Reminder of 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest : Deadline is June 30
Dear Haiku Friends,
We are looking forward to your haiku for 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest, whose deadline is June 30.
Please check out the guidelines again on the website below.
Here in Akita, it is just June-like weather lasting these days, when I visited Kisakata(象潟) Basho visited on August 1, 1689, on his journey.
Basho and his party are said to have taken a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata. They put in first 能因島 (Nohin jima), Nohin Island, where they called at the remains of the hut in which 能因(Nohin)(988-?), a waka poet, lived in seclusion for three years.
After that, Basho and his party left for the opposite shore, where they landed from their boat, and they saw the cherry tree that stands as a memento of 西行法師(Saigyo hoshi)(1118-1190), Saigyo. Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which is now called 蚶満寺 (Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple.
Here are photos and haiku about the present-day Kisakata.
Basho wrote about Kisakata in his travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』 .
鬼怒鳴門（キーン・ドナルド）, Donald Keene, translated the last part about Kisakata into English as follows:
Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, I rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water. To the west, one can see as far as Muyamuya Barrier; to the east, the road over the embankment leads to Akita in the distance. The sea is to the north. The place where the waves of the sea break into the lagoon is called Tide-Crossing. Kisakata is about two miles in either direction.
Kisakata resembles Matsushima, but there is a difference. Matsushima seems to be smiling, but Kisakata wears a look of grief. There is a sadness mingled with the silent calm, a configuration to trouble the soul.
Basho’s last lines might say that there is something woeful about Kisakata.
I wonder if Basho predicted that such a natural disaster as earthquake might occur in Kisakata in the future.
In fact, on July 10, 1804, a big earthquake occurred in Kisakata about 105 years after Basho’s visit there. The earthquake caused upheaval of ground by 2.4 meters. As a result, the lagoons were changed into dry land, most of which turns into paddy field.
Here are some excerpts of The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』, translated by鬼怒鳴門（キーン・ドナルド）, Donald Keene.
Here is a photo of 鬼怒鳴門（キーン・ドナルド）, Donald Keene, my haiku friend and me, taken at Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo, Japan.
Lastly, there are more information about Kisakata at the following website.
By Hidenori Hiruta
Let haiku be on the UNESCO list!
On August 2, 1689, Matsuo Basho visited Kisakata, Akita, where he composed his haiku.
Here is the English translation by Keene Donald （鬼怒鳴門）.
Seishi sleeping in the rain,
Wet mimosa blossoms.
Now in Kisakata, adonises and red camellias are in full bloom.
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.
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)
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
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.6』in 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.
Hiruta sincerely hopes that senryu and tanka will become more familiar worldwide when haiku is added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
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,
By Hidenori Hiruta