H  A  I  K  U     S  P  I  R  I  T
Takaha Shugyo

Rice offered to Buddha

two sticks planted up
at the hottest time of the day

Cockerel's first song
so far
from baskets and cages

May I be given a stalactite
holding the stars
of the road to the deep North

(*) Reference to Matsuo Basho's travel diary Road to the Deep North

Translation: Gilles Fabre

Extracts from the Introduction by Hoshino Tsunehiko

Takaha Shugto was born in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, in 1930.

In 1978 he founded the Kari Haiku Society and the following year he resigned from the company for which he had been working since graduating from university.

He then devoted himself to haiku providing guidance in the composition of haiku for the Kari Haiku Society's thousands of members as well as publishing a monthly magazine, also called Kari.

At present he is the President of the Haijin Kyokai (the Association of Haiku Poets), which is the largest association of haiku poets in Japan and has some 14,000 members.He prserves the convenbtion of the 5/7/5 sound symbol pattern and the use of a season-word and places great importance on tradition and on classical haiku. At the same time, however, he has consciously striven to add a contemporary note to his own verses. His compositions are full of (intellectual) lyricism while careful attention is paid in them to the effects of diction and rhythm. They express surprising new conceptions and fresh turns of expression. Yet the results are always clear and well-ordered compositions.

Takaha Shugyo has consistently played a central role in the world of contemporary Japanese haiku and at the same time has been an enthusiastic exponent of the art of composing haiku overseas. In this way, he has provided us with many works that can serve as guides or models as to how to adapt season-words to the different seasons and climes of foreign countries. In this respect, his works serve as a revelation of the rich potential of composing haiku overseas.

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