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Creative Blooms 16: Remystification (Part 2) — “The Cosmopolitan Haiku”

“Adorno used to say, ‘Intolerance of ambiguity is the sign of an authoritarian personality.’ What if [this] same intolerance of ambiguity [is] the mark of our times, of the age we’re living in? . . . So, slowly and systematically, we are being denied the right to be complex.” — Elif Shafak (2017)1

Against Haiku

In Japan, haiku contain unique elements: linguistic, symbolic, historical, literary — complexities which cannot be translated into English. The term “haiku,” coined by Masaoka Shiki near the turn of the 20th century, is based on the hokku, the first stanza of haiki no renga, a complex form of linked verse. It wasn’t until Shiki’s Western-influenced, early-modernist radicalism that the haiku becomes definitively autonomous as a conceptualized art.

The rapid series of ruptures which broke apart and erased much of the extant social structures of the Edo period, beginning with the “opening” of Japan by the Black Ships of Commodore Perry (1853-54, via gunboat diplomacy) is hard to imagine. Japan’s intensive modernization from feudal to industrial culture in under four decades remains historically unique in world events. Taking a brief look at language reform:

The year of the Meiji Restoration, 1868, marked the beginning of the modern Japanese language reform movement. “Although much of the development of modern Japanese proceeded spontaneously, the role of planned development was considerable. . . . It was necessary to select a single variety of Japanese . . . to increase literacy, [and] create an extensive modern vocabulary.” As well, grammatical and stylistic usages began to be codified, “[and Japanese began] to be liberated from its dependence on classical Chinese. [It was felt by a number of eminent scholars that] the only way to modernize the language — and the minds of the people that spoke it — was in affiliation with the languages, by means of which the knowledge of the developed West [could be] introduced.” (Gilbert, 1999)2

We might inquire, to what extent can the revolutionary haiku of Shiki onwards be considered contiguous with the feudal/middle age poetics of hokku, composed and evolved within an Edo-era context? The written language, highly complex, with several alphabets and phonetic variants, Chinese-imported and Japan-created both (each with its own evolution) was radically altered through the introduction of Western lexis and concepts:

. . . The entrance of [many hundreds of] Western terms was a result of the publication of Nishi Amane’s landmark text, the Hyakugaku Renkan, in 1870 (cf. Campbell, p. 1098), soon after his four-year sojourn in Europe. . . . In this first Western-style encyclopedia, “patterned after the works of Auguste Comte . . . Amane introduced the full spectrum of Western arts and sciences to Japan” (op cit). The . . . hundreds of Western terms . . . are correlated with Japanese terms or concepts (and vice versa). (Gilbert, ibid)

Along with language reform, many fields of Western art and science drawn from the Euro-American sphere were imbibed, grasped, and applied where useful. Taking medicine as an example, adding all the names for parts of the human body, descriptions of functions, details of illness and treatment, construction of newly-developed instruments and their usage, all named and codified; the chemistry involved in compounding medicines detailed — many 100s of terms did not exist in Japan because the concepts did not yet exist. In this sense, “language reform” is a minimal indicator of a fulminating, expansive, explosive rupture resulting in novel fusions — we can posit an intercultural modernization within Japan, and a broad societal effect.

Impressionism, the first early-modern European movement was beginning to hold sway, and was transplanted — along with the philosophical aesthetics of Realism, which influenced Shiki; in music, the classical Western orchestra and repertoire brought new concepts of a national (some might say national-imperialist) musical art form. This was something of a revelation, as also seen in opera, ballet, and the makings of a national theatre. The impact of French and German philosophy on a whole generation of Japanese students has been indubitable, and continues. Conceptual revolutions also occurred in governance, education, military hardware, tactics, etc.

The modern haiku pioneer Kaneko Tohta (b. 1919) was a German Philosophy major; generations of modern haiku practitioners in Japan are modern by any account, East or West, and cosmopolitan in their thinking, aware of multicultural fusions. As with strong artists anywhere, haiku poets absorb influences from whatever cultural sources inspire.

