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Monthly Feature Story-November 2018-Haiku

Cultural Tips - "Haiku"

Eat a persimmon
And the bell will toll
At Horyuji Temple

(Meaning: I heard the bell at Horyuji Temple tolling while I was eating a persimmon. I deeply felt the atmosphere of autumn.)

This is the most famous "haiku" which features a persimmon.

A "haiku" is a traditional Japanese poem consisting of three short lines of seventeen syllables in a five-seven-five pattern. These lines do not rhyme. "Haiku" is often called the world's shortest poem.

The form of "haiku" was mastered and perfected by Matsuo Basho in the 17th century. Other great traditional "haiku" poets are Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Isa, and Masaoka Shiki.

Every "haiku" contains a "kigo" - a word associated with a specific season. The season word in the "haiku" by Masaoka Shiki above is a persimmon, which represents autumn.

However, when you compose "haiku", you can just follow these rules: use a three-line form and brief, direct expressions. The season word is not mandatory.

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