By Robert D. Wilson
Etsuko Yanagibori of Japan, the owner of the Cherry
Poetry Club online forum, writes beautiful haiku. I have long admired
her work. She speaks with a fresh voice, is continually evolving
as a poet, and has a love for nature that flows through her haiku
like a fresh mountain stream. Etsuko attends a haiku school taught
by Haiku Master Fujita Akegarsu. She credits him for instilling in
her a lot of what she has learned.
Born in Osaka, Japan on June 1, 1938, Fujita Akegarsu
began his love affair of haiku when he was seventeen years old. It
wasn't long before Akegarsu became a member of the Wakoudo Haiku
Magazine. At the age of 25 he joined the staff of Haiku
Kai Shigi and quickly became its editor and chief. Ishida Hakyou,
a student of haiku master, Shiki Masaoka, took the young Akegarsu
under his tutelage, wanting to invest in him the teachings passed
down to him from Shiki. Akegarsu studied hard and placed great value
in the teachings of Master Hakyou. Eventually he too became a haiku
master. Ten years ago, Akegarsu founded the Japanese language haiku
magazine, Kusanohana Haiku Kai. He also teaches a haiku
school of 500 students. Through the magazine and his school of haiku,
the influence of master Akegarsu has been manifold.
Fujita Akegarsu credits Basho, Shiki Masaoka, and Buson
as having the greatest influence on his writing.
Speaking about the Haiku spirit, Master Akegarsu says, "Haiku is a greeting for the seasons ( nature) . A kigo word is the symbol
of the season one is writing about. In order to communicate with a given season
(nature), You must use nature (kigo word) to talk with the season. Kigo, the
season of the moment, is the only one for your life. Nature is continually changing.
Haijin talk to the kigo in their Mujou. Mujou means impartial universe. I am
here with Nature, engaged in conversation....the pleasure of life. This is Haiku."
"Haiku," continues Master Akegarsu, "needs Iro (color). You must
use feeling (your color) to make haiku. Simply capturing a picture of something
is not enough.
You need to weave feeling into the nature moments with
your color, your feeling, so the haiku can properly capture
a beautiful haiku moment. If you feel something
in an empty room or in dark nature, there is Mononoke (nature energy). The
combining of Iro and Mononoke make for good haiku."
Says Master Akegarsu, "To become a haiku poet, inhabit
the haiku spirit. Listen to nature. Don't interpret it.
Don't struggle. Nature tells you the
moment. This is what you must write. To talk with Nature, you have to bring
Hi (sun), Fu (wind), and MI (water) into your mind. The Hi Fu Mi mind:
Shining like hi (sun)
Fresh like fu (wind)
Broad minded like Mi (sea)."
Some haiku written by Master Akegarsu:
shakes and splashes
of sunlight crosses
the dried field
walks in sunshine
a blazing ring on the