Haiku is a Japanese literary genre that is written in verse, using the katakana language. Haiku literally means “folk song” and it was composed during the late medieval period in the seventh and eighth centuries. It was popularized as tanka poetry in Japan during the ninth and tenth centuries. Originally, it was known as basho or hook, and Issa, Shimada, and Katsuhiro were the original three masters of this haiku style.
Haiku usually has very few rules. Most of its meter, rhythm, and structure are derived from Japanese poetry. However, there are three distinct forms of haiku that are used all over the world. Most Japanese poets break down haiku into these three different types. In fact, most of them have discovered the true beauty of Japanese style through the different genres.
The two main forms of haiku are Utsuri and Keikaku. Utsuri, or open verse, consists of seven syllable lyrics. These are usually related to nature, friendship, flowers, food, leaves, etc. Keikaku is the exact opposite of usury in that it consists only of six syllable words. It is mainly used to portray sad events in life. Like sad songs, these poems contain the main keyword in the beginning and the end of every line.
Japanese poetry uses a syllabary that is based on Japanese counting system. Each word is given one to three syllables. Since English does not have any letters for the three syllables, the authors had to come up with words with the same count, which gives the poem its distinct characteristic. There are many haiku examples found in Japanese literature.
One of these famous haiku examples is a quote by Suzuki Kenzaburo. He said, “The best medicine is not medicine for today but tomorrow.” Based on this principle, the poem celebrates the season of spring. In the opening line, the main character says, “In the spring, the sky is blue.” This poem has a simple but lovely message and due to its simplicity, many Japanese people choose this type of poetry to write for the holidays.
Another big example seen all throughout Japanese literature is a quote from a famous Japanese novel, Golden Kamui no Uta. This literary masterpiece written by Sugiura Kenkichi often comes with a citation needed explanation. In this case, the main character, Okumura, is always referring to the season when it is sunny. For this reason, the poem becomes all the more beautiful because of the brilliant colors it depicts. The main article used in the poem when reading the poem is the phrase “Kimi wa mae” (I live in the sunshine”).
One more example of Japanese haiku poetry concerns the two parts of speech. In this case, the main article used is the phrase, “Kokomo sae o libretto (I ate yesterday). Watashira zero sae kuromame (I wrote yesterday). Usagi kara ze (I met yesterday) are some of the examples of literary compositions where the main article used is the phrase “Kuromame (Yesterday was.)”
Of course, there are many other literary works where the main article used in a high poem is the phrase “Hakau (ga ho).” This type of poem is quite unique and it has become a hallmark of Japanese haiku poetry. This type of haiku is referred to as an bakugan. Of course, there are many more forms of haibun where the poet may use the main phrase “Hakau (ga ho)” but for haikus in particular, these two parts of speech are very important.
One example of this type of haiku poem involves a man named Takeda, who is a well-known entertainer in many Japanese cities. One day, Takeda’s friend from the past visited him. While having dinner with Takeda, the friend asked him if he knows a haiku poem that he had written. Takeda was surprised and learned that his friend was only familiar with one form of haiku: “kaze no koi.” The phrase was actually a reference to a popular series of poems that were popular among the Japanese youth during the Edo period.
These three poems are some of the best examples of great haiku poetry. The first of these three poems, “Yosa Buson’s Boat”, is written in the form of a story. The author uses short phrases of only three syllables, which make each syllable rhyme. Each line consists of a different set poem (meaning “verse”) that connects each word with a sense of feeling. For instance, the first line begins, “I wondered what boat it was that brought me here / to the place where the waves came and made the water come up.” This is followed by the boat metaphorically swimming up and down the stream.
The second poem, “Bakureki No Kyu”, is about a great sage who was well-known for his powerful powers. He was revered as the “wise old man” because of his ability to interweave chivalric beauty with powerful verses. The story begins with the story of a king who was forced to marry a pretty lady, but instead of going to war with her husband, he ran away and engaged in a correspondence with her. They spent the next ten years building a marriage between themselves, which was completed when the war broke out. Finally, the king dies, and the poet writes about the beautiful lady who is now his last legacy, while at the same time, he acknowledges the great powers that he still possesses.