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.

Sincerely,

Adjei

 

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
Adjei

 

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

 

Biography:

 

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.
Sincerely,
Adjei Agyei-Baah

 
Foreword by Hidenori Hiruta

 

FOREWORD

 

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

 

AFRIKU FINALLY PUBLISHED

 

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.

Sincerely,

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.
#AFRIKU
#AFRICANHAIKU
#BAOBAB
#AFRIKUCOVERCONCEPT

 

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

or 

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.

Sincerely,

 

Adjei

 

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

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The Results of 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest 2016

 

The Akita International Haiku Network is willing to announce the results of the 5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest in 2016.

Here are prize-winning haiku and haiku of HONORABLE MENTIONS in the contest.

 

日本語部門 (Japanese Section)(332句)

 

332 haiku were submitted from 5 countries: Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Taiwan, and USA.

 

お題 「山、海、湖、川、ただし、雑詠も可」 (The theme : “mountain, sea, lake, river, or anything ”) 

 

選者 (Judges) 

武藤鉦二、舘岡誠二、島松柏、工藤一紘、五十嵐義知、内村恭子、矢野玲奈      

 

 

秋田県知事賞 (AKITA PREFECTURE GOVERNOR’S AWARD)

 

被爆者を抱き寄せており風薫る    染川 清美(大阪府八尾市)

 

Hugging a survivor

of the atomic bombing 

cool light breeze in early summer

 

 

秋田商工会議所会頭賞

 (AKITA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY PRESIDENT’S AWARD)

 

蒼天の利尻の富士や夏兆す      穂苅 稔(長野県)

 

Mount Rishirifuji

in the blue sky

showing signs in summer

 

 

JAL財団賞  ( JAL FOUNDATION AWARD)

 

ボルシチの器の底のクリスマス    猪山 舞勇(埼玉県立所沢高等学校)

 

Christmas

at the bottom of the bowl

of borsch

 

 

入選 (Honorable Mentions)

 

海難の碑誌は露国語水仙花      土谷 敏雄(秋田県)

 

The epitaph of the marine accident

written in Russian

daffodils in bloom

 

 

鰤釣つて大海原を裏返す       和田 仁(秋田県)

 

Yellowtail fished

as if it turned over

a vast expanse of sea

 

 

うらおもて無きふるさとの青谺    森田 千技子(秋田県)

 

Green tree spirit

in my hometown –

the same on both sides

 

 

水面切る石の速さや脂照       山野 拓郎(東京都)

 

How fast a stone goes

bouncing off the water surface –

sweltering weather

 

 

春の海だけにヒミツをうちあける   半田 信和(福井県)

 

Only to the spring sea  I confide my secret

 

 

男四人星と語らう夏の山        沖崎 匠(長野県松本県ケ丘高等学校)

 

The mountain in summer –

four men enjoy talking

with stars

 

 

うつぶせの身に鳴り響く夏の音  菊地 瑛貴(ノースアジア大学 明桜高等学校)

 

Sound of summer

resounding around the body

of lying on my face

 

 

キリル文字覚え切れない青田風      丸山 泰平(埼玉県立所沢高等学校)

 

Cyrillic alphabet

difficult to remember –

wind in the green paddy field

 

 

シベリアのすずらん揺れる祖父の夢   中澤 真理恵(埼玉県立所沢高等学校)

 

Lilies of the valley

wave in Siberia –

my grandfather’s dream

 

 

末っ子のマトリョーシカに小鳥来る  樺沢 実咲(埼玉県立所沢高等学校)

 

To the youngest matryoshka comes a bird

 

(Translated by Hidenori Hiruta)

 

Russian Section(670句)

 

670 haiku were sent for the Russian haiku section.

670 haiku were submitted from 18 countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,

Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova,

Poland, Russia, UK, Ukraine, USA and Uzbekistan.

 

Judge: Alexander Dolin 

 

ロシア語部門 (Russian Section)(670句)

 

 

HAIKU  (HAIKUISTS)(519句)

 

 

秋田市長賞(Akita City Mayor’s Award)

 

Пряный запах тайги…                         

И блуждает светляк одинокий        

в тумане полночном.   

 

The fragrance of taiga woods…

A lonely firefly wandering

In the midnight fog.

 

Екатерина Андреева (Russia)

 

 

秋田商工会議所会頭賞

 (Akita Chamber Of Commerce And Industry President’s Award)

 

Горы,                             

Скрывшиеся за облаками –       

Всё те же горы.                  

 

Mountains

Hidden by the clouds –

Still the same mountains.

 

Анна Железнякова (Russia)

 

 

入選 (Honorable Mentions)

 

Горизонт размыт.                                         

Сквозь осеннюю морось                            

Алеет парус.                                                     

 

Horizon is blurred.

Through the autumn rain

A red sail in the distance.

 

Татьяна  Рушинская  (Russia)

 

 

Жарко на пруду.                            

Лягушки загорают                          

на листьях лилий.                            

 

The summer heat –

Frogs in the pond are taking sunbath

On the lily leaves.

 

Светлана Перцович (Russia)

 

 

Поглажу камень.                         

Не холодно, Хатико?                  

Все веришь, все ждешь?          

 

I stroke the stone.

Aren:t you cold, Hachiko?

Are you still waiting’

 

Павел  Калинин  (Russia)

 

 

Белые мухи                                                    

Кружатся над озером.                              

Зимы начало.                                                  

 

White flies

Swarming over the lake.

The beginning of winter.

 

Виктория Пилипчук (Russia)

 

 

С облаком вровень                                        

Плыву над вершинами.                               

