Haiku + Photo = Haipho – A Few Notes on the Japanese Way

While in Kyoto under the tutelage of my Haiku in English Teacher, Stephen Gill, there was a competition hosted by Haiku Masters in Kyoto to submit a Haipho – a Haiku that also includes a photograph.

The Hailstone Haiku circle created a team and competed, but I unfortunately, was in Tokyo at the time.

One of Gill’s classes was on Haipho in preparation for the competition. Unlike an ekphrastic poem that is describing a work of art, the Haipho must have a few considerations, which The Haiku Masters in Kyoto expressed.

  1. Fusoku-furi – The Haiku is not to far, not too close in relating to the photo. It should not be merely a description of the photo, nor include every element of the Haiku in the photo.

2) Express a kigo, 季語, seasonality in the photo or Haiku.

3) The Haiku Masters in Kyoto wanted a three line submission, but English Haiku is also acceptable in four lines and fewer than the traditional 17 syllables, since it is more difficult to express in English with 17 syllables that is suitable for the Japanese language.

So, here is a Haipho of mine. Enjoy and create your own! It’s a great exercise to do with kids too, as it’s simple with three lines and creates images in kids heads, which leads to literacy. Looking at pictures also piques the imagination, encouraging writing.

I wrote this as a submission to a Buddha Haiku Anthology. I made the short list, but not the final. I won just by submitting!


lake waters ripple

but in its center

a duck remains still 

Byobu  at  Bishomon-do Shorin-ji Zen Temple in Kyoto by Sydney Solis.

Ironically, this morning The Haiku Foundation email I subscribe to sent a lovely link about the photo haiku artist Dian Duchin Reed. Her photo haiku reflect the above, not to close, not too far. Do they? Check them out!

Be sure to check out The Icebox Haiku Mr. Gill runs for more fabulous haiku and Japanese inspiration!



2 thoughts on “Haiku + Photo = Haipho – A Few Notes on the Japanese Way

  1. Pingback: Torii Gate — Haipho -Saga Arashiyama, Kyoto | Sydney In Osaka

  2. Pingback: Photo Haiku No. 1 – Azaleas in Spring | Sydney In Osaka

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