Rapid intercultural modernization complicates the question of haiku/hokku. Given the context just described, it seems bizarre that outside of scholarly study, examining post-WWII translations of Japanese haiku—and arguably there is no excuse for cultural ignorance — an English translation of Basho (17th century) is treated the same way as a translation of Yosa Buson (18th century), as Shiki (c. 1900), as Saitō Sanki (Japan Wartime era), as Yagi Mikajo (postwar avant-garde). English translations rarely contain notes accompanying the translated poem, rarely discriminate between modern, feudal, or any era — the untranslatable has simply been stripped away. We are left with a Bashō that reads much like an Anglo-American poet of 20th century Imagism.

Gary Snyder, a poet and scholar steeped in Japanese and Chinese language and culture, recipient of the Matsuyama Haiku Award, and aware of these facts, recently proclaimed the term “haiku” should be reserved for the Japanese form:

I do not think we should even ‘think’ haiku in other [than Japanese] languages and cultures. We should think brief, or short poems. They can be in the moment, be observant, be condensed and meaningful, detached or not, or have many other possible qualities. . . . As I am trying to say, the haiku is a Japanese poetic form. It has elements that can indeed be developed in the poetries of other languages and cultures, but not by slavish imitation. (“News of the Day, News of the Moment: Gary Snyder talks with Udo Wenzel,” Haiku Heute, Summer 2007)3

The argument against the use of the term haiku, from a Japanese cultural, historical, and linguistic standpoint, is that the arc of the form presents a depth of complexity obviating its use outside its native context; as such, any employment will undoubtedly mislead, present culturally reductive, warped or imperialist views.

The misunderstanding of kigo as “season words” — as if kigo were somehow born of Western naturalism and science, rather than deeply rooted in cultural ritual and symbology, first originating in a poetic world of ancient China — though a separate discussion, deserves immediate attention (presented in a series of articles, see Endnote.4) Nonetheless, “haiku” has been blithely applied to short forms of Western poetry claiming to be something they clearly are not to any educated haiku poet of Japan; the term is inadequate, if not offensive. We should question the historical acceptance of the pre existing term 俳句 (haiku) — as applied in non-native (English language) contexts.

The question also arises, why is it that the tradition of haiku in English is not part of a contemporary literature poetics curriculum? From an academic perspective, a proper disambiguation of Japanese 俳句 from “haiku” (as we know it) has to be a necessary prerequisite to study, and this has not occurred. By leaving out “haiku” in English (call it what you will) from educational curricula in contemporary literature, the long-term viability of the art form is definitely in question, as younger people (and succeeding generations) absorb only piecemeal, fragmentary knowledge, or sophistry, from poorly informed sources. Let us admit the term “haiku” may signal a cultural misappropriation, possibly offend, and be worth questioning. So, placed anew into a realm of “otherness” or alterity, several choices become evident. One is to declare that haiku as an English term has nothing to do with Japan — it is simply a loanword whose meaning is delimited by Anglo-American culture. An alternative is Snyder’s choice: avoid the term for non-Japanese use. But there is a third option.

For Haiku

The foregoing argument posits at that minimum those outside the 俳句 (Japan haiku) tradition employing the term should be aware that on many points of language and culture there is complete discontinuity between the Japanese haiku tradition, language and culture — and whatever is being done in an English-language, Anglo-American context. Although these lacunae are not experienced outside the original language and culture this does not excuse international ignorance — we do need a more sensitive, cross cultural approach to haiku — shall we humbly admit a need for remystification?

And yet . . . and yet . . .

As Gary Snyder also states, the Japanese haiku “has elements that can indeed be developed in the poetries of other languages and cultures, but not by slavish imitation.” Snyder avoids employing the term for his own short poetry (it’s not clear he ever published a haiku in English); but are these “elements” themselves definitive enough to justify the deployment of “haiku” in new cultural and language contexts?

