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
NAKAMASA Iwaoka, HIA Vice President

I swat midge after midge
with a stick

戦場 / 次々とコバエを / 棒切れでたたく

senjō / tsugitsugi to kobae o / bōkire de tataku

I fight mosquito after mosquito
with a stick

GARDINER, Tim (UK) ガーディナー、ティム (イギリス)

Even today, in the 21st century, the war is still raging. In the beginning, the word "battlefield" is suddenly shouted, followed by the frustration with which the author frantically crushes the little mosquitoes sticking to him. The heat and fear of death in the trenches of a deadlocked war front, the suffocating tension and anger instantly become a haiku, and the roar of the shells and the blast of air seem to come close to the viewer's body. The external tension and the internal fear and anger are immediately captured in this haiku, which exhibits the typical haiku realism. It is a work in which the author rages about the unreasonableness of war and hopes for a return to peaceful everyday life.


keichitsu ya / Zūmu ni narabu / tomo no kao

faces of friends
lined up on zoom

結菜やよひ YUNA Yayohi

*keichitsu = awakening from hibernation, awakening of insects – around March 6th

This is a delightful haiku, a sonorous celebration of life's rebirth. Not only is it witty, however, it displays a great sense of humor that embraces the joy of "keichitsu" (awakening of the insects), a hymn to life. It was a Zoom meeting on the day of "keichitsu" and in the midst of the COVID disaster, the author is surprised and happy when his friends' faces appear on the screen one by one, like insects emerging from the earth. The haiku is a poem about the daily greetings and joys that life brings.

are the waves

山々は / 凍りついた / 波だ

yamayama wa / kōritsuita / nami da

The Atlas mountains
are frozen

ERKHEMBAYAR, S. (Inner Mongolia) エルヘムバヤル (内モンゴル)

The attraction of this work is that the emotion is captured directly and expressed with the greatest possible foreshortening. It is the emotion itself. The intuitive expression "the mountains are frozen waves" is like a revelation of the universe, and the moment the author uttered these words, he became one with the universe. The work reflects the author's overwhelming impression as he was overcome by the divine beauty of the icy mountains rising behind the endless steppes of Inner Mongolia. Also fascinating is the stillness of the mountains, which can still be seen after the author says "waves".


nettaigyo / kaigi heikō-/sen no mama

Tropical Fish –
the session remains
without agreement


宮田勝MIYATA Masaru

The "tropical fish" are cool and colorful, and the "session" is endless. The author managed to combine the two words. The tropical fish have long been silent, but the "parallel", inconclusive session has passed the point of heated discussion and is now tending to remain silent. It's fun to imagine the situation in different ways. The impermanent ending of this sentence, “mama” (remains unresolved), also expresses worried thoughts well.

The baggy jacket
of my passed husband
cozy and warm

亡き夫の / 大きな上着 / 暖かし

naki tsuma no / ōkina uwagi / atatakashi

The baggy jacket
my late husband
cozy and warm

KURODA, Motoko (USA) 黒田素子 (アメリカ)

"Simplicity" is the most important aspect of a haiku. However, “plain” is different from “ordinary”. In haiku, poetic intuition and immediacy are important, and this haiku has both. The author puts on her deceased husband's jacket and immediately feels as if he is hugging him. It is the "warmth" of spring. The rhythm of this haiku is good, the big jacket is visible, and the husband's physical warmth is felt in this work.


And here are five more haiku - selected by Emiko Miyashita


randoseru / kutsu mo pāpuru / ichinensei

Both school bag
as well as shoes are purple...
a first grader

今泉かの子 IMAIZUMI Kanoko


koinobori / tsukete kazekiru / sanrinsha

with a carp flag*
rides the tricycle
against the wind

杉山やよひ SUGIYAMA Yayoi

*Windsock in the shape of a carp, which was used at the boys' festival on May 5.5th. is hoisted


akatonbo / tsurete tsuribashi / watari keri

from a red dragonfly
I cross the suspension bridge

永井弘子 NAGAI Hiroko


suichū no / kaze yawarakashi / kingyo no o

in the gentle wind
the fin of the goldfish

白根順子 SHIRANE Junko


hikidashi no / shinju ni haru no / nami no oto

In the drawer
the sound of pearls
like spring waves

各務恵紅 KAKAMI Keiko

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Haiku and tanka selection

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