November 2003, Volume 1, Number 5


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:

Night god
shakes and splashes
Cherry blossoms

Silver prism
of sunlight crosses
the dried field

walks in sunshine
cold day

the sun
a blazing ring on the
autumn mountain

Web Graphics SoulKarma
Copyright 2003 Simply Haiku