I think so. Anyway, it is a moot point; one cannot turn back the clock. Even if some demand were made to cancel “haiku,” the term is embedded in Western contexts — it’s too late.

There are some twists and turns. It’s worth noting that one ongoing misapprehension (mostly outside Japan) is that kigo (aka “season words”) are welded to haiku, as if definitional. But this is untrue:

That kigo before [Takahama] Kyoshi was not a rule but a “promise” is a statement Kaneko Tohta has made, in various places and texts. If you look at the history of haikai literature, it is clear. There were no authorized “rulebooks” in Bashō’s time and only a few compilations of keywords; in fact, there was only a single case of a limited season-keyword compilation . . . Shiki accepted haiku without kigo and wrote [perhaps 100s of] such haiku himself. Shiki’s treatment of non-kigo haiku follows the example of Bashō . . . (Itō Yūki, cf. Endnote 12)

In an informal survey undertaken by my university classes of about 1000 modern (gendai) haiku, about 30% did not contain kigo; this large minority of muki (non-season) haiku takes on significance, because the use of kigo cannot exist outside of the Japanese historical cultural context (thus obviating the use of the term “haiku” for any non-Japan cultural poetics): kigo are not just terms of a season, they are each a lexical surfacing of a millennial culture that cannot be appropriated. Unfortunately, the literal translation “season word” has created a culturally reductive (mis)understanding. The upshot is that in English all haiku are “muki” (= non) in terms of kigo, though many do include kidai, a seasonal reference (as opposed to the natively cultural terms, which exist within the kigo matrix).

For those who hold the conservative view (in Japan or elsewhere) that haiku must contain kigo, this fact disallows any claim to “haiku” outside of Japan. Or within! There are conservative groups who do not accept muki haiku within Japan. This results in a curiously twinned domestic/international symmetry; an outgrowth of the modern, in haiku. Although this topic is but glossed, with many additional topics and nuances between schools of modern Japanese haiku — it is enough to say that gendaihaiku (progressive, modern Japanese haiku), due to their formal flexibility and openness to experiment are most amenable to intercultural transportation, borrowing, and interchange.

“Haiku” as a term in English has also become associated with modern poetry itself, first via Ezra Pound and the Imagists, then proceeding with several signature poems of modernism. The prime haikuesque example has to be “In A Station of the Metro” (Pound, 1913):5

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

The poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” Wallace Stevens (1917), ubiquitously taught in classrooms for decades, reads much like a “serial haiku.” Here are a few stanzas (Sections 2, 4, 9):

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

Despite capitalization, and taking a broad view of the form, these excerpts are passably contemporary haiku. The Imagists penned many works incorporating haiku elements. Among the most notable is H.D.’s “Oread” (1914), a single-stanza poem in six lines. If further condensed, this excerpt might find its way into a haiku journal:

whirl up, sea — [. . .] hurl your green over us
cover us with your pools of fir

In Part 3, the intercultural promise of the modern will be addressed more thoroughly. At this juncture a key perspective of remystification is introduced: the problematics of modernity itself in Japan. Regarding the series of language reforms and evolutions mentioned, I recall being amazed that the famed book of tanka, Midaregami (Tangled Hair), by Yosano Akiko, published in 1901, has been translated — Japanese to Japanese translation — not once but twice, so that contemporary readers can properly read it (this has occurred with many earlier works, such as Genji Monogatari, (The Tale of Genji), continuously re-translated, to the present). Tangled Hair is a work of modernism, roughly contemporaneous with the Western poets above mentioned. Yosano is “one of the most controversial Japanese modern feminist poets of the late Meiji period,” and this work caused a sensation, in depicting a woman’s sexual freedom in ways that largely predate poetic articulations in the West.6

Language reforms were centralized, and education textbooks distributed nationwide by the government — a reading and writing language reform could occur in as little as 10-20 years, less than a generation.7 Take a moment to imagine: you cannot read Whitman, Dickinson, Wilde, Browning, Shelley, Keats; and neither could you do so in 1950. Probably almost all early-modern poetry in English, up to the 1920s, will require some translation.

