Editor's Note: The subject of this interview, NEW RISING HAIKU: The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and the Haiku Persecution Incident, is reprinted in the Features section of Simply Haiku, vol. 5, no. 4 (Winter 2007):
The Japanese Author Itô Yûki presents in his monograph New
Rising Haiku: The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and the Haiku
Persecution Incident1, published in November 2007, a
chapter in Japanese Haiku history mostly unknown in the Haiku world, outside
of Japan (and within Japan these facts are no longer well recalled). In the
forties of the last century haiku poets were persecuted, arrested, tortured
and their journals annihilated by the ultranationalist Tennô regime; some
poets died in prison or were sent to the frontlines of the war. All victims
were advocates of free-verse haiku poetry, which had turned away from the "traditional"
stylism of haiku composition. After the war, it was Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959),
who was considered to be mainly in charge. Kyoshi was chief editor of the
haiku journal Hototogisu, the journal with the greatest public success
in Japan, and the inventor of the "traditional" haiku (dentô haiku). He
was one of the two main disciples of Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902). With his
aesthetics of kachôfûei ("singing about flowers and birds") Kyoshi
propagated a return to "tradition", against the innovative reform efforts of
other haiku poets and groups. At end of the thirties and beginning of the
forties of the last century, Kyoshi came into influential governemental
positions. He became president of the Haiku branch of the "The Japanese
Literary Patriotic Organization" (Nihon bungaku hôkoku kai), a culture-control/propaganda
organisation of the Tennô system, under control of the Intelligence Bureau of
Japan. The persecutions of haiku poets took place during Kyoshi’s presidency.
After the war, unlike many other poets and writers, Kyoshi did not distance
himself from his attitudes or apologize for his wartime activities. From 1946,
a movement began, whose aim was to bring charges of haiku war crimes to
Kyoshi and others. In Itô’s Addendum: "Historical Revisionism (Negationism) and
the Image of Takahama Kyoshi," which is nearly the half of the monograph, Itô
debates efforts to minimize or negate Kyoshi’s responsibility and role in the
promotion of fascism and persecutions. The author, Itô Yûki, was born in 1983
in Kumamoto, composes and publishes haiku himself, and is a member of the Gendai
Haiku Kyôkai (Modern Haiku Association). Currently he is a Ph.D. (cand.) at
Kumamoto University, Graduate School of Cultural and Social Sciences, and is
a co-member and co-translator of a cross-cultural research project led by
Prof. Richard Gilbert to present contemporary Japanese haiku (Gendai Haiku) in
Udo Wenzel: Dear Itô Yûki,
you are a Ph.D. (cand.) at Kumamoto University, Graduate School of Cultural
and Social Sciences. You wrote and published the historical work, New
Rising Haiku: The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and the Haiku
Persecution Incident1, about the incidents of haiku
persecutions during the age of Japanese imperialism. With this work you
reveal aspects of Japanese history which are mostly unknown in the Western
haiku-world. What was your motivation in writing this monograph? What
inspired you to undertake this project?
Itô Yûki: From the
starting point of my haiku career, I have had great respect for the mastery
demonstrated by many haiku poets, and have read many books of haiku poetry
and criticism, from the classics like Bashô to the contemporary, such as Kaneko
Tôta, one of the key figures of modern haiku. However, I did not learn much
of the deeper history of haiku until recent years. This project first began
when Prof. Richard Gilbert, who teaches in my Department at Kumamoto
University, requested whether I might write something in English describing
the history of gendai (modern Japanese) haiku. In our discussions which
followed I was surprised to learn that there was almost nothing published in
English on this topic.
