Alexander Dolin, Professor of Japanese Literature and Civilization Studies at Akita International University Japan, edited AUTUMN FIELDS, AKITA HAIKU TO THE WORLD秋田俳句集), which is A BILINGUAL ANTHOLOGY, in collaboration with HIDENORI HIRUTA.


Here are a few copies of the beginning part.






Here is a table of Contents.




Here is part of the anthology.









































Please send your e-mail to Professor Alexander Dolin, if you would like to read all of the anthology.

Alexander Dolin

Or, please check it out at the website below.


By Hidenori Hiruta



In Memoriam


It is a great pity that Dr. Mineo NAKAJIMA (中嶋嶺雄), a distinguished international sociologist and president of Akita International University, passed away in Akita City, Japan, on Thursday, 14th of February, 2013.  Having a profound interest in haiku, he supported the activities of Akita International Haiku Network as adviser.  With deep gratitude for his contribution to the Network, let me dedicate five in memoriam short poems (短歌) to his soul, as below.


Minoru KONO (幸野 稔), Chief Director,

Akita International Haiku Network


Here is a photo of Dr. Mineo Nakajima taken at Akita International University.




Here are five in memoriam short poems (短歌) to his soul.





How dazzling was the back

Of my senior schoolmate,

Who carried a flag and led

The demonstration of students

Of our alma mater in Tokyo!





Pursuing the way

Of global education

At university,

The great senior academic

Has met his end here in Akita.





Alas, the president

Of Akita International


Has abruptly passed away

From our town with the snowstorm!





Our passionate talks

On the teaching of English

At elementary school

Will no longer be exchanged

In your vacant office.






Inheriting the will

Of the late senior academic,

Why shouldn’t we develop

The English abilities

Of students here in Akita?




Here is a message on Dr. Mineo Nakajima’s demise, written by Mr. Mark Williams, Vice President and Trustee at Akita International University.


From: <>
Date: 2013/2/19
/President Nakajima Passed Away











rin to hisho ya

yuki no yari























Dear Graduates, Students, Faculty and Staff members:







rin to hisho ya

yuki no yari


 It is my sad duty to report to you that President Nakajima passed away in an Akita hospital on Thursday, February 14, 10:26 pm following a short battle with pneumonia.

 A family funeral was held on Monday, February 18, at his home in Tokyo.


 As the President said in an article in the Asahi Shimbun on May 10, 2003, one year before the founding of AIU: “We will only be able to judge this new university in 10 years time when we can see the success of our educational philosophy and the achievement of our graduates.”


 The President’s strong passion for education can be seen in his remark, “I want to make AIU into a modern-day Shokasonjuku (a famous school of Yamaguchi prefecture in the late Edo period) where we can nurture in this local environment people who can operate on the global stage.” It is no exaggeration to say that this dream has been achieved in less than 10 years and that a university which has already became influential on the national stage has taken root here in Akita.

 Until recently, the President was active in all areas of University life, full of new ideas, and passionate about the future direction of the University. The founder of this University is no longer with us to continue his work and we can only express our sadness that his activity has been cut short by his sudden passing.

 However, it is our duty, as students, graduates, faculty and staff members of AIU, to seek to continue the President’s vitality and insight, and to continue to develop AIU into the future. That is the best way for us to ensure his legacy.


 A University Memorial Ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 17 from 1 pm in the AIU Multi-Purpose Hall. This will be an open ceremony to which all are invited.


 We have received the following message from Mrs. Nakajima.

“My husband’s thoughts were always close to his students. How he used to look forward to graduation and matriculation ceremonies where he could welcome his students from all over Japan! That is why he chose to be hospitalized near the campus.

 As his family, we were often surprised to hear him taking about ‘nurturing the next generation of leaders’ and ‘making AIU into the number one University in the world with students’ help’.”

 AIU is a university into which my husband devoted all his energies. I should like to express my sincere gratitude to you all for your help up to this point.”



 Vice President and Trustee

Mark Williams



Here is an English interpretation of haiku in the above message, which was given by Hidenori Hiruta(蛭田秀法).



The Reverend Mineo Nakajima

ascending the heavens in valiance

beyond Mount Yari in snow



Here is a photo of Mount Yari in snow.




Dr. Mineo Nakajima led us haiku poets in Akita as honorary president of Akita International Haiku Association.


Here are two haiku composed to offer our condolences on Dr. Mineo Nakajima’s death.


The first haiku was composed by Jin Wada(和田仁), president of Akita International Haiku Association.



羽の国も淋しからむや鳥雲に   仁


The land of ‘U

feels lonely too –

the bird into the clouds


*  (U)’  is the old name of Akita (秋田).



The last one was written by Hidenori Hiruta(蛭田秀法).



雪の嶺尊師の教へ遺りけり   秀法


The snowy peak –

The Reverend  Mineo Nakajima leaving behind

His teachings



May Dr. Mineo Nakajima’s soul rest in peace!



The next posting ‘Haiku in “My loved Japan” by Clelia Ifrim (1)appears on March 23.


― 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 :


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