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.

https://akitahaiku.com/2016/05/03/

 

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.

 

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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.

 

キーン・ドナルド(1)

キーン・ドナルド(5)

キーン・ドナルド(2)キーン・ドナルド(3)キーン・ドナルド(4)

 

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.

 

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Lastly, there are more information about Kisakata at the following website.

https://akitahaiku.com/2009/08/29/

https://akitahaiku.com/2009/09/12/

https://akitahaiku.com/2009/09/26/

https://akitahaiku.com/2011/05/14/

https://akitahaiku.com/2011/05/21/

 

By Hidenori Hiruta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!

 

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

象潟や雨に西施がねぶの花

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

Kisakata―

Seishi sleeping in the rain,

Wet mimosa blossoms.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

http://thehaikufoundation.org/calendar/calendar_contests.htm

January :  Haiku Poets of Northern California – Rengay

                   The British Haiku Awards

                   Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015

                   The Haiku Canada Betty Drevniok Award

February:  The With Words Summer Competition: Haiku Section

                  Haiku Society of America Lionel Einbond Renku Competition

                 Sharpening of the Green Pencil Haiku Contest 2015

                 ITO EN Oi Ocha Haiku Contest

March:    The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards

                The Vladimir Devide Haiku Award

                Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

               European Quarterly Spring Kukai

               Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition

               The 17th Apokalipsa Haiku Contest

               Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition

               Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards

               Annual Hortensia Anderson Memorial Awards

               Romanian Haiku Contest 2014

April:      Kaji Aso Studio Annual Haiku Contest

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

                for haiku/senryu

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

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

                Annual Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Kiyoshi & Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial

                 Haiku Contest

June:      The Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award

                Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

      European Quarterly Summer Kukai

    Pumpkin Festival Haiku Competition, Ivanić Grad, Croatia 2015

    The Third Japan-Russia Haiku Contest

                 Tanka Society of America International Tanka Contest

July:      The Snapshot Press Book Awards

               The Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards

               Haiku Society of America Haibun Awards

               Harold G. Henderson Awards for Haiku

               Gerald Brady Memorial Awards for Senyru

August:    The Francine Porad Award for Haiku 2015

               UHTS “Fleeting Words” Tanka Contest

               Penumbra Haiku Contest

September: Annual Mainichi Daily News Haiku Contest

               European Quarterly Autumn Kukai

              Janice M Bostok Haiku Prize

              Haiku International Association (HIA) Annual Haiku Competition

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

              Polish International Haiku Competition

              Haiku Presence Award

November: The Heron’s Nest Illustration Contest

              The Snapshot Press Book Awards

              Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2014

December:  Annual Jerry Kilbridge Memorial English-Language Haibun Contest

             European Quarterly Winter Kukai

             Golden Triangle Haiku Contest

             Fujisan Haiku 2014 (Haiku on Mt. Fuji)

             Iris Little Haiku Contest 2015

             The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems

             The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Book Awards

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senry%C5%AB

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

  詩の国あきた1-4_ページ_1

 

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

 

Thank you, dear Hidenori-san,

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

Always hurrying, so please accept my apology.

 

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

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

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

once when we all were young…

 

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

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

 

With best regards from sunny Croatia,

sincerely

Djurdja

 

詩の国あきた1-4_ページ_4

 

By 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 .

Here I take up the latter part of this section.

 

此寺の方丈に座して簾を捲ば、風景一眼の中に尽て、南に鳥海、天をさヽえ、其陰うつりて江にあり、西はむやむやの関、路をかぎり、東に堤を築て、秋田にかよふ道遥に、海北にかまえて、浪打入る所を汐こしと云。江の縦横一里ばかり、俤松島にかよひて、又異なり。松島は笑ふが如く、象潟はうらむがごとし。寂しさに悲しみをくはえて、地勢魂をなやますに似たり。

 

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

 

 

 

Photo courtesy; as per original copyright at:

http://staff.aist.go.jp/nakano.shun/Jap/Chokai/news/recently.html

 

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

sparkling

 

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)

                                                                            

consoling

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.

 

地震止みて運河に重き春の雪

 

the earthquake over

too heavy for the canal

spring snow

 

誰からか呼ばれたやうな朧月

 

the pale moon

i feel like…

someone is calling

 

 

Last of all, let me post my haiku.

 

草青む払田柵やよみがえる

 

grasses growing

over the ruined fortress

reconstructing

 

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

― Hidenori Hiruta

 

On March 11, 2011, we had the most powerful earthquake since records began, which struck the Pacific coast of Northeastern Honshu, Japan, triggering a massive tsunami.

 Since then I have received e-mails and messages from haiku friends worldwide, in which they have sent their condolences and prayers through haiku, haiga, tanka, short poems, or pictures.

Some of my haiku friends took up the earthquake in their blogs or journals, and others started the movements to uplift their brothers and sisters in Japan on the Internet.

 Thanks to my haiku friends, I have been greatly encouraged and uplifted without losing hope.

I have clearly realized how my friends’ contributions are helpful in feeling encouraged, and consoled, and giving relief.

They eventually lead us to hope.