So many kanji were eliminated, the graphs re-drawn, phrasings and honorific styles (keigo8) altered or eliminated, as programs of effective governmental modernization in successive language reforms occurred throughout the 20th century. You might pick up Chaucer’s 14th century Canterbury Tales and read,

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;

[Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,
And professional pilgrims to seek foreign shores,
To distant shrines, known in various lands;]

with a struggle, yet greater ease than the Japanese reader who cannot recognize the orthography of a given early-modern text. Concerning the Japanese haiku tradition, we tend to assume an unbroken readable (therefore accessible) tradition available to the poetically inclined — as our own tradition in English, back even to the Old English of Chaucer. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a bridge of mystification to cross within Japan, regarding early-modern and earlier texts; the further back in time, the more difficult it gets. A Saijiki (kigo, or “season word” compendium) does not just contain seasonal terms, there are lists of haiku/hokku, going back centuries, with translations and commentaries necessarily provided.

To properly understand the haiku tradition in Japan, much study is required by the avid Japanese poet; generally, one becomes associated to a Circle, and experiences mentorship. When I ask my university students to write a haiku, the response is: “Oh no, that is impossible — too difficult!” Too much study, you see — plus you need dictionaries, Saijiki, biographies, and scholarly notes.

To conclude, regarding elements of haiku knowledge, Western readers suffer from misunderstandings, opacity and mystification — and the modern reader in Japan does too! It is in this arena of modernity and alterity that we may begin to walk hand in hand. Naturally, the degree of opacity, misunderstanding, and indeed mystery differs in degree, but not always in kind.

As well, gendaihaiku allows for a free form or flexible haiku poetics, treating every possible modern topic, does not require kigo, and as such, haiku as a progressive poetics reflects elements not only of technical form but of cultural cosmopolitanism.

The Cosmopolitan Haiku

“Now, I am a little at a loss to explain what’s so insulting about a sombrero.” — Lionel Shriver9

There are a number of elements incorporated in the global term “cultural cosmopolitanism,” with adherents accepting or rejecting each as they wish. Lionel Shriver’s stance regarding cultural appropriation caused quite a sensation; in a no-nonsense way she spelled out her position:

I am hopeful that the concept of “cultural appropriation” is a passing fad: people with different backgrounds rubbing up against each other and exchanging ideas and practices is self-evidently one of the most productive, fascinating aspects of modern urban life.

But this latest and little absurd no-no is part of a larger climate of super-sensitivity, giving rise to proliferating prohibitions supposedly in the interest of social justice that constrain fiction writers and prospectively makes our work impossible. (Cf. Endnote 9)

The “impossible” Shriver alludes to involves publishing censorship and the culture-cancellation of authors (she has experienced both). What makes this topic pertinent for haiku is that from the early 1950s and for the succeeding half-century, American haiku journals (few as there were) acted as gatekeepers of the “true” or “pure” haiku. There was dissent, and “haiku wars,” a troubled history concerning such matters. This “war” still exists, if muted by a plethora of haiku voices and resources across the word; yet there are conservative “two-image juxtaposition + literal/naturalist element” authors, and “Zen haiku” authors; those who regard their preferred compositional mode or style as preeminent concerning the “tradition,” with other varieties disavowed and disallowed.10

In past decades, both within and outside Japan, Shiki himself has been labeled as “tainted” by concepts of Western realism — as though somehow haiku could be returned to a pure “Japaneseness,” a bonified art form of national identity. This desire was expressed by Takahama Kyoshi (founder of the Hototogisu haiku circle, and one of Shiki’s successors), a conservative authoritarian-nationalist who later supervised the propaganda wing of the fascist government during WWII.