When I began to study the history of haiku in depth,
some of the first books I read were Kaneko Tôta’s Kon nichi no haiku [Today’s
Haiku; 1965], and his Waga sengo haiku shi [My Postwar Haiku History]. In the latter book, Kaneko mentions that in order to understand
gendai haiku history, a study of the wartime period is of great importance. He
further states that without such an understanding a historical study would
remain stereotypical and implicitly superficial. This was the process which
led me to pursue the topic, and particularly, to write in English to an
international audience. So it was that I learned of the Haiku Persecution
Incident(s), and I want to say that I became quite shocked. I realized that
in order to discuss the history of haiku, this wartime history should and in
fact must be mentioned.
quite upset and had many sleepless nights. What I am saying here is literally
true, without exaggeration. I felt the bitter sting of conscience, and nearly
cursed myself as a haiku poet of Japan. At first I felt it was not my place to
criticize those haiku poets who had collaborated with the totalitarian
government; that is, from a perspective of safety and distance, concerning
these events. I felt some repentance with regard to the wartime period events.
However, repentance alone was not a good solution.
My next step
was to gather as many primary-source materials on the subject as possible to
obtain, and read them. For instance, I obtained many facsimiles of original
documents, such as the records of the Japanese Secret Police (tokubetsu kôtô
keisatsu or tokkô). After some difficulties, I was able to first locate
and then obtain some of the Holy War Haiku books, most of which had been gathered
and burned by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP). As well, I
obtained banned books, such as Seisen haiku-sen [The Holy War haiku
selection]. These original documents clearly reveal and document historical
attitudes and facts. Nevertheless, if no one writes about these historical
facts, they will likely be forgotten.
There is an
Asian proverb, “Forgive, but do not forget.” Forgetting is not a good
attitude towards, nor treatment of history, in my opinion. Furthermore, I
wanted to express, through my research, a sense of warning in light of recent
inclinations in contemporary Japan toward right-wing ideology. Some
conservative groups tend to forget or negate historical facts. In
consideration of these various social, cultural, personal, and historical
perspectives, I wrote the monograph on the Haiku Persecution Incident(s) in
relation to the evolution of modern Japanese haiku, so that these facts and
histories would be preserved for the future.
Udo Wenzel: You wrote
of Takahama Kyoshi's (1874-1959) long period of editorship of Hototogisu,
and of his extended rule of the haiku world, before, during, and after the
war. You also quoted briefly from his "The Commandment," an
authoritarian essay, as you state. Later in your monograph you also indicate
the strict hierarchy of the master-disciple system of haiku. Can it be said
that "kachôfûei" was mainly Kyoshi's development --and that
this aesthetic was strictly enforced in Hototogisu? To comment
further, Hachirô Sakanishi published "Treibeis"2 (in
German; "drift ice" in English). In "Remark 19" (p. 31) Sakanishi
states that Kyoshi visited Asahikawa (in Hokkaidô) in 1933, where there was a
main-meeting of Hototogisu. In his lecture, he documented the strict
discipline of the Hototogisu-group related to the aesthetic. He stated
that kigo must be oriented to the climate of Kyôto or Tôkyô3, and
that Haiku should only be composed about nature (kachôfûei). “Heresy
should be strict proscribed.”(p. 34) Can you support this statement? It seems
from this quote that, in terms of Kyoshi, "kachôfûei" might
be viewed not only as an artistic aesthetic, but also as a means of social
rule or even control, as well as intellectual control.
As well, the
German author Annika Reich, in "Was ist Haiku?" (in German, “What
is Haiku?” in English)4 quotes from her personal communication
with Kaneko Tôta: "Takahama Kyoshi said kigo must be a rule, Bashô wrote
seasonless poems. Before Kyoshi kigo was only a promise not a rule."5
This also suggests the dictatorial attitude of Kyoshi.
