On June 28, 2017, Mr. Kujtim Agalliu, kindly sent to Hidenori Hiruta an e-mail whose subject is “Hi”, saying as follows.


 Honorable poets and leaders of Haiku International Association (HIA), we once received a magazine from Haiku International Association, and it was a good job, but after the death of our friend, the President of the Albanian Haiku Club, Mr. Milinov Kallupi, this correspondence was interrupted. I have taken this task and am trying to reorganize the Albanian Haiku Club, but I am at the beginning and have no experience.

 Here on the Web I found this email address and I’m addressing you to send me some details about this issue. Soon we will send you two Haiku books in two languages, English and Albanian written by our poets.

 Maybe you can help me by giving me an address where exactly we can send  our books.

 I’m waiting for your answer,

 Good job!

 Kujtim Agalliu,

 President of the Albanian Haiku Club


Here is a portrait of Mr. Kujtim Agalliu.



Mr. Agalliu kindly sent two Haiku books with their bios and a short introduction of the haiku in Albania.


Here is Haiku by Kujtim Agalliu.


On haiku’s wings,

flying around the wide-world

without a passport.



Here is a short introduction for the beginning and evolution of the Haiku in Albania


At the 1984s for the first time in the Albania territory, the publishing house of Kosovo published an Anthology of the Japanese Haiku, which were represented from a lot of authors. It was prepared and interpreted with notes from the painter and Academician Shyqyri Nimani, who for some months studied in Japan for the pattern art.


              At Albania in the year 1990, the publishing house “Naim Frasheri” published, an Anthology a little enlargement of the Japanese Haiku, where an honored place found the Japanese poets of Haiku. It was translated with a grand mastery by the well-known translator Petraq Kolevica.


              At the year 1996, the publishing house “Onufri” published the first book with title “Hiroshima Out From Me”, with the original Haiku of the poet Betim Muço a well-known professor, who for some time studied at Japan.


              After three years later at 1999s the poet and well-known scholar Moikom Zeqo, published his first book with Haiku with title “The After Death Terza Rima of Japonese Dante”.

              At the year 2000, the poet Milianov Kallupi published his first book with Haiku titled “The Rain Chrysanthemums”. Since that time and now this poet has published 12 books with Haiku. Three from them are published in English, Greek and Macedon language.


              Little by little the interest for haiku poems began to grow and in the year 2001 came the time for the Albanian Club-Haiku to be founded with its center in Elbasan, because in that city the poets created an encouraging climate.


              So in the year 2002 four poets together: Milianov Kallupi, Nexhip Ejupi, Rakip Zhguni and Flamur Luta, published the first Anthology titled “Aurora”


              Area that involved The Albanian Haiku is broad. Its group has well-known poets as Petraq Kolevica, Betim Muco, Moikom Zeqo, Milianov Kallupi, Nexhip Ejupi, Petraq Risto, Anton Papleka, Dashamir Cacaj, Ahmet Mehmeti, Konstandin Dhamo, Nasho Jorgaqi, Qazim Shemaj, Ferit Rama, Shuaip Garuci, Mihal Disho, Iliriana Sulkuqi, Agim Vinca, Kujtim Agalliu ect.


The Haiku publication don’t enclose only with editions in the different literary periodicals as “Drita”, “Fjala”, “Fakti”, “Temp” and “ARS”, but also with organization of the different discussions, inaugurations and disseminations.


              Albanian Club-Haiku made the member of the International Association of Haiku some months ago. It has contact with many Associations in the wide world: Macedon, Germany, Greece, America and so on….   

At current time Albanian haiku has done a good progress, but anyhow it still is a fragile poetry. This is because our poets even have not due knowledge about it. We hope that in the future we will have a good support from fatherland of Haiku, Japan.   



Kujtim Agalliu,

President of Albanian Haiku Club












































Edited and interpreted by Hidenori Hiruta(Member of HIA)

編集・翻訳 蛭田秀法(国際俳句交流協会会員)




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


On May 8, 2017, Vasile MOLDOVAN in Romania, a haiku friend of Hidenori Hiruta’s, kindly and passionately presented “Radu Șerban AMBASSADORIAL HAIKU”, a haiku booklet, for 6th Japan–Russia Haiku Contest.

