Japanese poetry vividly represents the culture of the country, attracting readers’ attention to distant and mysterious images and ideas. Haiku is one of the traditional forms of Japanese versification. It has particular creation rules preserving manners and traditions of this poetic direction passed on between generations. This three-line poetry aims to reflect the notions surrounding humans in a laconic style but at the time provoking deep philosophical deliberation.
Haiku’s creation lies deep in the history of Japan’s cultural development. The genre’s name literally means “initial stanza,” which shows the historical belonging to renga – an ancient form of versification in Japan (Nasretdin et al., 2021). The independent life of the poetry genre began in the 17th century during the Edo reigning period (Nasretdin et al., 2021). The haiku itself appeared only in the 19th century, absorbing the various poems from the ancestor genre called hokku (Nasretdin et al., 2021). For the Japanese, haiku is a reflection of the worldview, the idea of beauty, and the philosophy of life. What is magnificent about this poetry format is that the small unrhymed verse consisting of three lines reflects the deep meaning.
Initially, haiku was created by the representatives of the lower estates: the genre was born thanks to the peasants. The haiku three-line is a lyrical work that reflects inseparable bonds between human life philosophy and nature. Each piece of this genre unites a stable syllable and a laconic and capacious image. There are pretty strict rules for writing haiku in Japanese poetry, based on rhythm, breathing technique, and language features. The authentic Japanese haiku is created according to the 5-7-5 principle (Nasretdin et al., 2021). This means that there should be precisely five syllables in the first and last lines and seven in the second. In addition, the entire poem must contain 17 syllables (Nasretdin et al., 2021). Another rule of this genre is to include the contradiction between particular notions. Various authors believe that this requirement for haiku writing can be omitted because the philosophical ideas can be represented without any controversial ideas, in other words, depicting the balance (Nasretdin et al., 2021). However, it is worth noting that contrasting haiku are much more imaginative and attractive.
Collecting philosophical ideas and the world’s beauty in 17 syllables is pretty challenging, so a successful work leaves an indelible impression. Each haiku stanza is a sketch of the surrounding world. The verses seem concise and straightforward at first glance. However, each piece represents the profound philosophical idea reflecting balance, contrast, or comparison of nature and human emotions. A fantastic feature of the haiku is the simplicity of the structure and pre-exposure banality. Every word in the pieces of this form reflects ordinary life, implying something great that cannot be comprehended easily.
Such a structure allows the poet to choose the symbols to contemplate the meaning himself, to use the minimum means to create a complete, deep image. Haiku is not overflowing with intentions, which is the differentiation feature compared with Western poetry. Thus, the creation of haiku requires artistic expression skills, the ability to reflect the ideas vividly and, at the same time, laconically. Below I tried to represent my philosophical perception of the particular events through the haiku.
A romantic, worthy love
because of the fear
An ardent, lover suffers
at the perfect rage
Nasretdin, F., Kiss, O., & Stahlberg, S. (2021). Haiku poems as a creative path to language development and language learning. Journal of Endangered Languages, 11(19), 378–408. Web.