Itô Yûki: To answer
your questions sufficiently, I would have to write more than one additional
essay. And in fact, your question has motivated me to do this.6 As
it is impossible for lack of space, I will answer with only a few remarks.
before Kyoshi was not a rule but a “promise“ is a statement of Tôta Kaneko
similarly, in various places and texts. If you look at the history of haikai
literature, it will become clear. There were no authorized “rulebooks” in
Bashô's time and only a few compilations of keywords; in fact, there was only
a single case of a limited season-keyword compilation, from the unique haikai
poet Kitamura Kigin (b. 1625-1705) of the Teimon school. Bashô himself
recommended a different haikai “rulebook” to his disciples, the Haikai
mugonshô [Haikai book without words] published in 1676, which presented
the techniques and philosophy of haikai, rather than being a dictionary of
keywords. And Bashô included haiku without kigo in his haiku philosophy. Even
the founder of modern haiku, Masaoka Shiki (b. 1867-1902) accepted haiku
without kigo and wrote such haiku himself. Shiki’s treatment of non-kigo
haiku follows the example of Bashô, and other haiku poets of the Edo period. In
the last years of Shiki’s life Kyoshi, one of his main disciples, became de
facto chief editor of Hototogisu. Following Shiki’s death, the
conflict between Kyoshi and Shiki’s other important disciple, Kawahigashi
Hekigotô (b.1873-1937), who wanted to promote also haiku in the free verse
style, became serious and intense. Kyoshi criticized Hekigotô several times
in Hototogisu. Hekigotô then met with Ogiwara Seisensui (1884-1976),
and they founded the free-verse haiku journal Sôun [Layered clouds] in
1911, and later Hekigotô left the Hototogisu journal.
important to consider the socio-political and economic realities as well: Kyoshi
met with his haiku style the expectations of a new audience, the new
bourgeosie, who mostly had only little literary skill and knowledge. He
provided haiku composition with religious connotations, and enunciates the
truth that, for all those who write haiku, even bad poets who write haiku as
a hobby can become enlightened. The true way to such salvation, we find,
obtains in Kyoshi’s haiku style. Kyoshi calls his haiku style the “literature
of heaven” [gokuraku no bungaku], while other styles are deemed the “literature(s)
of hell” [jigoku no bungaku].
floated with the current of the already existing nationalism, as the
following example from 1928 reveals. It was written after an attack by the
Japanese Imperial Army against a Manchurian warlord, which was a prelude to
the Manchurian Incident, thus bringing about the Fifteen Years War (1931-1945).
Kyoshi reflects in this lecture about the development of his haiku style, of kachôfûei:
the hokku of haikai, today’s haiku, became a completely specialized
literature of kachô. . . . We ourselves are those who do not serve the nation
well, but succeeding to and following the tradition of our ancestors’ taste,
we cherish ka-chô-fû-getsu. Thus, in order to gather together the power of
you men of culture, at a time when the Japanese nation stands in the world
with its glorious power rising, Japanese literature must also rise within
world literature. Then, when the time comes that the Japanese nation gains a
strong footing in the world as the greatest nation, all peoples of other
nations will without doubt pay close attention to the unique character of the
literature of Japan. At that time, from among the crowds of plays and novels,
there can be seen the face of a haiku poet, and he will say, “Here: this is
the literature of kachôfûei. That is, haiku.” I expect such a time to come.7
Kyoshi’s editorship of Hototogisu ran in
parallel with the development of military expansionism. At the time, Kyoshi
was the most powerful authority in the haiku world. In opposition to Kyoshi’s
dictatorial attitude, Mizuhara Shûôshi (b.1892-1981) and Yamaguchi Seishi (b.1901-1994)
left Hototogisu. And as for Kyoshi, in 1936 he banished Hino Sôjô (b.1901-1956),
Yoshioka Zenjidô (b.1889-1961), and Sugita Hisajo (b.1890-1946) from Hototogisu.
All of these events reflect Kyoshi’s dictatorial attitude, and there are
writings and lectures that could be quoted to further document the
consistency of his character and attitude.
Udo Wenzel: The "war
crimes" for which Kyoshi is accused have an ideological nature (censorship,
the publication of war-glorifying scriptures or lectures, propagandistic
actions, etc.). After reading your monograph, it seems that Ono Bushi is more
directly responsible for arresting poets or initiating torture or deportation
to the front-lines of the war. You also write that the nationalism of Shûôshi
was much more obvious than that of Kyoshi. How could it happen that Kyoshi is
in the main focus of the accusal: that he was put on the top of the list of "haiku
war criminals," but Bushi or Shûôshi beneath?
