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 commenting on
KENZO Nomura, HIA Vice President


bashō mishi chō / matsu ni kotoshi no / shinchijiri

One says basho saw
on the pine this year's
green cones

渡辺通子 WATANABE Michiko

Is it the pine tree of Takekuma in Iwanuma City, Miyagi Prefecture? Also known as Futaki Pine, it is considered the most quoted pine in poetry in Mutsu District. The current pine tree is probably the one that has been planted over the generations, but the scenery must be the same that Basho had seen. The author found a new cone on this famous pine tree. It's like observing Basho's haikai philosophy of “fueki ryūkō” – the jaw doesn't change, but a new cone is born.


yukitsuri no / nawa no gen hiku / kaze no fu kana

Score of the Wind–
tugs at the strings of the rope
hanging in the snow

大高霧海 OHTAKA Mukai

Yukitsuri is known as a tradition of Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. Especially in the snowy land, the pillars support the tree trunks and the branches are hung in all directions to balance the weight of the snow. The graceful cones form a geometric beauty against the deep blue winter sky. When the wind blows it is as if the strings of a large harp are being played and the sound of the harp can be heard from somewhere.



kōdoresu / iyahon potori / yuki fukashi

wireless earphones
fall with a pop
the snow is deep

内村恭子 UCHIMURA Kyoko

It is said that haiku should be based on everyday experience or what one likes. This haiku was also created while listening to the author's favorite music during a usual walk. Recently, wireless earphones that are worn directly on the ear have become very popular and allow people to listen to music casually. While walking down a snowy street, the wireless headphones fell out of her ear, but luckily she was able to pick them up out of the snow.

冬の闇 一日灯る電灯 その他はグレーの中のグレー

fuyuno yami / ichinichi tomoru dentō / sonohoka wa gurē no naka no grē

winter darkness
electrical light all day
else gray in gray

winter darkness
electric light all day
otherwise gray on gray

ハンセン、アナ (デンマーク) HANSEN, Hanne (Denmark)

There is a seasonal word "winter light". It refers to the light during the cold winter weather, not necessarily the light of the coldest season. The lights that accompany dusk in winter, the lights that accompany the city in the early night, and the lights that shine all day in the darkness described in this haiku have a warm feeling coupled with loneliness.
The work becomes attractive through the use of “grey on grey”.


chi ga hatete / umi ga hajimaru / nozuisen

The country ends
and the sea begins —

田中あき子 TANAKA Akiko

The narcissus blooms in the cold season, unlike other flowers, and endures the cold. This creates a clear picture. Wild daffodils growing on the cliffs by the Sea of ​​Japan on the coast of Echizen in Fukui Prefecture are well known. The expression “the earth ends and the sea begins” suggests that the sea is approaching the cliff.


And here are five more haiku - selected by Emiko Miyashita


ishi o kiru / shiroki yamahada / asaki haru

stone breaking
on bare mountain surface —
early spring

相澤正志斎 AIZAWA Seishisai


shabondama / rikashitsu no mado / afuredete

flow over out the window
a science room

高橋紀美子 TAKAHASHI Kimiko


chikabutai / shūshi yakōtēpu no / honoakari

underground stage
autumn melancholy
The faint glow of the luminous band

松井貴子 MATSUI Takako


nanmin no / yukue wa izuko / haru no yuki

where you go
the refugees*?
spring snow

木下さとし KINOSHITA Satoshi

* The Ukrainian refugees are probably meant here


higo* ni kite / shiro mo gairo mo / kusuwakaba

to Higo*
around the castle and on the streets
sprouting camphor trees

小野香久子 ONO Kakuko

* Higo is an ancient name of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu

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Haiku International No. 159 (June 2023)

Selected Haiku translations of Haiku: a collaboration between Emiko Miyashita, Claudia Brefeld and Eva Moering »The idea and background of this project can be found here.

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