Haiku in languages other than Japanese

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The Japanese haiku has been adopted in various languages other than Japanese.[1]


The imagist poets Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell wrote what they called hokku. Their followers were the Buddhist poet Paul Reps and the Beat poets, including Jack Kerouac.

The first English-language haiku magazine was American Haiku (1963-1968).[2]


French poets who have written haiku in French include Paul-Louis Couchoud (1905), Paul Claudel (1942), Seegan Mabesoone and Nicolas Grenier. Georges Friedenkraft (2002)[3] considers that haiku in French, due to the less rhythmic nature of the French language, often include alliterations or discrete rhymes,[4] and cites the following Haiku by Jacques Arnold (1995) as an example:

"Jasons : Dieu merci
Ça sent si bon sa forêt
La soupe au persil."


Haiku have found a foothold in German poetry since the 1920s, with examples from Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Blei, Yvan Goll, Peter Altenberg, Alfred Mombert and Arno Holz among others being cited.[5] The collection Ihr gelben Chrysanthemen! by de:Anna von Rottauscher (Vienna 1939)[6] was published in the 1930s.[7] Also written in the 1930s, haiku by Imma von Bodmershof appeared in book-form in 1962[8] and were republished in Japan in 1979 as "Löwenzahn: die auf 17 Silben verkürzten Haiku".[7]

In 1988, Margaret Buerschaper founded the German Haiku Society (Die Deutsche Haiku-Gesellschaft e. V.).[8]


Authors in Spain who have written haiku in Spanish include Federico García Lorca, Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Luis Cernuda.[9] Many other writers across Latin America, including Jorge Luis Borges, have also used the form. A translation of Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi to Spanish was done in 1957 by the Mexican poet and Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz in collaboration with Japanese diplomat Eikichi Hayashiya.


In Italy, the national haiku association was founded in Rome in 1987 by Sono Uchida, the well-known Japanese haijin and the ambassador of Japan in Vatican.[10] Soon after, the national association called Italian Friends of the haiku (Associazione Italiana Amici dell'Haiku) was established, and then the Italian Haiku Association.[11] The poet Mario Chini (1876 - 1959) published the book of haiku titled "Moments" (Rome, 1960). Later, Edoardo Sanguineti published some of his haiku.[12][13]


Traditional haiku have been developed in Estonia since 1960s.[14] Andres Ehin (1940 - 2011) was the most prominent Estonian-language haiku writer of the 20th century; his bilingual English-Estonian collection Moose Beetle Swallow was published in Ireland in 2005.[15] Estonian poets Arvo Mets and Felix Tammi wrote haiku in Russian.[16]

What some people call Estonian haiku (Estonian: Eesti haiku) is a form of poetry introduced in Estonia in 2009.[17] The so-called "Estonian haiku" is shorter than a Japanese one; the syllable count in Japanese haiku is 5+7+5, while Estonian haiku also goes in three lines but only comprises 4+6+4 syllables. Estonian authors claim that this is a distinctively Estonian form.

Asko Künnap is credited as the inventor of Estonian haiku.[citation needed] The first collection of Estonian haiku was published in 2010: Estonian Haiku by poets Asko Künnap, Jürgen Rooste, and Karl Martin Sinijärv. An Estonian-language haiku competition was organized at the 2011 Helsinki Book Fair where Estonia was the guest of honor. A selection of Estonian haiku has been published by the Estonian Writers' Union's magazine Looming ("Creation"). Estonian haiku have been actively translated into Finnish.


Jhinabhai Desai introduced Haiku in Gujarati literature and popularized it.[18][19] Soneri Chand Rooperi Suraj (1967) is the collection of 359 haiku and six Tanka poems.[20][21] Kevalveej (1984) and Sunrise on the Snowpeaks are his other haiku collections. Dhiru Parikh published Haiku collection titled Aagiya in 1982.


Haiku poetry is a relatively new practice in the Arabic literature. It wasn't until 2010 when the first book was published by a Syrian writer Muhammad Adimah containing 1000 haiku translated from Japanese directly.[22] Although most of the Arab haiku poets use the three short lines structure, this has not always been considered as a strict rule. Literary critics in the Arab world have not reached an agreement yet whether the haiku poems written by the young poets can be considered a new form of poetry or merely a different name for the (already popular) flash fiction. In July 2015, the Poetry Letters Magazine acknowledged the Arabic haiku as a distinct form of poetry by publishing, for the first time, haiku poems of 11 Arab poets from Syria, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, and Tunisia.[23]


  1. ^ Look Japan 2000 - Volume 46, N os 529 - 540 - Page 34 "CONTOUR LINES The first question to ask is whether or not it makes sense to compose haiku outside Japan, disengaged from Japanese culture and the language in which the form was first created. If it does, how should the poet overseas ..."
  2. ^ Geoffrey O'Brien, Bruce C. Kennedy, Elizabeth Searle Lamb. Frogpond, 1987, Volume 10-11, page 29
  3. ^ Georges Friedenkraft, Style et esprit des haïkou en français, Bulletin des Anciens Élèves de l'INALCO, April 2002, p113-120
  4. ^ "Anthologie du haïku en France" Jean Antonini Editions Aléas, France, 2003, pp 18-24
  5. ^ Sabine Sommerkamp: Die deutschsprachige Haiku-Dichtung. (online).
  6. ^ Anna von Rottauscher: Ihr gelben Chrysanthemen! Japanische Lebensweisheit. Nachdichtungen japanischer Haiku. Scheurmann, Wien 1939.
  7. ^ a b James Kirkup. A certain state of mind: an anthology of classic, modern and ... 1995, Page 83
  8. ^ a b Jane Reichhold, Haiku in Germany. Shamrock no 14, 2010
  9. ^ http://www.abc.es/20120610/internacional/rc-haiku-arte-poesia-minima-201206100753.html
  10. ^ Carla Vasio. Haiku in Italy. Shamrock Haiku Journal No 10, 2009
  11. ^ Italian Haiku Association
  12. ^ Mondo Haiku, Italy
  13. ^ Poesie
  14. ^ Koht ja paik. Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, 2004. Issues 4-5
  15. ^ Munster Literature Centre
  16. ^ Shamrock Haiku Journal No 3, 2007
  17. ^ Eesti haiku trohheuse ja muude loomadega. Sirp, Maarja Kangro, 2010. Issue 23 (3303)
  18. ^ Kuśa Satyendra (1 January 2000). Dictionary of Hindu Literature. Sarup & Sons. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-81-7625-159-4.
  19. ^ Japan Review: Bulletin of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. International Research Center for Japanese Studies. 1992. p. 19.
  20. ^ East Asian Literatures: Japanese, Chinese and Korean : an Interface with India. Northern Book Centre. 1 January 2006. p. 268. ISBN 978-81-7211-205-9.
  21. ^ Indian Writing Today. Nirmala Sadanand Publishers. 1967. p. 27.
  22. ^ A study on Arabic Haiku, Poetry Letters Magazine (Arabic ed.), No. 3, 2015, p. 47–54
  23. ^ Poetry Letters Magazine (Arabic ed.), No. 3, July 2015, “ special issue (the Arabic Haiku)