 In addition, to my great surprise, I find Basho’s haiku very encouraging and consoling too.

So, let me take up Basho’s haiku in the first posting.

This is because his haiku makes me imagine what might become of devastation in 500 years.

Here is a photo of the monument of Basho’s haiku.

 

 

 

June 29, 1689

Basho arrived in Hiraizumi(平泉), Iwate Prefecture(岩手県), where he wrote the following haiku.

 

夏草やつはものどもが夢のあと         芭蕉

Natsukusa ya  tsuwamonodomo ga  yume no ato

 

Ah!  Summer grasses!

All that remains

Of the warriors’ dreams.                  Basho

 

 

 

 

R. H. Blyth translated Basho’s haiku into English in HAIKU VOLUME 3  SUMMER – AUTUMN published in1951 and gave his commentary as follows:

 

 In Tennyson’s lines,

 

Nothing in nature’s aspect indicated

That a great man was dead,

 

man and Nature are taken as two separate things. Basho takes them, quite unconsciously and instinctively, as one and the same thing. The above verse comes at the end of the following passage in Oku no Hosomichi: 

 

國破れて山河あり城春にして草青みたりと

笠打しきて時のうつるまで涙を落とし侍りぬ。

                “The state ruined, mountains and rivers remain.

               In the citadel it is spring : grass is green.”  I laid

               my kasa down and shed tears, forgetting the passage

               of time.

 

Basho was at this time, 1689, in Takadachi where Yoshitsune was attacked by Yasuhira under the orders of Yoritomo. He fought bravely but was outnumbered, and committed suicide after killing his own wife and children, exactly 500 years before. He was thirty-one years old.

Basho’s verse expresses the same grief as Toho’s for things of long ago, but does not leave us in this state of passivity and dejection. The summer grasses remind him of

 

That secret spirit of humanity

Which, mid the calm oblivious tendencies

Of nature, mid her plants, and weeds, and flowers,

And silent overgrowings, still survived.

 

Basho’s short verse contains the whole of Sohrab and Rustum, but especially the last twenty lines, beginning,

 

But the majestic River floated on,

Out of the mist and hum of that low land.

 

  The second half of a gatha by Seccho in the Hekiganroku, Case 61, is similar in spirit:

                     

                                      謀臣猛将今何在、

                 萬里清風只自知。 

 

Scheming ministers and fierce generals, where are they now?

    The cool breeze of a thousand leagues alone knows.

 

Here is a photo of the Kitakami River(北上川) and summer grasses taken at Takatachi (高館), Hiraizumi(平泉), by Hiroya Sato(佐藤弘弥) on July 4, 2004.

This is present-day Hiraizumi, 315 years after Basho visited there.

 

 

 

Lastly, let me post my haiku.

      

曙に春の産声聞こえけり          秀法

Akebono ni  haru no ubugoe  kikoe keri

 

at daybreak –

spring cries rise 

in the birth room                    Hidenori

                                                     

 

Here is a Japanese translation of R. H. Blyth’s commentary on Basho’s haiku mentioned above. Please read it as you like.

 

参考資料芭蕉の上記の句に対するR・H・ブライスの解説の和訳

 

R・H・ブライスは『俳句 大三巻 夏― 秋』を1951年に発刊。

その中でこの場面を次のように解説している。

テニソンの詩の次の二行には、「自然の側面には偉人の死を示唆するものは何もなく、人間と自然は切り離された二つのものとしてとらえられている。

芭蕉は人間と自然を全く無意識的にしかも本能的に同一のものとしてとらえている。」

上記の芭蕉の詩(俳句)は『奥の細道』の次の節の後に出ている。

國破れて山河あり城春にして草青みたりと

笠打しきて時のうつるまで涙を落とし侍りぬ。

              

芭蕉がその詩(俳句)を書いたのは1689年に義経が頼朝の命令で泰衡に攻撃された高館を訪ねていた時である。義経は勇敢に戦ったが相手は多勢、妻子を道連れに自害、ちょうど500年前のことであった。義経31歳のことである。

芭蕉の詩(俳句)は杜甫が昔の事に対して感じたものと同じ悲しみを表現しているが、私たちをそのような無抵抗と意気消沈の状態にはしない。

夏草は芭蕉に次の詩を思い起こさせるのである。

「人間性のあの隠されている精神

自然の冷静で気にとめない性向の中で、

植物、雑草、そして花の中で、

そして沈黙の蔓延の中で、依然として生き残っていた精神」

 

芭蕉の短詩(俳句)は『ソーラブとラスタム』 の全てを含んでいるが、特に次の2行で始まる最後の20行を含んでいる。

「しかしその雄大な川は漂い続けた、

その低地から立ちこめる霧とざわめきから外に」

 

碧巌録公案61則の選の後半の二句はその精神が類似している。

                  謀臣猛将今何在、

                 萬里清風只自知。 

 

「陰謀をたくらんだ大臣や猛将たち、今どこにいるだろうか。

1,000リーグ(昔の距離の単位)も離れた所の涼風だけが知っている」。

 

The next posting ‘Haiku about the Great East Japan Earthquake (2) appears on May 7.

 

― Hidenori Hiruta