My colleague and co-translator Professor Itō Yūki has published a brilliant piece on the New Rising Haiku anti-war poets of Japan: “New Rising Haiku: The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and the Haiku Persecution Incidents,”11 and in a subsequent interview added further comments in, “Forgive, But Do Not Forget: Modern Haiku and Totalitarianism.” I recommend these pieces as a means of catching up on haiku and the modern, within the tumultuous 20th century. Haiku leaders and poets, war and anti-war both, played a role:12

There is an Asian proverb, “Forgive, but do not forget.” Forgetting is not a good attitude towards, nor treatment of, history, in my opinion. Furthermore, I wanted to express, through my research, a sense of warning in light of recent inclinations in contemporary Japan toward right wing ideology. . . . (Itō Yūki, Endnote 12)

“Forgive, but do not forget” — the more familiarly known Western epithet is “forgive and forget” — the Asian proverb is echoed by noted psychiatrist and academic Thomas Szasz, a Hungarian Jew who emigrated to the US in 1938; just in time, one would think. “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” Drawing on Itō’s research and sources, it can be seen that intercultural fusion exists in our immediate zeitgeist: authoritarian populist leaders and movements are on the rise around the world.

Applied to haiku, ‘Forgive, but do not forget’ includes the intercultural modern.

What would be the context in which a culturally cosmopolitan haiku would obtain? Our very world! A world of haiku in which the genre is shared, appreciated and studied in various languages, countries and cultures. Modern haiku is, de facto, a cosmopolitan art.

In “What is Cultural Cosmopolitanism?”, a 17-minute video presentation,13 some elements of cosmopolitanism are considered:

a) “Cosmopolitan” is derived from an ancient Greek word for “citizen of the world.”

b) Individuals should not have excessive attachments to cultures.

c) We are all one community and should not be divided by national lines.

d) The cultural cosmopolitan is not opposed to any one culture, or culture in general.

e) We should build our ethics around universal rational ideas of right and wrong, not out of particular traditions our ancestors followed.

f) We do not have a right to claim any particular culture as our own. Rather cultures exist to be celebrated and shared to unite everyone, not divide.

g) We should not dogmatically follow the culture we were born into.

h) The cosmopolitan is deeply opposed to the notion that cultural appropriation is immoral, that any one individual could have a special right to use a culture that others lack.

i) Simply because you were born into a culture, you should not be forced to agree with the ethics of that culture.

j) Cosmopolitanism would not preference a particular culture, but rather rational, universal norms.

k) For the cosmopolitan, if you love Italian food, language and clothing, you would not be forbidden from it simply because you were born Senegalese, any more than an Italian should be forbidden from eating ceebujenn, speaking Wolof, and wearing a xaftaan or forced to eat pizza or pasta.

l) Within [imagined] cosmopolitan countries individuals can share cultures, and not be forced to adhere to only one, or be prevented from participating, in another.

m) The cosmopolitan is not against abolishing culture, but of the opinion that you should not have to be tied to a specific culture.

n) The cosmopolitan wants to let us hold ideas of cultural identity loosely, so that we do not choose our tribalist beliefs over a responsibility to all humanity.

o) You have a wider range of identities that you can take on; you can be a pizza lover, or someone that loves Japanese theater, without coming from the cultures that brought those things about.

p) Someone’s identity can change, their culture can morph.

q) It is not our culture that defines us, but our actions in relation to others.

r) Cosmopolitanism is an ideal to strive for, more than a political project or movement.

s) The more we can blend/share cultures, the less likely people will be to fight or war against each other.

Mica Nava, Emeritus Professor, Cultural Studies, University of East London, recently offered a brief definition (based upon her book, Visceral Cosmopolitanism):14

Cosmopolitanism refers to . . . a person with social and intellectual appreciation of difference . . . it’s a kind of emotional structure of feeling — a kind of empathic, inclusive, and sometimes unconscious, sometimes conscious, identification with the other, and the desire for difference and the other. So it’s an intuitive sense as part of a common humanity, with a disregard for borders. The focus is on the allure of difference, rather than the repudiation of difference.