Горы в тумане.                                            

 

With a cloud

I float over the peaks.

Mountains  covered by fog.

 

Елена Клепикова (Kazakhstan)

 

 

Штиль на озере                           

Только облака в небе                  

Продолжают бег                           

 

The lake is still

Only the clouds in the sky

Keep on drifting

 

Ирина Рашева-Кузьмина (Russia)

 

 

 

Солнце над морем.                    

Волны бьются о скалы.               

Холст всё ещё пуст.                     

 

The sun over the sea.

Waves are crashing against the rocks.

The canvass is still intact.

 

Леонид Светик (Belarus)

 

 

Утренний туман.                          

Удар весла о воду                            

В вязкой тишине.                         

 

The morning mist.

An oar taps the water 

In the sticky silence.

 

Александр Галкин (Russia)

 

 

двух кузнечиков                           

неспешный разговор                    

глушит шум ручья                          

 

A lazy dialogue

of two grasshoppers

jammed by the murmur of the brook

 

Eugenia Yegorova (Ukraine)

 

 

Блики света                                            

Плоды оливы на мостовой                

Иерусалим                                              

 

The sun bleaks

Olives falling on the road

Jerusalem

 

Владимир Кунцман (Israel)

 

 

В город влетает                             

С залива ветер морской             

С запахом рыбы.                          

 

From the bay it blows

The sea breeze in the town

Bringing the smell of fish

 

Светлана Стругацкая (Russia)

 

 

Лодка у реки.                            

Скорбят старые весла.              

Ушел хозяин.                             

 

A boat on the river bank.

The old oars are so sad –

Their master has left…

 

Олег Веретенников  (Russia)

 

 

жёлтые листья .                                           

облака над вершинами,                          

плывут и дрожат.                                         

 

Yellow leaves.

clouds over the peaks

float trembling.

 

Евгений Кульба (Russia)

 

 

Темно и холодно.                                                   

Голые ветки в окно скребутся.                            

Осенний вечер                                                          

 

It is dark and cold.

Naked branches scratch the window.

An evening in autumn. 

 

Наиля Сулейманова (Russia)

 

 

Речной туман                                                        

другого берега не видно                                    

А, может, его нет.                                      

 

The river fog.

The other bank stays invisible.

Maybe there is no other bank.

 

Ольга Арматынская (Russia)

 

 

Ночью на реке                                    

Затронул веслом воду                    

И сдвинул луну                                

 

On the river at night

tapping the water with an oar

I disturbed the moon

 

Антон Рундквист (Russia)

 

 

Лишь голос птицы                             

И дыханье пса –                            

Крутая тропка                                        

 

Just the voice of a bird

and the dog’s hard breathing –

a steep track

 

Инна Хмель (Russia) 

 

 

Близится вечер.                                               

Как подвенечный наряд                  

Туман над рекой.                                      

 

Evening is coming.

The white fog over the river

 Like a bridal dress.

 

Ирина Трофимова (Russia)

 

 

Руку протянул                                   

К солнцу в зеркале воды,              

Волна накрыла.                                 

 

The hand stretched

To the sun in the mirror of water

Is caught by the wave. 

 

Анастасия Чехонадских (Russia)

 

 

Море спокойно.                     

Тихо танцуют                        

Рыбы в солёной воде.       

 

The sea is still.

So quietly they dance –

Fish in the salty water.

 

Анастасия Губанова (Russia)

 

 

HAIKU   ( STUDENTS)(151句)

 

 

JAL財団賞  ( JAL FOUNDATION AWARD)

 

В глазах её, раскинулось

Синее море…       

Девочка на берегу. 

 

The blue sea

Gleaming in her eyes –

A girl on the beach.

 

Алина Степаненко(Russia)

 

 

入選 (Honorable Mentions)

 

 

Холодная земля.            

Осторожно спускается с гор 

Осенний туман. 

 

Cold ground.

Cautiously comes down from the mountains

This autumn fog.

 

Виктория  Бродерзон  (Russia)

 

 

Весенние ручьи         

Омыли склоны гор

Безбрежно море  

 

The spring brooks

Wash the slopes of the mountains

The sea is boundless

 

Олеся Чистякова(Ukraine)

 

 

Горные вершины   

В белых снежных шалях   

Смотрят в небеса.   

 

Mountain peaks

In their white shawls 

Look up at the sky.

 

Валерия Жидкова (Russia)

 

 

Горное озеро 

Неба слезой застыло  

Среди вершин    

 

A mountain lake

Stays like a tear of heaven

Among the peaks

 

Валерия Софронова  (Russia)

 

 

Зелёные листья.          

А в один прекрасный день –  

Запах цветов. 

 

Green leaves.

And one day suddenly –

The fragrance of flowers.

 

Роман Киркоров  (Russia)

 

 

Смотрю в окно –        

Ласточка строит гнездо.   

Весна!  

 

I watch how outside the window  

A swallow is building its nest.

It’s spring!

 

Савва Елин  (Russia)

 

 

Раннее солнце  

Осветило снежный туман  

На вершине горы.   

 

The early sun

Shining through the snow fog

On the mountain top.

 

Даниил  Стаматов  (Russia) 

 

 

Лодка в воде,    

Как размытое облако –    

Плывет в горизонт.    

 

A boat on the water

Like a blurred cloud

Drifting to the horizon.

 

Дарья Телеш  (Russia)

 

 

Пожелтелый лист на воде.    

В глади зеркальной рачки эпишура резвятся – 

Благодатный Байкал.  