Itô Yûki: This order
of the haiku poets’ names which I presented in my monograph follows the order
of the original document published by the "Prosecution for Haiku War
Criminals" movement (haidan senpan saiban undô), and I have
quoted from that section. In the writings of the movement, the name of Kyoshi
is listed first.8 This listing, with Kyoshi first, reflects Kyoshi’s
position during the wartime period. His title during this period was, “President
of the Haiku Branch” of the fascist government culture-control/propaganda
group, "The Japanese Literary Patriotic Organization" (nihon
bungaku hôkoku kai; JLPO). The titles of Ono Bushi and Shûôshi were, in
both cases, “Director-Trustee.” After the war, in the International Military
Tribunal for the Far East (Tôkyô Trial), the General President of the JLPO
Tokutomi Sohô was listed as a Class A War Criminal. Kyoshi’s position as
President of the Haiku Branch of the JLPO is quite similar to his. As well,
after the war, Shûôshi presented an apology for his actions, and Ono Bushi
had died before the end of the war. Kyoshi however never apologized for his
actions. I think these facts help explain the reason for Kyoshi being listed
first in the quoted "Prosecution for Haiku War Criminals" document.
Udo Wenzel: Nowadays
the term "war crimes" is commonly used to signify offences against
Public International Law which are closely connected to warfare. In which
sense do you use the term "war crime," or how was it used in the
historical (immediate postwar) period you are discussing? What was the basis
for the accusation of being a "haiku war criminal"? What was the
ambition of the "Prosecution for Haiku War Criminals" movement (haidan
senpan saiban undô), and what did they concretely try to achieve?
Itô Yûki: The "Prosecution
for Haiku War Criminals" movement (haidan senpan saiban undô) was
begun in 1946. This was the same year as the beginning of "The Tôkyô War
Crimes Trials" (The International Military Tribunal for the Far East),
according to the 10th article of the Potsdam Declaration. So this movement,
which developed along with The Tôkyô War Crimes Trials, had a particular
emphasis. As a consequence of the defeat of Japan, the Tôkyô War Crimes
Trials proceeded, naturally enough, from the perspective of “judgments by the
winner” (of the war), so to say. In witnessing this process, some felt that
trials by Japanese citizens themselves should supplement The Tôkyô War Crimes
Trials — that such activity was necessary and important. The "Prosecution
for Haiku War Criminals" movement began exactly in this spirit; that
Japanese people themselves should fully and honestly judge the wartime
actions of those most responsible for atrocities, persecution, and other war
crimes. Concerning the "Prosecution for Haiku War Criminals" movement,
in my monograph, I wrote:
Its advocates were Higashi Kyôzô (Akimoto Fujio),
Furuya Kayao, several other haiku poets, and the lawyer, Minato Yôichiro (1900-2002).
The movement's aim was not to imprison those who had either instituted
persecutions or collaborated with the Secret Police, but to justly and
publicly cause those guilty parties to recognize the weight of their guilt
and feel the sting of conscience. It was not a witch hunt. If it had been,
the movement would have become a reverse mirror image of the Haiku
Persecution Incident(s) itself. By contrast, the aim of the movement was "to
resolve all the issues of the past in order to together hold hands for the
progress of haiku"9
their intention and aim. I hope this answers your question.
Udo Wenzel: How wide is
the influence of the Hototogisu school today?
Itô Yûki: Even today,
the influence of the Hototogisu school is very strong, and this
influence is widespread. The term kachôfuei (composition based upon
the traditional sense of the beauty of nature) is applied by many haiku
groups, and forms a major part of the Japanese haiku world.
Udo Wenzel: In your
monograph one can find several times in the critical writings of the New
Rising Haiku poets a reproach, that traditional haiku is not serious
literature but instead a kind of hobby-literature. What is the reason for
this allegation, and how do you assess it?