Haiku as an art object is a well-provisioned emissary of cosmopolitanism in its aesthetic power, uniqueness as an art form, and observable promotion of international community. Haiku draws us out as cultural cosmopolitans. In the “a) through s)” list above, not each item is meant to be acceptable — and some only to a degree; this is the nature of a philosophical ideal. Yet on the whole, the mainspring of modern haiku is cosmopolitan. And as to why, the effective universality of haiku remains a mystery.

Here Part 2 of this 4-part essay will end with Japanese anti-war haiku, penned during the “wartime era” (the ‘Fifteen Years War,’ 1931-45) of Japan, by “New Rising Haiku” (shinkō haiku undō) poets, translated by Itō Yūki and myself. These were first published in NOON: Journal of the Short Poem 4 (Philip Rowland, ed., Tokyo, 2006), and later included in Itō’s “New Rising Haiku” monograph (cf. Endnote 11) with extensive commentary.

I wish that the Beats, who greatly popularized haiku in English had been able to read these (as well as the R.H. Blyth Haiku volumes). The poems appeared in Japan contemporaneously with their activities in the late 1940s-1950s:

機関銃眉間ニ殺ス花ガ咲ク
kikanjuu miken ni korosu hana ga saku

a machine gun
in the forehead
the killing flower blooms

西東三鬼 [Saitô Sanki]

*

戦死者が青き数学より出たり
sennsisha ga aoki suugaku yori detari

war dead
exit out of a blue mathematics

杉村聖林子 [Sumimura Seirinshi]

*

枯れし木を離れ枯れし木として撃たれ
tareshi ki o hanare kareshi ki toshite utare

leaving a dead tree
being shot as a dead tree

杉村聖林子 [Sumimura Seirinshi]

*

埋めてゐて敵なることを忘れゐたり
umete ite teki naru koto o wasure itari

during burial:
this is the enemy,
forgetting

波止影夫 [Hashi Kageo]

*

Richard Gilbert, professor of English Literature at Kumamoto University in Japan, is the author of Poetry as Consciousness: Haiku Forests, Space of Mind, and an Ethics of Freedom (illustrated by Sabine Miller, Kebunsha Co. Ltd., 2018, ISBN 978-4-86330-189-4), The Disjunctive Dragonfly (Red Moon Press, 2008, rev. 2013), and Poems of Consciousness (Red Moon Press, 2008), among others. He is also director of the Kon Nichi Translation Group, whose most recent book is the tour de force Haiku as Life: A Kaneko Tohta Omnnibus (Red Moon Press, 2019). In January 2020, he announced the creation of Heliosparrow Poetry Journal, an evolution of the Haiku Sanctuary forum.

