Exciting news reached us in Akita!

Mr. Satoru Kanematsu published a splendid haiku book on October 1.

He is one of the veteran poets, who has contributed nice haiku to Asahi Haikuist Network by David McMurray.

The news was sent on November 14, from Professor David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima(鹿児島国際大学)as follows.


Dear Hiruta sensei,

  You’ve been blessed with early arriving snow! Blown in from Russia according to weather reports I read down here in the south of Japan. The fresh white treetops with golden red leaves underneath must be splendid to see. That reminds me of a haiku I read in the Asahi back in 2005:

Near winter
my dyed hair turns white
from the roots

  I am writing today, to let the haiku scholars and haiku aficionados who enjoy your Akita Haiku page know about a splendid new haiku book by a seasoned poet in Nagoya:

title: Haiku Diary HAZY MOON
author: KANEMATSU, Satoru
publisher: GAKUHOSHA
address: 454-0011 Nagoya, Nakagawa-ku, 4-5-10 Sanno
tel: 052-322-1171
ISBN: 978-4-9907320-0-4  C0092
price: 1,500 yen
pages: 82 color & B/W
release date: 2013/10/1

  When I visited your lovely Akita Prefecture at year’s end, I remember hearing about the red-faced namahage who sweep down from the mountains into the villages on the Oga Peninsula. Here’s another haiku from Haiku Diary HAZY MOON:

Red ogre
wails from the kid’s book
winter night

Kindest of regards, keep warm,

David McMurray

マクマレイ・デビッド  David McMurray
        Int’l Committee Chair

サンタローザワインとの関係 Wine

俳句ですね            Most recent publications

著者                  The author


As Professor David McMurray mentioned in his e-mail above, we had first snowfall at the middle of November here in Akita.

Here are a photo of the sight of snow left and a haiku I wrote about it.




First snow –

persimmons baptized

deepening color




Lastly, let me refer to ‘Namahage’, which was introduced in the e-mail above from Professor David McMurray.


Here is a photo of Namahage, taken by me a few years ago.




And here is a haiku about Namahage by me.


Namahage –

Ogre inviting guests to

the Oga Peninsula




We sincerely hope that we will enjoy writing haiku, sharing it with each other


― Hidenori Hiruta



  Yesterday, to my great delight, I received such a nice e-mail from Professor David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima(鹿児島国際大学)as follows.


Dear Hidenori Hiruta Sensei,

I hope your many readers around the world enjoy this first of 3 issues in November dedicated to haiku about wines.


The sketch includes wines in assorted bottles, is that a Manischewitz label? Entre deux mers? Or something Californian? Yamanashi wine is fine, but I think grapes do not grow in Akita.

There are many Russian writers contributing to the page, thanks to your great efforts with the Akita Japan Russia contest.

You and readers of your fine HP in Akita should be able to readily open the page with your computer today.


David McMurray

マクマレイ・デビッド  David McMurray
        Int’l Committee Chair


俳句ですね            Most recent publications

著者                  The author


By the way, we had haiku seminar at the library of Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia, on October 12, 2013.

Here is an e-mail from Japan Center in Vladivostok, saying that they posted information about the haiku seminar on their homepage.


Dear Senseis, thank you very much for visiting Vladivostok with Haiku seminar.


I have posted information about it and what was held in Moscow on 5 October (6th International Haiku Contest), below it we posted Williams-sensei’s report for those who planned to come but couldn’t, many thanks to Mark-sensei for permission to post it.

Thank you very much and see you again.

Sincerely yours,



Here is another report by Mr. Tadayuki Koizumi(小泉忠之支局長), Bureau Chief Correspondent at KYODO NEWS VLADIVOSTOK BUREAU(共同通信社ウラジオストク支局), which appeared in The Akita Sakigake Shimpo(秋田さきがけ)on October 13, 2013.

  秋田魁(ウラジオストク・俳句講演会) 002


After the haiku seminar was over, we presented a thank-you token to some audience, who eagerly submitted haiku to The Second Japan-Russia Haiku Contest.

Here is a photo of them.




  Lastly, we sincerely hope that we will enjoy writing haiku, sharing it with each other


― Hidenori Hiruta



  On May 30, 2013, Professor David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima(鹿児島国際大学)kindly sent an e-mail to me as follows.