 

A yellow leaf in the water.

Tiny lake crabs swarming around

In the lofty Baikal.

 

Светлана  Гичко  (Russia)

 

 

Горное озеро, 

Как девичья шея охвачено

Ожерельем талого снега.

 

A mountain lake,

Like a  girl’s neck encircled

With a necklace of melting snow.

 

Валерия Овсянникова (Russia)

 

 

Ракушки в море.  

Жаль, что не видят пейзаж! 

Садится солнце.   

 

Shells in the sea –

It’s a pity they don’t see the landscape.

The sun is setting.    

 

Елизавета Безушко (Ukraine)

 

 

Тихий шум волны.   

Две одиноких скалы 

встречают рассвет…    

 

A quiet sound of waves.

Two lonely rocks

Are meeting dawn…

 

Владислава Симонова (Ukraine)

 

 

Река спокойна,   

Щепка плывет не спеша 

В шумное море.              

 

The river is quiet. 

A sliver floats slowly

Towards the stormy sea.

 

Глеб  Трухин  (Russia)

 

 

Играет  волна  

у моих ног, как щенок…   

Река  Самарка!  

 

A wave is playing

At my feet like a puppy…

Samarka river!

 

Софья Алаторцева (Russia)

 

 

Копьём вонзает   

Ветер потускневший лист. 

Круги на воде. 

 

Driven by the wind

A faded leaf hits like a spearhead.

Circles on the water.

 

Елизавета  Артамонова (Russia)

 

 

Взгляд в чашку чая:   

Пенятся волны в заре,       

Веет морской бриз. 

 

Looking inside a tea cup:

Ripples running at dawn,

The sea breeze blows.

 

Виктория Титова (Russia)

 

 

Под снегом гора

Видит десятый сон свой

Белая кошка  

 

A mountain under snow

A white cat watching

Its long-long dream…

 

Анастасия Вергунова (Russia)

 

 

Ночная прохлада   

Спустившись с горы 

Ушла на заре 

 

The night coolness

That has come down from the hill

left my home at dawn

 

Полина Новикова (Russia)

 

 

Камень голыш спит

Убаюканный морем  

Ему снятся скалы  

 

A pebble sleeps

Lulled by the sea

Seeing rocks in a dream

 

Екатерина Дементьева (Ukraine)

 

 

Каракуль.

Черное озеро

Забыло тени своего леса-

Грустит болотце.

 

Karakul –

The Black Lake

Forgot the shadows of the wood*

A sad swamp/

 

*The woods around Karakul lake were cut in the XX c.

 

Лия Мурашкинцева (Russia)

 

 

Белым золотом 

Окружили нас ели —  

невесты зимы.

 

We are all in white gold –

Surrounded by the fur trees,

The winter brides.

 

Яков Марков (Russia)

 

(Translated by Alexander Dolin)

 

 

 

英語部門 (English Section)(382句)

 

Judges: David McMurray , Satoru Kanematsu, Ben Grafstrom, and Hidenori Hiruta 

 

HAIKU   (HAIKUISTS)(227句)

 

COMMENTS

 

Haiku contest judges Hidenori Hiruta, Satoru Kanematsu, Ben Grafstrom, and David McMurray separately reviewed a splendid and diverse assortment of 382 haiku submissions from haikuists in these 51 countries: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, UK, USA, and Vietnam.

 

At first stymied by their eclectic tastes in poetry, after careful consideration two haiku were finally evaluated as the winners of these coveted awards.

 

The Akita International University President’s Award was selected because readers are sure to enjoy the poetics employed by the gifted writer. Admirers of this winning poem are encouraged to read it aloud and to listen for the rustling sounds of the dry leaves that resonate in the words homelessness and leaves of the onomatopoeia poem.

 

The Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President’s Award winner was clearly able to bridge the distances of the heart and the need for migrants to work.

 

In addition 20 haiku are honorably mentioned by the judging committee because they superbly represent the diversity and the creativity of the international contestants. All haikuists are congratulated for their efforts to share stories and sketches from a variety of homelands. The judging committee of the haiku composed in English for the 5th Japan Russian Haiku Contest recommends the following entries penned by top haikuists.

 

 

AKITA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT’S AWARD

 

after the storm

the homelessness

of fallen leaves

 

TURKSON ADU DARKWA (Ghana)

 

 

AKITA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY PRESIDENT’S AWARD

 

water at my feet

stretches to a distant shore

seeking my homeland

 

Andrea Newell (USA)

 

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS (20)

 

monsoon drizzle

the umbrella pulls

the bicyclist

 

Ramesh Anand (India)

 

 

after the tsunami

the ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’

upside down

 

Angelee Deodhar  (India)

 

 

Wetlands canoeing―

Heron leaves his hiding place

With a piercing cry

 

Priscilla Lignori (USA)

 

 

Flying two hours

still over summer desert

borders unknown

 

Kiyoshi  Fukuzawa  (Japan)

 

 

A cockatoo calls

The scent of frangipani

Infuses the air

 

David Nunn (UK)

 

 

total solar eclipse

hindu priests hurry to exit

the dimmed temple

 

CHUNG HOO TIONG (Malaysia)

 

 

noodle shop lantern

joining the conversation

summer moths

 

RAJ BOSE (USA)

 

 

morning training

on the path by the river

racing with his shadow

 

Marija  Pogorilic  (Croatia)

 

 

the road to the shrine

a concrete jigsaw puzzle

of devastation

 

Barbara Ann Taylor (Australia)

 

 

a ruined brick wall –

what would the April grass know

more than its shadow?

