Can you write Haiku?

29 Sep

Do you know what 俳句 (Haiku) is?

It’s a type of Japanese poem.

Haiku has a very unique Japanese form that is quite different from what is considered a poem in western culture.

First of all, Haiku don’t need to have rhyming verses that are important in western-style poems.
Secondly, Haiku are written in 17 “syllables” * . The first line has five syllables*, the next one has seven, and then five again.

(* These aren’t “syllables” in the western language sense. For example, the word “Haiku” has two syllables to a native-English speaking person’s ears…”Hai-ku”. But in Japanese, 「俳句」 (Haiku) is 「はいく」 (Ha-i-ku)…three “syllables”.)

Also, to write proper Haiku, a word that conjures up an image of a season must be used. For example, “Cherry Blossoms” could be used as a “Springtime” Haiku since those flowers bloom in the spring.

One of the most famous Haiku is:

古池や蛙飛びこむ水の音。 (“Fu-ru-i-ke-ya” (5 “syllables”) “ka-wa-zu-to-bi-ko-mu” (7) “mi-zu-no-o-to” (5)).

It was written by 松尾芭蕉 (Matsuo Bashou) in the year 1686.

The “season word” in this Haiku is 「蛙」 (frog)…it symbolizes “spring time” because frogs can be seen in the spring.

In English, this Haiku means: “The ancient pond, A frog jumps in. The sound of the water.

Can you write Haiku (in English or Japanese)?

4 Responses to “Can you write Haiku?”

  1. mehmet oğuz yenidünya April 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm #



    • tokyo5 April 26, 2015 at 11:54 am #

      You’re welcome…but for what?

      By the way, “thank you” is usually just written in Japanese this way:


  2. cuteandcurls September 30, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    I like reading haiku, simple and imaginative depending on what is in the mind of the person. Do you write any haiku?


    • tokyo5 October 2, 2010 at 1:17 am #

      I’m not really a “poetry person”.

      Proper haiku isn’t easy to write. Besides the basic rules I mentioned in this post, there are others as well…for example, it should have a “twist ending”.


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