Dear Haiku Colleague Mr. Hidenori Hiruta,

Please give my very best regards to readers of your website, and members of the Akita International Haiku Association. I trust they will be deeply moved by this following haiku that is set to be published:

rising in misty rain
Hottai falls
—–by Hidenori Hiruta in Asahi Haikuist

I am delighted to report that your haiku will be featured along with intriguing poems from Russian haikuists in the Friday May 31 issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network.


Please refer to the recent Asahi columns here http://ajw.asahi.com/search/?q=haikuists

Your haiku focussing on the sounds emanating from the waterfall will endear your readers to your travels in the countryside. The sound of rain is the sense poets seem attracted to, more so than the sight, the taste, or the texture of rain on the skin.

rising in misty rain
Hottai falls

Before he captures sight of it in his camera viewfinder, Hidenori Hiruta hears the sound of a waterfall surging from the foot of Mount Chokai in Akita Prefecture.

Writing from Moscow, Natalia Kuznetsova quickens her pace to avoid the rain, while Russian haikuist Evgeny Ivanov seems to take it for granted he’ll be soaked.

Thunderstorm in town–
a bright stream of umbrellas
rushing to shelter
* * *

Rain in the park
dog under the bench
is quite wet
* * *

Along with the increasing number of Russian poets taking an interest in penning haiku, I am delighted to hear from Mr. Hidenori Hiruta, who reports that the Akita International Haiku Association is running an exciting Japan-Russian Haiku Contest. Supported by The Asahi Shimbun, readers are invited to enter the contest before June 30 by sending an English haiku along with the haikuist’s name, postal address, email, nationality, age, and profession in an e-mail to shhiruta@nifty.com.

The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear June 7 and 21. We’ll keep in touch with you about the Russia-Japan contest organized by Hidenori Hiruta. When winners are announced, we hope you are among them.  Readers are invited to send haiku about rain on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or e-mail to (mcmurray@fka.att.ne.jp).

Kindest of regards to you in the great North,

David McMurray


Last of all, let me present the following photo, one of my favorite photos to you.

This is a photo of Hottai Falls(法体の滝)taken on a fine spring day a few years ago.




The next posting ‘Haiku by Stjepan Rozic in Croatia(4) ’ appears on June 8.


― Hidenori Hiruta



On May 17, one of my haiku mentors, Professor David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, sent me an e-mail about Japan-EU English Haiku Contest, suggesting to me that we should send haiku to the contest.

I hope that haikuists as well as my haikuist friends will never fail to submit haiku according to the applicant forms before May 23.


Firstly, let me post the e-mail here.


Dear Mr. Hidenori Hiruta My good Haikuist friend,

Thank you for your intriguing haiku for the Asahi Haikuist Network. I think you are busy assisting people hurt by the earthquake. When you have time and update your fine website for haikuists, Please let your haiku friends know that The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the European Union are calling on haikuists to write about the bonds of friendship. Prizes include trips to Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture and Brussels.

See www.facebook.com/haikucontest for more details and the application forms. There is no fee. I am one of the judges. You write such fine haiku, please try to win the trip to come to Japan.

Haiku about friendship can be read on the Asahi Haikuist Network at www.asahi.com/english/haiku

The next issues of Asahi Haikuist appear June 3 and 17. Readers are invited to send haiku about rain on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima 891-0197, Japan, or by e-mail to (mcmurray@fka.att.ne.jp).


Secondly, let me tell you about the contest in Japanese version.


~最優秀賞受賞者を 1)ファン=ロンパイ欧州理事会議長の出身国であるベルギー,若しくは 2)近代俳句の地,松山市道後温泉にご招待~













テーマ:絆 (Kizuna)









表彰: 最優秀賞を日EU双方の応募者から一句ずつ選出し,日EU定期首脳協議共同記者会見の場において発表するとともに,副賞として,EUからの応募者1名を近代俳句発祥の地である愛媛県道後温泉に招待市,また,日本からの応募者1名をファン=ロンパイ欧州理事会議長の出身国であるベルギーに招待します。



外務省欧州局政策課 日EU英語俳句コンテスト担当(haikucontest-qa@mofa.go.jp)。


Lastly, we sincerely hope that you will have a chance to visit Matsuyama or Brussels.

We wish you success.


