Ikuyo Yoshimura - Inteview
By Robert Wilson
Q) How long have you been writing haiku?
A) I have been writing
haiku for fifteen years.
Q) Who has had the greatest
influence on your writing?
A) To answer this,
I have to mention my interest in poetry.
I have been writing poetry since I
was a college student. I remember finding
some wonderful short poems written
in Japanese among contemporary Japanese
short poetry such as "a butterfly
alone went across the Dattan Channel" by
Fuyue Anzai. At the time I also became
interested in Carl Sandburg's poetry.
I love his poem, Fog, from Chicago.
About twenty years ago, before I started
writing haiku, I joined a poetry writing
class taught by Zenkyu Hirako who lived
in Gifu. His teachings empowered me
to write poetry. The most thrilling
haiku I faced--- "Along this road/Goes
no one,/This autumn eve.(by Basho,
translated by R.H.Blyth)---charmed
me and encouraged me to write haiku.
English haiku also caught my heart
, such as this haiku by Nicholas A.
Virgilio, Lily/out of the water/out
Q) How important is it to use a kigo word
in a haiku?
A) I think a kigo
word works well in Japanese haiku effectively,
limited words. A kigo word itself has a lot of meaning in regards to
history and human life. A kigo anthology (Saijiki, in Japanese)is one
of the best almanacs. If you can find the big word with equal value,
you can do haiku without using a kigo word. I love haiku with and without
kigo. As you know well, kigo is composed basically on Japanese culture.
English haiku, on the other hand, uses words relating to nature and culture
which have their own background.
Q) Haiku has spread from Japan to the rest
of the world. What do you attribute this to?
A) For Japanese haiku,
the spread of haiku to oversea countries
leads to exciting communication. It
is important for us to know each other
for the transfiguration of haiku and
for rooting haiku. Genuine haiku always
comes from an intermingled situation.
I like to send Japanese ideas and haiku
works to poets overseas.
Q) What advice do you have for those new
to the writing of haiku?
A) I think reading
classics and living life to the fullest
models. Of all forms of poetry, it is said that haiku is the closest
silence and is a so called "wordless" poem. I am charmed by
what is not described in haiku because it gives to readers the opportunity
for various kinds of imagination. This is caused by its multitude of
expression. Such elements have kept me writing haiku for years. When
I find a wide and deep view of life in this shortest of poetry, I feel
the happiest feeling. The charming point of haiku creation is found in
capturing every sensibility of the moments of sympathy between human
beings and nature.