 

Liliana Negoi (Romania)

 

 

rice planting

in the muddy water

children grow

 

Ian Willey (USA)

 

 

a child runs

to be run after–

shooting star

 

JIRO OBA (Japan)

 

 

mountain lake–

the minnow bucket

fills with stars

 

Kevin Valentine  (USA)

 

 

ancient lake-

across the smooth surface,

a cuckoo’s cry

 

Milan Dragovic (Serbia)

 

 

refugee convoy

the river continues

its journey

 

Cezar-Florin Ciobica (Romania)

 

volcano view -

our evening shadows

merging

 

Angelica Seithe (Germany)

 

 

harmattan moon

a leafless tree leans on

its shadow

 

Celestine Nudanu (Ghana)

 

 

the Vitosha moraines

how high can we get

hand in hand?

 

Vessislava Savova (Bulgaria)

 

 

flowering quince―

a crow shakes off

flurries of snow

 

Precious Oboh (Nigeria)

 

 

shifting light of winter sun the withered reeds

 

Jenny Fraser (New Zealand)

 

 

The haiku listed above are deserving of recognition in the 5th Japan – Russia Haiku Contest organized in Akita.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

David McMurray

Professor

The International University of Kagoshima

 

 

HAIKU ( STUDENTS)(155句)

 

COMMENTS

 

Haiku contest judges Hidenori Hiruta, Satoru Kanematsu, Ben Grafstrom, and David McMurray separately evaluated a splendid and diverse assortment of 155 haiku submissions from students.

 

At first stymied by their eclectic taste in poetry, after careful consideration one haiku was finally evaluated as the winner of the JAL Foundation Award. The alluringly colored haiku is delightfully accompanied by a hint of humor. All eyes are on the pushing, posturing people. Or might it be the frenzied school fish who are posing for a memorable photograph?

 

In addition 20 haiku were selected as excellent representatives of the hard work, determination and creativity of the contestants. All students are congratulated for their efforts. The judging committee of the haiku composed in English for the 5th Japan Russian Haiku Contest recommends the following entries penned by students.

 

 

TOP PRIZE: the JAL Foundation Award

 

Deep turquoise water

Fish gathering all around

Posing for pictures

 

Stefanie Berrier  (Akita International University, Japan)

 

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS (20)

 

 

The school year begins

Spring wind pushes me forward

Starting a new life

 

Miki Munakata  (Akita University, Japan)

 

 

A row of old trees

They show the way of the wind

The sound of leaves

 

Niklas Holzapfel (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

 

 

Gentle rain

sweet birdsong fills the

dewy meadows

 

Sharma Diksha

(Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi, India) 

 

 

Summer festival

playing electric guitar

there, the world’s on fire

 

Seiya TOGAWA

(The International University of Kagoshima, Japan)

 

 

sunny savanna

the lion starts to yawn

then roars

 

MERCY IKURI

(Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultural and Technology, Kenya)

 

 

Talking to each other

two colored ice creams -

afternoon heat

 

Kouta  Moriyama

(The International University of Kagoshima, Japan)

 

 

in lake

two people shadow of

time stands still

 

Mirano Kurisu

 (ECC KOKUSAI COLLEGE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES, Japan)

 

 

a falling leaf

the sun claims one more spot

in tree shade

 

Barnabas Ikeoluwa Adeleke

(Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria)

 

 

Volcano

covered in ash, yet

cherry blossoms

 

Koyachi Mao

(The International University of Kagoshima, Japan)

 

 

Great grandma

approaching one-hundred years–

calm longevity

 

Miyuu Kamada

(The International University of Kagoshima, Japan)

 

 

Clear blue sky

thunderhead approaching

cotton candy at the zoo

 

Mitsuki Itoda

(The International University of Kagoshima, Japan)

 

 

High emerald mountain―

right wind blowing through my sleeves

smiling sunflower

 

Yugo Suzuki (Akita University, Japan)

 

 

the rainy season―

icy drops flow on my cheeks

sad that the spring ends

 

Mizuki Aoki  (Akita University, Japan)

 

 

Ah, Spring has arrived

children run in the wind

followed by puppies

 

Atsuko Miyazaki   (Akita University, Japan)

 

 

Sunset on beach –

she considers a

second abortion.

 

Suchona Iffat Jahan (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh) 

 

 

beach siesta

grandfather’s belly

rises and falls

 

Reshma Ramaprasad  (College student, India)

 

 

Stars becloud the sky

powdery snowflakes vanish

in the night ocean

 

Benjamin Bläsi (College student, Switzerland)

 

Shimmering river―

fireflies

dripping starlight

 

Luisa-Evelina Stifii

(Highschool student at Colegiul National de Arta “Octav Bancila” Iasi, Romania)

 

 

Skyline before dawn

my son vacuums the silence

out of my haiku

 

Gasper Trcek  (College student, Slovenia)

 

 

Smiling faces

on the Japanese islands

cherry blossoms bloom

 

Mao Yamamoto  (Akita University, Japan)

 

 

The haiku listed above are deserving of recognition in the 5th Japan – Russia Haiku Contest organized in Akita.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

David McMurray

Professor

The International University of Kagoshima

 

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.

 

国文祭・あきた(1)

 

  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.

 

国文祭・あきた(2)

 

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.

 

国文祭・かごしま(1)

 

国文祭・かごしま(2)

国文祭・かごしま(3)

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.

 

img179

img176

 

  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.