Hidenori Hiruta


Basho’s hydrangea



紫陽花 (ajisai), hydrangea, is the deciduous shrub up to five feet high with ball-shaped clusters of bluish flowers in June and July. It has become a common ornamental throughout the world.

  In Japan both 額紫陽花(gaku ajisai), H. macrophylla and 沢紫陽花(sawa ajisai), H. serrata in particular have been cultivated for so many centuries that they have become part of the culture. 


AIUハイク・紫陽花スロープ(21) 030


References to 紫陽花 (ajisai) can be found in 万葉集 (the Manyoshu), an 8th century anthology of poetry, and 紅額紫陽花(beni gaku ajisai) is identifiable in an ikebana flower arranging document from 室町時代 (the Muromachi period) (1333-1568).

However, during this period under the rule of the Samurai 紫陽花 (ajisai) became unpopular, because its changeable flowers were looked upon as a symbol of moral infidelity, while あやめ.(ayame), ‘sweet flag’, or ‘calami’, was very popular because it was regarded as a symbol of the Samurai’s bravery because of its sharp sword-like leaves.

  As a result, in the former part of 江戸時代 (the Edo period)(1600-1868), few haiku poets took up 紫陽花 (ajisai) in their haiku.

 Matsuo Basho(1644-1694) wrote only two haiku in which 紫陽花 (ajisai) was taken up.

He wrote one of them at 深川(Fukagawa) in 1694:



ajisai ya  yabu wo koniwa no  betsu zashiki


in grove, being little garden,

the detached room


Basho was invited to a farewell linked verse party for him before he returned to his hometown of 伊賀上野(Iga Ueno) before he left for his last journey. His host and disciple 子珊(Shisan) held this party at the detached room of his house, where a thicket with hydrangea was used as a rustic garden for the hut.

Basho offered this verse above mentioned as 発句(hokku), an opening and greeting poem, for his host when asked about the style of 軽み(karumi), lightness.

  The other haiku of Basho’s is this, but nobody knows when it was written.:



ajisai ya  katabira doki no  usu asagi


light blue

in hemp kimono


 帷子(katabira) in this haiku is a hemp kimono for summer wear, whose color is pale blue like that of hydrangea.


AIUハイク・紫陽花スロープ(21) 023


 In the latter part of 江戸時代 (the Edo period)(1600-1868), the popularity of hydrangea gradually revived, and they were planted in the gardens of the temples that use 甘茶 (ama cha) ,hydrangea tea, to celebrate the birthday of Buddha on April 8th.

During the ceremony a small statue of the Buddha is anointed with sweet-tasting甘茶(ama-cha) ,hydrangea tea, to celebrate the sweet rain that fell on the day that the Buddha was born.


AIUハイク・紫陽花スロープ(21) 044


Now 紫陽花 (ajisai) has become such a common ornamental in gardens or parks as well as in temple gardens or yards. In addition, in literary works of Japanese short poetry it has also come to be taken up as one of the most popular flowers in Japan.

  In July, 2004, my haiku appeared in the Asahi Haikuist Network by David McMurray, who has been teaching me how to compose haiku through “Haiku in English” , “International Haiku Correspondence with David McMurray” by the Asahi Culture Center.


bloom and Buddha

calm in the rain


David McMurray noted in his column as follows:

Green and the color blue, whose hue is that of the clear sky, shade most of the haiku submitted during this cloudy season of monsoon rains. Green is a pleasantly alluring color that poets use to symbolize growth. And even more artistically, some poets blend the blues of fireflies and hydrangea with the blues of melancholy. Fireflies evoke feelings of loneliness while the image of hydrangea in the rain is a symbol of sadness.

  Another haiku of mine appeared in that column.

Misty rain

in a field of life

fireflies glow


                                                                                      Hidenori Hiruta


In May, I took a stroll in the woods in Akita.  There I heard bush warblers singing in fresh green and I saw skunk cabbages growing in the marsh.


Skunk cabbages


I felt as if I were in a natural temple, suddenly created in the woods, because it seemed as if there were bush warblers chanting sutra in the matins area, with skunk cabbages practising zazen meditation.


This strange natural sight made me hit upon the following haiku:



Uguisu no midori no kyo ni mizubasho

Bush warblers

chanting in verdure

skunk cabbages sit


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