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Simple Haiku
by Kyuusai Karasuyama

I am interested in haiku written by poets from countries outside of Japan, where I live. Your seasons and cultural outlook are different, therefore you see and experience a different world than I do. Likewise, you are probably interested in the haiku and haiku mindset of Japanese haiku poets.

In this short essay, I will touch upon the influence Basho has on Japanese Haiku. Haiku Master, Matsuo Basho, left his teachings for haiku poets of future generations to follow. In his teachings, he stressed three words:

1. Haikainomakoto (sincerity of haiku)

A haiku poet needs to feel inspiration from the varied emotions and impressions inspired by nature via looking and listening. It is the haiku true mind. Without sincerity, there is no haiku spirit. And without the spirit, a haiku is not a haiku.

2. Kougukizoku (spiritual sense)

To write good haiku, the poet must be able to commune with his thoughts, and experience a sense of higher spirit. Haiku's roots come from Waka (Japanese poetry). Waka incorporates a love for seasonal nature. Although they enjoyed playing with words, Haiku poets prior to Basho, had lost touch with seasonal nature. Basho opened up haiku to the masses, teaching his students to use daily kigo words in their haiku. By doing so, he reconnected haiku with its roots.

3. Kenton no hen (the changing of heaven and earth)

The changing of heaven and earth is the heart of the nature spirit in haiku. Catch the changing of nature and you have what you need to write true haiku.

The three core words I've discussed have intrigued me for years. I use them to guide me when I compose haiku. I live in Japan. The seasonal changes in your country most likely differ from mine. Let us learn from one another, sharing the impressions natures prints in our individual paths.

An offering of Kyuusai Karasuyama's haiku are found in this issue: Haiku

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