Itô Yûki: The phrase “season-hobby
literature” is not my coinage, but rather a term first used by Yamaguchi
Seishi in 1935. He stated that the aim of the New Rising Haiku movement was
to “overthrow the conservative haiku as season-hobby literature, and to
create gendai haiku as season-feeling literature in the spirit of Bashô, and
as true poetry”10. Seishi criticized the Hototogisu school
because the school had an inclination to remain within narrow and stagnated
cliché expressions. Seishi’s critique was similar in intent to the manner in
which Masaoka Shiki had earlier criticized the traditional haikai of the
Meiji era, as “tsukinami [hackneyed, formulaic].” Basho said, “Do
not follow the trace of the old masters. Rather follow what the old masters
wanted to seek out” (kojin no ato wo motomezu, kozjin no motometaru tokoro
wo motomeyo). Seishi thought that the Hototogisu school had
strayed far from this intention and motivation, and he was not the only one
who felt this way. I agree by the way with Yamaguchi Seishi’s opinion.
Udo Wenzel: Are some of
the persecuted poets or any close disciples still alive today? Were you able
to get in touch with any of them personally? If so, how do they assess your
monograph? Is there still bad blood because of these past incidents?
Itô Yûki: As far as I
know, all of the arrested haiku poets have passed away. Recently, I met the
haiku poet Yagi Mikajo (1924-), whose haiku teachers were the three arrested
haiku poets of the Kyôdai Haiku group: Saitô Sanki (1900-1962),
Hirahata Seitô (1905-1997), and Hashi Kageo (1910-1985). Her haigô [penname
as a haiku poet] was given to her by Saitô Sanki and Hirahata Seitô. She
writes that Hirahata Seitô never, in any fulsome way, elucidated the story
and historical details of the haiku persecution incident(s).
these incidents indeed are “bad blood” among the different groups of haiku
poets. It is certainly “bad blood” concerning the Hototogisu haiku
poets. Even for myself, it is very, very disturbing “bad blood,” because
these incidents are undeniable facts in the haiku history of Japan.
Udo Wenzel: You
presented the historical background of the divisiveness and division of the
haiku-movement. After Shiki's death the traditional haiku-school led by
Kyoshi gained in importance and became more popular than the opposing
movement of Shiki’s other main disciple, Kawahigashi Hekigotô. Later the "rebels"
Shûôshi und Seishi departed from the Hototogisu-school and founded
their own groups. Facing this background, how do you see the different
approaches and methods of composition of haiku, within the haiku movements of
the non-Japanese-speaking world related to subjects such as form, kigo,
Itô Yûki: I think it is good to study as many works of haiku
poets as possible. It is unfortunate that many historical studies of haiku in
the 20th century outside of Japan stop at Kyoshi or Shûôshi. Although some of
the works of Kyoshi and Shûôshi are admirable, to neglect gendai haiku is a
terrible loss for western haiku, as well as a diminishment or reduction of
both historic struggles and genius. Gendai haiku continues to develop in
Also, it must
be said that gendai haiku does not negate traditional haiku or haiku
tradition. In fact, the gendai haiku poet Hasegawa Kai attains his mastery
through the application of classical haiku techniques. A contrastive example
is Tsubouchi Nenten, who attains his mastery via fragmentary and playful language,
at times lacking kigo and kireji. He writes that “katakoto”
(fragmentary language) is a sine qua non of haiku, and of traditional
Japanese culture. There are many more examples which reveal that, while
incorporating national and international modern/contemporary art theories and
techniques, gendai haiku flows within the ancient river of Japanese haiku,
literature, and culture.
opinion, haiku in the non-Japanese-speaking world does not have to use kigo
because climate and cultural traditions are different, etc. And as well, from
a linguistic point of view, kireji (“cutting words”) have their origin
in the modal verbs existing in ancient Japanese language. However, we haiku
poets should know that kire (cutting) is not created merely through
the use of special words, but rather that kire creates ‘ma’ (the
subtle empty room or “psychological space” of time, space, and mind) among
words and senses, exhibited as disjunction, juxtaposition, etc. On kire,
kireji, and ‘ma,’ Hasagawa Kai has much to offer, and hopefully
his haiku criticism will be translated into various languages in the future. I
feel that, wherever they are in the world, haiku poets should not limit the
possibilities of the poetry, haiku, in any sense.
