Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:

  • The essence of haiku is "cutting" (kiru). This is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji ("cutting word") between them, a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colors the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.
  • Traditional haiku consist of 17 on (also known as morae), in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 on respectively.
  • A kigo (seasonal reference), usually drawn from a saijiki, an extensive but defined list of such words.

The wren
Earns his living


From time to time
The clouds give rest

To the moon-beholders.

Over-ripe sushi,

The Master
Is full of regret.


Comment Stream