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
First of all, I tell you about the Earthday Haiku Contest.
2010 Bath Japanese Festival UK in association With Words (UK); Sketchbook Haiku Journal (USA); and Planetpals (Worldwide) are in partnership with the planet to bring the Earthday Haiku Contest.
They are also pleased to have the support of Akita International University; and International Haiku Spring Festival 2010 with Japanese festival director Hidenori Hiruta (Akita, Northern Honshu, Japan).
The contest is designed to combine the love of earth with the sheer simple fun of writing Japanese haiku in English!
We call it the “Kids Count for Earthday” Earthday Haiku Contest 2010. Kids will need to count 5-7-5 to create their Earthday haiku and help all of us to learn how to keep the planet clean and healthy!
The contest theme is “What Earthday means to you”.
The contest is open to individual students 7-20 years old.
Starting Date : April 22nd, 2010.
Ending Date: May 22nd, 2010
Contest rules are shown on the Internet at http://kidsearthdayhaiku.blogspot.com/.
You can also learn more about haiku and Earthday at this site.
Secondly, I refer to President Mineo Nakajima （中嶋嶺雄）at Akita International University（国際教養大学） in order to express a lot of thanks for the support of the Earthday Haiku Contest.
AIU President Mineo Nakajima 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 Akita International Haiku Network.
This is its front cover page, in which his article 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.
Sarusawa no hi no suzushisa o yado ni ite
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）.
Kisakata ya ameni Seishi ga nebu no hana
Seishi sleeping in the rain,
Wet mimosa blossoms.
Last of all, we sincerely hope that haiku will spread out to the world more because of its brevity and its coexistence with nature.
We also hope that more children and more young people will get interested in and love haiku through this Earthday Haiku Festival.
The next posting ‘Haiku by Students at AIU (Part 4)’ appears on May 1.
― Hidenori Hiruta