Here we would like to post and share Radu Șerban’s booklet with our readers worldwide on the website of Akita International Haiku Network.

First of all, we post “PREFACE by David Burleigh”, sending our best regards to Professor Burleigh.













Edited and translated into Japanese by Hidenori Hiruta

編集/和訳 蛭田秀法




第6回日露俳句コンテスト 募集要項






応募期間   平成29年5月1日(月)~6月30日(金)

応募資格   国籍、年齢は問いません。

テーマ    「花」(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 https://akitahaiku.com/ 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 shhiruta@nifty.com 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 

























表彰    10月7日(土)国際教養大学


審査委員  日本語部門 : 武藤鉦二 舘岡誠二 和田仁 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

共催  秋田県国際俳句協会

協賛  (公財)JAL財団、秋田商工会議所 秋田市

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


    URL: http://akitahaiku.com/

          E-mail: shhiruta@nifty.com





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


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 aliznaidi.blogspot.com.


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






Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On November 3, 2015, Hidenori Hiruta took part in the panel discussion of the Only One Kagoshima Tree Haiku Contest festival held as one of the 30th National Culture Festival Haiku events at the International University of Kagoshima.

Then, Hiruta had a chance to talk about the signatures of 106 haikuists from 15 different countries, who signed to support the initiative to have haiku recognized as important cultural world heritage at the Second International Haiku Conference in Poland, 17 May 2015, at the 19th Haiku Meeting in Croatia, 13 June 2015, and at Gathering of haiku poets in the Castle of Zrinski in Croatia, 12 September 2015.

Here are copies of PowerPoint used in Hiruta’s presentation.




On September 12, 2015, Gathering of haiku poets was held in the Castle of Zrinski, Brod na Kupi, Delnice, Croatia.

Here is part of a letter Ms. Djurdja Vukelic Rozic, Croatia, sent to Hidenori Hiruta.

Dear Hidenori-san,

this autumn, Croatian haiku poets met in the town of Delnice, county of Gorski Kotar – The green heart of Croatia, for the third time. This gathering adorns a large number of the grammar school children’s works, which you may witness yourself in the joint collection enclosed herewith. Poets from 43 Croatian towns sent their work to the haiku competition.                                                                  

The theme were: a butterfly, the river.                                          

In the name of the adult poets and the children who will carry haiku on in the future, we hope haiku will soon be on the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. For, we have become a large family, connected by haiku. And that’s the wealth we have to care for and preserve for the future generations.


Here is a copy in the references used in Hiruta’s presentation.




On November 2, 2015, Hidenori Hiruta visited Chiran Peace Park (知覧平和公園) in Chiran, Kagoshima Prefecture by bus.

There is a bronze statue of a kamikaze pilot standing in the Peace Park near Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots (知覧特攻平和会館).                        




On May 3, 1974, the Chiran Tokko Irei Kensho Kai (知覧特攻慰霊顕彰会 Chiran Tokko Memorial Association) unveiled this statue based on the design of Ioki Ito, a judge for the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition.

The inscription on the base of the statue says “tokoshie ni” (とこしえに forever).

A plaque next to the statue gives the following information:


Origin of Kamikaze Pilot Statue Named “Forever”

In the end, special attack planes never returned.

These brave men must have gone while thinking of their country and parents and hoping for eternal peace.

The kamikaze pilot “Forever” was erected through kind people from around the country.

A brave man who disappeared south of Kaimon,

We pray that his spirit rests in peace forever,

With the desire to immortalize his brave figure.


Then, Hiruta visited the Tokkō Peace Kannondō (特攻平和観音堂).  

The Tokkō Peace Kannondō is a temple having a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy inside.

The image enshrined within is a 0.58m(一尺八寸) replica statue of the Yumechigai Kannon (夢違観音 Dream-Changing Kannon), a National Treasure at Hōryū-ji. The names of the 1,036 kamikaze pilots are written on paper within her womb.







