last of all, let me post my haiku.




tying a boat

i cannot even dream

mimosa blossoms


The next posting ‘Haiku about the Great East Japan Earthquake (4)’ appears on May 21.

― Hidenori Hiruta