The Japanese Haiku, Its Essential Nature, History, and Possibilities in English, with Selected Examples

The Japanese Haiku, Its Essential Nature, History, and Possibilities in English, with Selected Examples

The Japanese Haiku, Its Essential Nature, History, and Possibilities in English, with Selected Examples

The Japanese Haiku, Its Essential Nature, History, and Possibilities in English, with Selected Examples

Excerpt

Many questions relating to the status of the haiku in English are put to me by interested Japanese each time I come to Japan. On the surface these questions seem simple and insignificant; however, I feel strongly that they represent a basic problem if we consider them in the light of world poetry, especially at present when the East and West have met and the two worlds are more than eager to understand each other. Here are a few representative inquiries:

"Do the English-speaking people understand haiku?"

"Do they write haiku in English?"

"Do the English haiku have any form?"

Such questions represent a problem to be solved not only by the Japanese or by English-speaking poetry lovers alone. For the problem relates to the larger one of mutual understanding among peoples. Considered in this light, these questions on haiku give us a dynamic sense of the impact of the problem of understanding, for they seem to posit some fundamental difference in the understanding of poetry between East and West. There is no such difference fundamentally. The reason for the popularity of haiku in Japan, as a classic as well as a literature of the people, holding their hearts with its irresistible charms and dignity with as much force today as in the past, lies in its nature and in the aesthetic principles that govern it. These same reasons, I feel, are enough to insure the possibilities of haiku in English, as popular with its audience as the Japanese haiku has been in Japan. For it is my contention that the underlying aesthetic principles that govern the arts are the same for any form in Japanese or English.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.