Selected haiku

Haiku translations: a collaboration between Emiko Miyashita, Claudia Brefeld and Eva Moering

"Here the idea and background of this project can be found.


Selection and commentary by KUROKAWA Etsuko,
HIA Director


hadakagi to / nareba hora ari / kobu mo ari

when the tree grows bare –
holes appear
knots appear

杉山やよひ (群馬) SUGIYAMA Yayoi

It's a lonely winter landscape when all the leaves have fallen and only the trunk and branches of a tree remain. However, this tree here must be a worthy great tree. As a bare tree, its holes and knots are now visible. The artist's keen eye for detail brings out the tree's true form. It also shows the heart of the author looking through the tree at humanity.


orinpikku / taifū mittsu / tōri sugu

Olympic games
three typhoons

松井貴子(横浜) MATSUI Takako

The Tokyo 2022 Olympics can hardly be described as smooth. Written with a light hand, this haiku has a clear intent, and the word for the season, "three typhoons," fits well. The narration without emotional words makes this haiku easy to understand.

ニセの頂上 / カラスは雪庇を / 周回する

nise no itadaki / karasu wa yukibisashi o / shūkaisuru

false summit
a raven circles
cornice snow

false peak
a raven circling about
the snow-covered Sims

ガーディナー、ティム (イギリス) GARDINER, Tim (UK)

In mythology, both in Japan and in the West, the raven is the messenger of God. Nowadays it's often thought of as a black, scary bird, but in England ravens are carefully raised in the Tower of London, so things might be a little different. The author worries about the raven circling around the top of the cornice, which can easily collapse. The author's gentle gaze on the crows can be felt in the expression describing the danger of "false peak" and "cornice snow".


hikawamaru ni / fuyukamome mure / akito no ki

Winter gulls crowd
on the Hikawa-maru*
Memorial Day of Akito

髙橋紀美子 (神奈川) TAKAHASHI Kimiko

* Japanese passenger liner

The Hikawamaru is a large Japanese cargo ship that entered service in 1930 en route to Seattle. It was later converted into a hospital ship or a pleasure boat and is now moored in Yamashita Park. The author may have built the ship to commemorate the death of Dr. Akito Arima visited. The seagulls that flock to the Hikawamaru in winter seem to long for Akito Sensei - and so does the author.


kitsutsuki wa / “unmei” no jo o / kurikaeshi 

a woodpecker drums
the beginning of "fate"*
again and again

清水京子(名古屋) SHIMIZU Kyoko

*Beethoven's Fifth

The word "fate" is reminiscent of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the "Symphony of Fate". The author heard the drumming of a woodpecker and recognized it as the famous beginning of the symphony. We all agree with the author. The motif at the beginning of the “Symphony of Destiny” is played repeatedly, and it is interesting that the drumming of the woodpecker is also repeated.


And here are five more haiku - selected by Emiko Miyashita


teishi shite / sorezore jibun no kidō e / mizukurage

driving away
each on their own path
moon jellyfish

マックミラー、パトリシア(米国) MACHIMILLER, Patricia J. (USA)


noibara no / mi no kurokushite / yama nemuru

Black in colour
Japanese rose fruits –
the mountain is sleeping

安富明路 (北海道) YASUTOMI Akiji


sukebō no / katankatan to / iwashigumo

A skateboard
makes noises, click-clack –
mackerel heaven

三好万記子(東京) MIYOSHI Makiko


fuyuhi sasu / nichibudenju no / onrain

Winter Sunlight –
One hour of Japanese dance *

清水暁子(北海道) SHIMIZU Akiko



atsukan ya / taku ni mangan / goshuinchō

Hot sake and my book
full of red stamps* from the pilgrimage
auf dem Tisch

小上栄女 (和歌山) OGAMI Shigejo

* red stamp (shuin) collected from pilgrimages to shrines and temples

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