 

いろは歌

 

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

Kainashi

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

かいなし

 

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.

 

鹿児島国文祭(5)

 

鹿児島国文祭(6)

 

By Hidenori Hiruta

 

Results of the 2nd ONLY ONE TREE Haiku Contest

 

2,020 haiku composed in the English language vied for recognition in the ONLY ONE KAGOSHIMA TREE haiku contest supported by the Asahi Shimbun and organized by the International University of Kagoshima. Kindly assisted by Mr. Hidenori Hiruta of the Akita International Haiku Network, in 2015 the Only One Tree contest was possibly the second largest English haiku contest in the world.

 

By comparison, the hotly contested 4th Japan- Russia haiku contest attracted 495 haiku to its English haiku section. The 4th Vladamir Devide contest received 290 entries. The 5th EU-Japan contest garnered 613 entries, and the 2nd Setouchi Matsuyama Photo Contest received 822 entries. The world’s largest English haiku contest, admirably organized and hosted by Itoen Ocha gathers over 10,000 haiku in English.

 

Please refer to a special article about the Only One Tree contest at the Asahi Haikuist Network: 

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/cool_japan/style/AJ201511140010

The colorful 100-page book “Only One Tree haiku music & metaphor” includes a chapter about how haiku contests can be judged and suggests ways to encourage support for the recognition of haiku as an intangible world heritage by the United Nations. Copies can be ordered (1,000 JP yen approx. $10 US plus shipping) by writing to the International University of Kagoshima by email to  ke00@kinokuniya.co.jp or FAX to 81-99-261-0227.

 

WINNERS

 

Donald Bobiash, a Canadian living in Jakarta, Indonesia won the top prize, for:

 

Solitary tree

Stretching up to the blue sky

The past, the future

 

Satoru Kanematsu, a retired teacher living in Nagoya, Aichi won a special prize, for:

 

Last glory

golden in the sun

ginkgo trees

 

Mina Mori a high school student on Amami Island wins a prize, for:

 

Natural air conditioner

Everybody gather

Shade of tree

 

Mina Mori is a student at Oshima High School on Amami Island.

 

Keiko Fujii a haikuist in Kitakyushu was given a certificate for,

 

Live here, still

Memory of you

Cherry tree

 

Patrick Sweeney, an elementary school teacher in Misawa, Aomori was awarded for:

 

In my other life

A pale-green sycamore

Arms wide, shimmering

 

Yuka Itou, a high school student in Kagoshima won a prize for,

 

The leaves trembled

And fell to the road

By the breeze

 

HAIKU THAT WERE HONORABLY MENTIONED AT THE CONFERENCE

 

Fall strolling

in the beech forest

up and down

–Hidenori Hiruta (Akita Prefecture)

 

Pray for world peace!

A bird is singing

In the trees

–Jin Wada (Akita)

 

An ogre-Namahage

Playing with stardust

On a treetop

–Rumiko Wada (Akita)

 

cold night

a star shines on

the thrown Christmas tree

–Alexey Andreev (Moscow, Russia)

 

among yellow maples

a woman strolls

toward the red one

–Alexey Andreev (Moscow, Russia)

 

among paving stones

between the two world wars

grew a weeping willow

–Igor Damnjanovic (Belgrade, Serbia)

 

Stradivarius

a concert

in the woods

–Deb Koen (Rochester, New York)

 

Cherry blossom trees

Scintillating in the dawn…

Hanafubuki

–Keith Simmonds (Rodez, France)

 

yellow whispering

among leaves…

daily spread of disinformation

–Gabriel Rosenstock (Dublin, Ireland)

 

Invisible crow

the lebanon tree utters

a call of three caws

–Alan Summers (Wiltshire, England)

 

Shadows and lights—

in the whispering poplar

the smile of Basho

–Francesco De Sabata (Pescantina, Italy)

 

Interpreting the dew

in the faint light of dawn

bodhi tree

–Ernesto P. Santiago (Athens, Greece)

 

Night sakura

lighten lanes

Kyoto maze

–Murasaki Sagano (Kyoto)

 

Colors glow

Looks tasty as cake

Christmas tree

–Toshifumi Shinmyouzu (Kagoshima)

 

Sunlight through the woods

upon the track

pleasant touch of breeze

–Takizawa, Takayasu (Kagoshima)

 

My son hugs his knees

At the foot of the big tree

As my dad found me.

–Yuji Hayashi (Fukuoka)

 

Camphor tree

Deep blue nuts glisten

Dignity

–Yoriko Tashiro (Kagoshima)

 

A gnarled plum tree

Also waits

Reincarnation

–Dennis Woolbright (Kitakyushu)

 

Big trunk

Aloha dress

Sways in autumn wind

–Yamada Maenohana (Kagoshima)

 

Spring is beautiful

Because I love the scent of wood

I love spring

–Rui Okazaki (Amami)

 

Forest of trees

swung by winds

“Let’s dance!”

–Taki Kawakami (Amami)

 

Like scattered petals

we drift apart

new beginnings

–Yuka Yoshitomi (Miyako, Fukuoka)

 

Cherry blossoms

bring with them

new friends

–Saori Saki (Yukuhashi, Fukuoka)

 

Golden leaves

holy gingko tree

silent shrine

–Doc Sunday (Hiroshima)

 

Lightning

gingko leaves tremble

midnight shrine

–Doc Sunday (Hiroshima)

 

Silent dark branches of pine trees

October night

Before full moon

–Masato Watanabe (Matsuyama)

 

Touched the pine tree branch

and scattered

snow falls

—-Masato Watanabe (Matsuyama)

 

Children jumping up,

Leaves of an old camphor tree,

A high summer sky

–Hiromi Noma (Matsuyama)

 

Why are you drawing

that tree? –Because its branches

go like this! And this!