The Tokkō Peace Kannondō was erected in 1955 thanks to donations collected by Tome Torihama(鳥濱トメ), who ran the Tomiya Inn frequented by the pilots, and who sought to redeem their memory after the war.                                                         Stone lanterns dedicated to the pilots line the approach to the temple.     


IMGP2264                                                           IMGP2270


Lastly, here is a photo haiku Hidenori Hiruta made during his stay in Kagoshima (鹿児島).




秋深し知覧の桜根を広ぐ    秋稲

deep autumn

Chiran cherry trees spreading

their roots


On February 1, 2016, the Japanese haiku above appeared with Hidenori Hiruta’s pen name ‘秋稲’in the haiku magazine 『天為』.

This magazine is published by the haiku group Ten’I (Providence) (天為)led by Dr. Akito Arima (有馬朗人), President of the Haiku International Association (HIA) (国際俳句交流協会).




By Hidenori Hiruta


Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On the morning of October 25, 2014, Mr. Masayuki Tsuchihashi, Mr. Hayato Shimokubo, Mr. Takayuki Fukuyama, Ms. Chen Ching Ling (Taiwan), Ms. Rachel Alexandra Bawerbank (UK), and Ms. Jessica Williams (UK) reached Akita Station by bus from Tokyo to take part in the 29th National Culture Festival Haiku events held at the Akita International University. They were students at the International University of Kagoshima, where Mr. David McMurray teaches International Haiku as Professor of Department of International Studies. 

That morning they enjoyed the national culture festival with high school students.




  That afternoon the students listened to Dr. Akito Arima, the president of the Haiku International Association addressing academics in an effort to convince them that haiku should be added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.




Arima 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, he garnered support for his idea that “haiku can help make the world peaceful.”


A year after, on November 3, 2015, four of the students who attended the 29th National Culture Festival Haiku events in Akita, played leading parts among 26 students who carried out the Only One Kagoshima Tree Haiku Contest festival as one of the 30th National Culture Festival Haiku events in Kagoshima.

Mr. Hayato Shimokubo played a part of a coordinator in the panel discussion, giving me a chance to refer to 27 letters of support of the campaign “Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!” sent by Ms. Djurdja Vukelic Rozic in Croatia and her haiku friends.    

It was also another good chance to show the signatures of 106 haikuists from 15 different countries, supporting the campaign, who signed at the Second International Haiku Conference in Poland, 17 May 2015, at the 19th Haiku Meeting in Croatia, 13 June 2015, and at Gathering of haiku poets in the Castle of Zrinski in Croatia, 12 September 2015.


Lastly, here are three pictures taken by Ms. Chen Ching Ling.






By Hidenori Hiruta


Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


On November 17, 2015, Mr. Masayuki Tsuchihashi, graduate student at the International University of Kagoshima, Japan, kindly sent me an e-mail as follows.


Dear Mr. Hiruta,

Congratulations on our haiku seminar 3rd November in Kagoshima. Thank you for your support of our project.
Let us think if haiku should be included on a list of the world intangible cultural heritage. I agree! We can understand other cultures by reading a haiku- short poem. Haiku is close to the Japanese heart. What we think of and what old Japanese haikuists thought in the past in Japan. And reading some of them, we are provided with world view.

I am yours.

Masayuki Tsuchihashi Graduate student from International University of Kagoshima


On November 3, 2015, the Only One Kagoshima Tree Haiku Contest festival was held as one of the 30th National Culture Festival Haiku events at the International University of Kagoshima.

During the symposium, Dr. Akito Arima explained differences in the way haiku is penned around the world in an address to 150 participants. The president of the Haiku International Association visited with academics at the International University of Kagoshima in an effort to convince them that haiku should be added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

In the panel discussion, I talked about what was happening in the haiku world since the 29th National Culture Festival Haiku event was held at the Akita International University on October 25, 2014.

In the beginning, I recited the following haiku as a greeting through PowerPoint.                          This is because Mr. Masayuki Tsuchihashi kindly requested me to write haiku about Kagoshima. He was a group leader among six students from the International University of Kagoshima who attended the Akita haiku event with Professor David McMurray on October 25, 2014.





  The catch phrase of the 30th National Culture Festival was 「ひっとべ!かごしま国文祭」, or “ Be active! Kagoshima National Culture Festival” in English.  