Udo Wenzel: In
your monograph you called the master-disciple system feudalistic. And, in
your acknowledgments you expressed gratitude to your haiku teachers. What is
the difference between a teacher and a master? Is this master-disciple system
still alive today?
Itô Yûki: Kuwabara
Takeo called the master-disciple system of haiku feudalistic, in his essay, "A
Second Class Art: The Case of Gendai Haiku" (daini geijutsu ron: gendai
haiku ni tsuite). I partly agree with him. I think that the master-disciple
system of Japanese haiku hasa feudalistic aspect, but I do not completely deny
its value. Japanese haiku has had a long history as a literature of the party
(kukai)—a social gathering—and is not limited to (the more
contemporary stylism of) individualistic literature. In terms of kukai,
the master-disciple system of haiku seems to work well.
many master-disciple systems exist, not only in haiku, but also within many “traditional”
arts. In the Japanese haiku world, kessha systems (“one’s own literary
association”) are quite strong. To be recognized as a leading haiku poet,
typically one must found a kessha as a magazine-group, and become its
chief editor, hold one’s own kukai (haiku meeting or party), etc. Certainly,
most Japanese haiku poets belong to several kessha, whether as members
As a “traditional”
art, each kessha and its haiku poets are placed in a shikei (the
genealogical tree of haiku schools). However, some kessha and haiku
poets reject this system. In my case, one of my main haiku teachers, Morisu
Ran, said to me some time ago, “Do not call me sensei!” As a result, I
do not use or apply the term “master” to my haiku teachers.
Udo Wenzel: What
reputation has the haiku within contemporary Japanese society? Is it regarded
as politically neutral, as progressive, conservative, or even unprogressive?
Itô Yûki: Today, in
Japanese society, haiku is regarded as a common “traditional” literature,
which is politically neutral. Some poets are progressive, but it has to be
said that conservative attitudes occupy a major part of the genre here. In
fact there are strongly nationalist haiku groups which act politically in
various ways, including the creation of, or joining with, coalitions of
certain political parties. I would like to express some sense of warning
concerning this situation.
Udo Wenzel: Was your
monograph published in Japan (in Japanese) too?
Itô Yûki: Although I
have published various poetic works in Japan, I have not published the
monograph on the Haiku Persecution Incident(s), in Japanese here. The reason
may be obvious, when you examine the bibliography appended to my work. Many
books exist in Japanese, and I would especially recommend the following:
Shouzou. Mikoku: Showa haiku danatsu jiken [Betrayer/Informer: Showa
era haiku persecution]. Tôkyô: Daimondo, 1979.
Katsumi. Taikenteki sinkou haikushi. [A history of New Rising Haiku,
in my own experience] Tôkyô: Orienta, 2000.
Shinkô hijin no gunzô: "Kyôdai Haiku" no hikari to kage [The
figures of the New Rising Haiku Poets: Light and shadow of KyôdaiHaiku] Shibunkaku:
book represents a landmark study of the Haiku Persecution Incident(s). Unfortunately
however, Kosakai adopted the theory that Saitô Sanki acted as a spy. Therefore,
in 1978, Sanki’s disciples (especially Suzuki Murio; b. 1919-2004) accused
Kosakai, and sued both Kosakai and the publisher in Court. The upshot of all
this was that in 1983 the Court pronounced Sanki innocent on all counts. Other
descriptions within the book were corroborated, and the discussion of the
Haiku Persecution Incident(s) took on a new life. In 2005, Tajima’s book won
the Haiku Poets Association Research Award.