–Barbara Casterline (Nagoya)

 

White birch forest

Frozen sap expanding in trunks

Cracks echo

–Yuko Hirota (Osaka)

 

Falling and falling

yet still full of blooms

the cherry tree

–Hidehito Yasui (Osaka)

 

Would I rather be a tree?

And live for a thousand years?

May I find myself on another planet

–Junko Saeki (Tokyo)

 

Summer thunderbolt

Child’s wood train starts moving

Accidentally

–Juichi Masuda (Tokyo)

 

Ghastly pine tree…

Left lit after dark

Hangs on cliff

–Jiro Oba (Kawasaki, Kanagawa)

 

Olive tree

By blackbird song

Ghost wakes up

–Junko Yamada (Kamakura, Kanagawa)

 

Trunks of trees

Felt the growth rings

Historical

–Masaru Tsurabara (Yokohama)

 

The woodpecker nails

a hole in one

tree

–Stuart Walker (Sapporo, Hokkaido)

 

The colorful 100-page book “Only One Tree haiku music & metaphor” can be ordered (1,000 JP yen approx. $10 US plus shipping) by writing to  ke00@kinokuniya.co.jp or to FAX 81-99-261-0227.

 

–  Written by David McMurray, edited by Hidenori Hiruta

 

 

 

 

“Akita – the Land of Poetry” vol.7  『詩の国秋田 第7号』 (4)

The yearly pamphlet Akita – the Land of Poetry Vol.7 ,  『詩の国秋田第7号』, features  佳作 ( Fine Works)  in the 4th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest in 2015 .

Here are haiku special on haiku written in English.

English Section(495句)

495 haiku were sent for the English haiku section from 50 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece,  Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia, UK, USA, and Vietnam .

The theme: “lake”, but any theme is OK 

Judges : David McMurray, Satoru Kanematsu, Hidenori Hiruta  

英語語部門  (English Section)

 

佳作(Fine Works)

 

Maria Tomczak  (Poland)

cold gust of wind

goose bumps on my skin

and the lake’s surface

 

Mojgan Soghrati(IRAN)

in the lake

every thing upside down

except the full moon

 

Barbara A, Taylor (Australian)

wobbly pink clouds …

a mallard and her brood drift

between the reeds

 

Ajaya Mahala(India)

cool breeze

the fishy smell of the lake

flavors the moonlight

 

RAJ BOSE(USA)

future uncertain

fishes splashing randomly

all over the lake

 

Danièle Duteil(FRANCE)

calm waters of the lake
a swan contemplates
her reflection

 

Jef Ector(Belgium)

He stares in the lake:

heaven isn’t far away,

just a little jump.

 

Claude-Alice Lagadec(France)

Silent lake, a man

taking his dog and

his sadness for a walk

 

Sneha Sundaram (India)

Melting blue ice..

the Baikal seal snuggles

in my footprints

 

Tina CRENSHAW  (USA)

summer tour boat –

strangers start conversing

as the lake deepens

 

Chen-ou Liu(Canadian)

her goodbye note …

I scoop the moon

from the lake

 

DAVID MCMURRAY(Canadian)

Ancient moon–

light echoes across

Lake Baikal

 

John McDonald(British)

frozen lake  –

they trail moonlight

in their skates

 

Nijolė Kerušauskienė(Lithuania)

sunset over the lake
touching cry of bittern
breaks the silence

 

Payal A Agarwal(India)

summer evening

camp lake seasoned with

pitter-patter splash

 

Dubravko Korbus(Croatia)

lake angling –

a child in me rejoices

in a small fish

 

Dimitrij ŠKRK(Slovenian)

lake in winter

submerged silence of

high mountains

 

佳作・学生部門(Fine Works by Students)

 

Yurika Okuyama  (Akita University)  (Japan)

Fireflies –

Reflected in the lake’s surface,

Another starlit sky.

 

Shota Higuchi  (Akita University)  (Japan)

waves and the reflection

of fireworks

overlapping on the lake

 

FLORIN GRIGORE  (Akita University)  (Romania)

PAINTING WITH LIGHT,

OH, THE FLEETING FIREFLIES –

THEIR CANVAS, BIWA LAKE.

 

Shinpei Uehara  (Akita University)  (Japan)

At Tazawa lake –

The waves on the surface

make me feel cool in summer

 

Hong Ngoc Luu  (Akita University)  (Vietnam)

Lake Tazawako

Serenely sleeps in sunrays.

The sky’s reflection!

 

Akane Arai   (Akita University)  (Japan)

Oh!  In the pond

Vivid flowers bloom

Shining fireworks are reflected

 

Radu Tudosan (Nicolae Titulescu University) (Romania)

back to the old bridge-

nothing’s changed, except

the lake’s reflection

 

Niklas Holzapfel (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main) (Germany)

The cold blue water

has become the bright mirror

of the calm mountains

 

Robin Eriksen (Akita International University) (Norway)

The flapping of wings.
Piercing cries filling the sky
White seagulls everywhere

 

Päivi Vesen (Akita International University)  (Finland)

Midnight sun shining

Even wind stops for the night.

Sheer tranquility.