 Why were the words “Be active!” used as a catchphrase?

I found out the answer when the guide showed us around 「維新ふるさとの道」, or History Road “Road to the Meiji Restoration” on November 2, in Kagoshima City.

The guide presented us with an Iroha poem Shimazu Tadayoshi (島津 忠良) (October 14, 1493 – December 31, 1568) wrote around 1547.  Shimazu Tadayoshi was a daimyo (feudal lord) of Satsuma Province during Japan’s Sengoku period.




The Iroha Verses of Shimazu Jisshinko (島津日新公いろは歌) begins with the following words:

Inishie no    Michi wo Kikitemo  Tonaetemo   Waga  Okonai  ni  sezuba


いにしへの   道を聞きても     唱へても    わが  行い  に せずば



It means,

“Though you have heard and recited

The Way taken for granted

It is of no value in life

Unless it is mastered

And let it be practiced.”


Translated by Tsutomu Hamaoka (浜岡勤訳)


It also means, “Even if you learn old ways, if you cannot use them as your own, it is meaningless.”

It might mean, “Being active, or taking it into action” is the most important in our lives even today.


Lastly, here are two pictures in Kagoshima City.






By Hidenori Hiruta


Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!


Here is a photo of the sunrise in the eastern sky of  Sakurajima (Japanese: 桜島, lit. “Cherry Island”), an active composite volcano (stratovolcano) and a former island in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan. 





On November 27, 2015, Professor David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, kindly sent me an e-mail as follows.




  Thank you for the splendid sunrise photograph. It makes me feel a New Year for international haiku is about to begin.


 The Ambassador has printed a wonderful photo and message about Dr. Arima at his facebook site, in both English and in Indonesian please enjoy and copy link it to your Akita pages to further promote our efforts to have UNESCO recognize haiku:



 Kindest of regards,

  David McMurray


Ambassador Bobiash Wins Award – Dubes Bobiash Raih Penghargaan


Duta Besar Donald Bobiash baru-baru ini menerima sebuah penghargaaan kebudayaan Jepang untuk puisi haiku. Diserahkan dalam rangka Festival Kebudayaan Nasional Jepang (Kokuminbunkasai), upacara penghargaan ini berlangsung di Kagoshima tanggal 3 November bertepatan dengan Hari Kebudayaan Nasional Jepang. Upacara tersebut dihadiri oleh Dr. Akito Arima, Ketua Asosiasi Haiku Internasional, dan Sadatoshi Tsumagari, Rektor Universitas Internasional Kagoshima. Tema dari acara tahun ini adalah “Hanya Satu Pohon”, yang merujuk kepada satu-satunya pohon yang tersisa setelah tragedi gempa bumi dan tsunami Jepang tanggal 11 Maret 2011. Salah satu penyelenggara utama kompetisi haiku adalah Profesor David McMurray, warga Kanada lulusan Universitas Laval. Dalam sambutannya saat menerima penghargaan, Duta Besar Bobiash menggambarkan haiku sebagai “wahana perdamaian dunia”.


Here is a photo of Ambassador Donald Bobiash.




Ambassador Donald Bobiash was recently awarded a Japanese cultural award for haiku poetry. Presented in the context of Japan’s National Cultural Festival (Kokuminbunkasai), the award ceremony took place in Kagoshima on November 3, Japan’s National Culture Day. Present at the ceremony was Dr. Akito Arima, Chairman of Haiku International Association, and Sadatoshi Tsumagari, President of the International University of Kagoshima. The theme of this year’s event was “Only One Tree”, a reference to a single tree that was left standing after Japan’s tragic earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. One of the key organisers of the haiku competition was Professor David McMurray, a Canadian and graduate of Laval University. In his remarks accepting this award, Ambassador Bobiash described haiku as a “vehicle of world peace.”


Here is a photo of Dr. Akito Arima and Ambassador Donald Bobiash.





Lastly, let me show you a photo of  Professor David McMurray and Hidenori Hiruta.





We sincerely hope a New Year for international haiku begins with the sunrise in Kagoshima, Japan.


By Hidenori Hiruta