On the other
hand, there is not enough work on the haiku persecution incident(s) in
western languages. It remains my wish that this history be conveyed to the
western world, as there are so few published studies.
Udo Wenzel: Thank you
very much for the interview!
1. USA: Red Moon Press, May, 2007 (ISBN 978-1-893959-64-4).
In German: "Das Neue Haiku. Die Entwicklung des modernen japanischen Haiku
und das Phänomen der Haiku-Verfolgungen", Haiku heute December 2007,
translated by Udo Wenzel.
2. Hachirô Sakanishi
(ed.), Treibeis. Haiku. Seibunsha, Tôkyô 1986, Adonia-Verlag Thalwil 1990.
example, the climate in Tôkyô or Kyôto is very different from the northern
island of Hokkaidô.
Reich, Was ist Haiku? Zur Konstruktion der japanischen Nation zwischen Orient
und Okzident. Lit-Verlag Hamburg, 2000
5. Reich, p. 34
6. We intend
to publish the essays in another issue of Haiku heute.
Takahama Kyoshi zenshû [Collected works of Takahama Kyoshi] vol 11, 179-81.
Tôkyô: Mainichi shinbunsha, 1974.
8. Cf. Ôno,
Rinka. (ed.) Haiku-nenkan: Shôwa 22. [Haiku Almanac: 1947], Tôkyô: Tôryô
Shobô, 1943. pp. 304-18.
9. Minato Yôichirô.
Haidan senpan saiban no koto [On "the prosecution for haiku
war criminals" movement], in Haikujin, January 1947. Minpôsha,
1947. p, 34.
Zenkô. Haijin tachi no kindai [The early-modern era and the haiku
poets]. Tôkyô: Hon'ami shoten, 2002. p. 48.
information about Gendai haiku: http://gendaihaiku.com/
© Udo Wenzel;
haiku-steg.de; first published 2007-03-15 on www.Haiku-heute.de
Itô Yûki — Biography
Itô Yûki (1983- ) was born in Kumamoto. At the age of 16 he
began writing haiku and contributed to the magazine, TILL. One of judges of its “haiku corner,” Morisu Ran (1961- ), invited him into her own journal & group, Saien (Dithyrambs). In 2001, on her recommendation, he joined the Modern Haiku Association (gendai haiku kyôkai).
That same year, he also joined the haiku journal & group HIHI (silent snowfall), led by Hoshinaga
Fumio (1933- ), in Kumamoto. In 2002, he met Richard Gilbert, and became a member of the English‑haiku research group, Kon Nichi Haiku, co-translating Jim Kacian’s Presents of Mind into
Japanese. This work was published in October, 2006. As well as a haiku poet and
researcher, Itô’s university study involves W. B. Yeats. His BA thesis focused
on a critical study of Yeats (2004); his MA degree (2006) thesis involved a re‑evaluation
of Yeats’ socio‑cultural stance, in relation to Nietzschean philosophy,
among other topics. Itô is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate School
of Social and Cultural Sciences, Kumamoto University. He is also an assistant‑researcher
for the Gendai Haiku Research Project, led by Prof. Richard Gilbert, which is supported
by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi), of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Japan Ministry of Education (MEXT).
Saien Anthology volume I-V (Tokyo: Private press, 2001-2006)
Shinei Haijin Anthology [New and powerful haiku poets’ anthology] Tokyo: Hokumeisha, Tokyo, 2006.
Kumamoto Fûdo Saijiki [Kumamoto local‑saijiki] Kumamoto: Kumanichi Newspaper Information
Translation work (not including the co‑translation of numerous haiku):
Jim Kacian. Presents of Mind. Winchester, VA, USA, Red Moon Press, 2006.
New Rising Haiku: The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and the Haiku Persecution Incident. Winchester, VA, USA, Red Moon Press, 2007.
The 8th International Kusamakura Haiku Competition (“Haiku in English” Section) Second Prize, 2003.