 

Sakura Kodama (Akita International University) (Japan)

Dim light from the moon

Coming from the dark

The song of the frogs

 

Koya Yamada  (The International University of Kagoshima)  (Japan)

A bird calls –

the voice in the lake

summer fog

 

Misato Tamura  (ECC Kokusai College of Foreign Languages)  (Japan)

clear blue water

several million years

staring at the sky

 

WENTAO MI   (ECC Kokusai College of Foreign Languages)  (China)

The sky, the water –

Which is the sky? Which is the water? –

In my eye, only one line.

 

Anna Chikuyama   (ECC Kokusai College of Foreign Languages)  (Japan)

summer firework makes

colorful reflections

on Lake Biwa

 

Chisato Okubo   (ECC Kokusai College of Foreign Languages)  (Japan)

Cherry blossom petals

fall like snow

on lake

 

By Hidenori Hiruta

 

 

 

 

“Akita – the Land of Poetry “ vol.7  『詩の国秋田 第7号』(3

The yearly pamphlet Akita – the Land of Poetry Vol.7 ,  『詩の国秋田第7号』, features prize-winning haiku, honorably-mentioned haiku, and fine works in the 4th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest in 2015 .

Here are haiku special on haiku written in English.

 

English Section(495句)

495 haiku were sent for the English haiku section from 50 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece,  Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia, UK, USA, and Vietnam .

 

The theme: “lake”, but any theme is OK 

Judges: David McMurray, Satoru Kanematsu, Hidenori Hiruta  

 

英語語部門  (English Section)

 

Akita International University President’s Award

 

Ben Grafström(USA)

 

Full moon in summer—

ripples in the lake reach the shore

kissing our toes

 

Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President’s Award

 

Timothy RUSSELL(USA)

 

night flight

a thousand winter fires

outline the lake

 

David McMurray’s Favorite Haiku

 

Adjei Agyei-Baah(Ghana)

 

lonely

as I canoe by…

moon

 

10 Honorably Mentioned Haiku

 

Marietta McGregor(Australian)

 

a family of teals

breaches the lake ice

receding winter

 

Simon Hanson (Australia)

 

heading home

crossing the lake

the shadows of pines

 

Kala Ramesh(Indian)

 

A barn owl hoots

the stillness of the lake

before dawn

 

Rita Odeh(Palestinian)

 

lake lily—

landing on its shadow,

a honeybee

 

Danièle Duteil(FRANCE) 

 

calm waters of the lake

a swan contemplates

her reflection

 

Ramona Linke (Germany)

 

Lake Baikal—

the scent of smoked omul

is in the air

 

Kanchan Chatterjee(India)

 

Warm breeze…

the ruffled feathers of

a kingfisher

 

Izeta Radetinac  (Serbia)

 

A silvery lake

moonlight, wind and shadows

hockey on the ice

 

Silvia Kempen(German)

 

Painter’s pallet…

The sky sharing its blues

with the mountain lake

 

Tomislav Maretić(Croatia) 

 

through the mist

rising off a mountain lake—

morning birdsong

 

The haiku that made all the judges chuckle:

 

Vesna Stipcic(Croatia)

 

twitching fishing rod

on the lake shore

snoring angler

 

JAL Foundation Award Winning Haiku

 

Kadota Ayaka (The International University of Kagoshima)

 

The beautiful lake–
shines by the moonlight,
petals float on water

 

The winning haikuist is a third-year university student who is enrolled in an international haiku course. She may have been inspired by watching cherry blossoms and reading a lovely poem penned by Matsuo Basho when he visited Kisakata on the west coast of the Tohoku region in 1689: yuubare ya sakura ni suzumu nami no hana.

 

Clearing at evening–
cool under the cherry trees
blossoms on the waves

 

JAL Foundation Award Honorably Mentioned Haiku

 

Nakamura Takuro  (The International University of Kagoshima)

 

Lake frozen
Sounds of sliding
The happy laughter

 

Ikeda Kanami  (The International University of Kagoshima)

 

Fall in lake
with leaves lit by a
setting sun

 

Yamada Ryunosuke  (The International University of Kagoshima)

 

Moon light
The music I heard
Swan Lake

 

ライ・シャオドン (China) (The International University of Kagoshima)

evening
waves come into the cove

one at a time

 

Yamada Koya  (The International University of Kagoshima)

A bird calls–
the voice in the lake
summer fog

 

Seki Manabu  (The International University of Kagoshima)

Around the lake
cranes return from Russia
lively and lovely

 

Kimoto Momoka (Kagoshima Central College of Nursing)

Let’s summer
beautiful large spot
Biwa lake

 

Olivia Doll(Charles W. Stanford Middle School)(USA)

 

Crystalline surface

the colored leaves cause ripples

falling on the lake

 

Mihalache Delia  (Romania)(Akita University)

 

Under the wisteria

a lake is trembling—

the smell of a storm

 

Fujita Takuno  (Akita University)

 

Chasing fishes’ shadows—

I became a breeze,

making waves on the lake.

 

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. 

 

鹿児島(32)

 

 

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

 

蛭田先生、 

 

  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:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.958154244272933.1073741909.467975896624106&type=3

 

 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.

 

鹿児島(36)

 

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.

 

鹿児島(35)

 

 

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

 

鹿児島(34)

 

 

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

 

By Hidenori Hiruta

 

Results of 4th Japan — Russia Haiku Contest  (2)
 

The Judging Committee for Haiku in English –Hidenori Hiruta (Akita Prefecture), Satoru Kanematsu (Aichi Prefecture), and David McMurray (Kagoshima Prefecture) — are pleased to announce the following results of the 4th Japan – Russia Haiku Contest.

In the opinion of the judges, 2014 and 2015 have been very memorable years because of the synergy rising up from Akita Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture, both of which held National Culture Festival haiku conferences which inspired many haikuists from around the world to enter the 3rd and 4th Japan – Russia Haiku Contests. The 2016 National Culture Festival will be held in Aichi Prefecture, and it is hoped another haiku conference might be hosted there.

 

JAL Foundation Award Winning Haiku

 

Kadota Ayaka (The International University of Kagoshima)
The beautiful lake–
shines by the moonlight,
petals float on water

 

The winning haikuist is a third-year university student who is enrolled in an international haiku course. She may have been inspired by watching cherry blossoms and reading a lovely poem penned by Matsuo Basho when he visited Kisakata on the west coast of the Tohoku region in 1689: yuubare ya sakura ni suzumu nami no hana.
Clearing at evening–
cool under the cherry trees
blossoms on the waves

 

Professor Michio Katsumata from Akita International University will take the award certificate and JAL gifts from Akita Prefecture to Kagoshima Prefecture to present them on November 3, 2015 to the winner during his congratulatory speech at the International University of Kagoshima.

 

JAL Foundation Award Honorably Mentioned Haiku

 

Nakamura Takuro  (The International University of Kagoshima)
Lake frozen
Sounds of sliding
The happy laughter

Ikeda Kanami  (The International University of Kagoshima)
Fall in lake
with leaves lit by a
setting sun

 

Yamada Ryunosuke  (The International University of Kagoshima)
Moon light
The music I heard
Swan Lake

 

ライ・シャオドン (China) (The International University of Kagoshima)
evening
waves come into the cove
one at a time

 

Yamada Koya  (The International University of Kagoshima)

 

A bird calls–
the voice in the lake
summer fog

 

Seki Manabu  (The International University of Kagoshima)
Around the lake
cranes return from Russia
lively and lovely

 

Kimoto Momoka (Kagoshima Central College of Nursing)
Let’s summer
beautiful large spot
Biwa lake

 

Olivia Doll (Charles W. Stanford Middle School)(USA)

 

Crystalline surface

the colored leaves cause ripples

falling on the lake

 

Mihalache Delia  (Romania)(Akita University)

 

Under the wisteria

a lake is trembling—

the smell of a storm

 

Fujita Takuno  (Akita University)

 

Chasing fishes’ shadows—

I became a breeze,

making waves on the lake.

 

Hidenori Hiruta (Akita Prefecture), Satoru Kanematsu (Aichi Prefecture), and David McMurray (Kagoshima Prefecture)

 

Results of 4th Japan — Russia Haiku Contest: English Section (1)

 

The Judging Committee for Haiku in English –Hidenori Hiruta (Akita Prefecture), Satoru Kanematsu (Aichi Prefecture), and David McMurray (Kagoshima Prefecture)– is pleased to announce the following results from the 4th Japan – Russia Haiku Contest.

 

Akita International University President’s Award

 

Ben Grafström(USA)

 

Full moon in summer—

ripples in the lake reach the shore

kissing our toes

 

 

Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President’s Award

 

Timothy RUSSELL(USA)

 

night flight

a thousand winter fires

outline the lake

 

 

David McMurray’s Favorite Haiku

 

Adjei Agyei-Baah(Ghana)

 

lonely

as I canoe by…

moon

 

 

10 Honorably Mentioned Haiku

 

Marietta McGregor(Australian)

 

a family of teals

breaches the lake ice

receding winter

 

 

Simon Hanson (Australia)

 

heading home

crossing the lake

the shadows of pines

 

 

Kala Ramesh(Indian)

 

A barn owl hoots

the stillness of the lake

before dawn

 

 

Rita Odeh(Palestinian)

 

lake lily—

landing on its shadow,

a honeybee

 

 

Danièle Duteil(FRANCE) 

 

calm waters of the lake

a swan contemplates

her reflection

 

 

Ramona Linke (Germany)

 

Lake Baikal—

the scent of smoked omul

is in the air

 

 

Kanchan Chatterjee(India)

 

Warm breeze…

the ruffled feathers of

a kingfisher

 

 

Izeta Radetinac  (Serbia)

 

A silvery lake

moonlight, wind and shadows

hockey on the ice

 

 

Silvia Kempen(German)

 

Painter’s pallet…

The sky sharing its blues

with the mountain lake

 

 

Tomislav Maretić(Croatia) 

 

through the mist

rising off a mountain lake—

morning birdsong

 

 

The haiku that made all the judges chuckle:

 

Vesna Stipcic(Croatia)

 

twitching fishing rod

on the lake shore

snoring angler

 

 

The judges congratulate all the haikuists who entered this year’s contest and commend the talents of those who went to a lake –whether it be located in Russia, Japan, or some other special place on Earth– to learn from that lake and actually experience the haiku they composed about.

 

In the opinion of the judges, 2014 and 2015 have been very memorable years because of the synergy rising up from Akita Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture, both of which held National Culture Festival haiku conferences which inspired many haikuists from around the world to enter the 3rd and 4th Japan – Russia Haiku Contests. The 2016 National Culture Festival will be held in Aichi Prefecture, and it is hoped another national haiku conference might be hosted there to support next year’s Japan – Russia Haiku Contest.

 

Postscript

 

DAVID MCMURRAY (Canadian)

 

Ancient moon—

Light echoes across

Lake Baikal

 

 

Hidenori Hiruta (Akita Prefecture), Satoru Kanematsu (Aichi Prefecture), and David McMurray (Kagoshima Prefecture)