  1. 21 September 2017, “The Revolutionary Power of Diverse Thought,” TED Talks; emphasis added. https://www.ted.com/talks/elif_shafak_the_revolutionary_power_of_diverse_thought.
  2. Gilbert, R., “Stalking the Wild Onji: The Search for Current Linguistic Terms Used in Japanese Poetry Circles,” Frogpond Journal, XXII: Supplement, 1999; parts in quotation are taken from Campbell et al, (eds.), The Japan Encyclopedia, 1993 (Tokyo: Kodansha); full article: http://research.gendaihaiku.com/onji/onji.html.
  3. Quoted in Gilbert, R., “The Morning After: Haiku Faces a New Century,” (8 June 2010), thehaikufoundation.org/2010/06/08/2nd-position. A discussion follows the short essay. Original interview by Udo Wenzel, published in German and English in Haiku Heute, June 2007; cf., Haiku Steg: ‘http://www.haiku-steg.de/pdf-Dateien/News.pdf. The full title of the award Gary Snyder received: The Third Masaoka Shiki International Haiku Grand Prize” from the Ehime Cultural Foundation, 2004. Snyder’s acceptance speech is available from Modern Haiku 36.2, Summer 2005: http://www.modernhaiku.org/issue36-2/GarySnyder.html. The award has been presented sporadically, with The Fourth Masaoka Shiki International Haiku Award given to Kaneko Tohta, in 2008.
  4. Gilbert, R. “Kigo and Seasonal Reference: Cross‑cultural Issues in Anglo‑American Haiku,” Kumamoto Studies in English Language and Literature 49, Kumamoto University, March 2006, https://www.gendaihaiku.com/research/kigo/02-kigo-cross-cultural-issues.htm; also see Gilbert, et al, (2006), “A New Haiku Era: Non-season kigo in the Gendai Haiku Saijiki,” presenting Kaneko Tohta’s Introduction to the Modern Haiku Saijiki (2004): https://www.gendaihaiku.com/research/kigo/03-mh-new-haiku-era.htm. Six articles concerning kigo: http://research.gendaihaiku.com/kigo.html.
  5. “This may be the first published hokku in English.” Higginson, William J. (1985), The Haiku Handbook, (Tokyo: Kodansha), 51. The poem to my mind is haikuesque, in that the title is integral to the work, and adds more information than would normally be found in a haiku — occasionally a contemporary haiku is published with a title though it’s quite rare.
  6. Ireland, Julie (2012), “This Tangled, Tangled Translation: Akiko Yosano’s Midaregami,” Verso: An Undergraduate Journal of Literary Criticism, Dalhousie University. From the article Precis by Dr. Matthew Huclak: “Although Akiko Yosano is considered one of the most controversial Japanese modern feminist poets of the late Meiji period, the most commonly and widely used English translations of the tanka which comprise Midaregami were not completed until 1971 by Sanford Goldstein and Seishi Shinoda. Of the 399 tanka in Midaregami, Goldstein and Shinoda only published 165 selected pieces in their edition entitled Tangled Hair. . . . The problem . . . is that Goldstein and Shinoda’s edition has become the primary text through which English readers experience Yosano’s work; yet, these male editors provide “no apparatus explaining how, as men, their experiences may have influenced their translation of Yosano’s tanka.” Ireland readily admits that there “is nothing inherently problematic with men translating poetry by women,” but the lack of an editorial apparatus that explains their decisions masks “the liberties” they take in the translation and selection process. Ultimately, Ireland argues, this exclusion “diminishes the feminist content” of Yosano’s controversial work since they omit some of her most poignant feminist work.”
  7. My first academic paper, “Stalking the Wild Onji: The Search for Current Linguistic Terms Used in Japanese Poetry Circles” (1999), concerned this topic: http://research.gendaihaiku.com/onji/onji.html.
  8. Cf. ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorific_speech_in_Japanese. The gloss here is basic and does not cover historical evolution. A given haikai may employ honorifics in a variety of ways: in a serious manner, as a double entendre, a pun, inferentially, etc.
  9. Lionel Shriver’s full speech: “I hope the concept of cultural appropriation is a passing fad” (13 Sept 2016), The Guardian, ‘https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/lionel-shrivers-full-speech-i-hope-the-concept-of-cultural-appropriation-is-a-passing-fad.
  10. This topic is covered at some length in Gilbert (2013), The Disjunctive Dragonfly: A New Approach to English Language Haiku, Red Moon Press. https://tinyurl.com/DisjunctiveDragonfly.
  11. Itō Yūki (2007), New Rising Haiku: The Evolution of Modern Japanese Haiku and the Haiku Persecution Incidents, (Monograph), Red Moon Press, May 2007. https://gendaihaiku.com/ito/new-rising-haiku.htm.
  12. Itō Yūki talks with Udo Wenzel (Haiku Heute, December 2007) https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/juxta/juxta1_1_wenzel.pdf.
  13. Video. “What is Cultural Cosmopolitanism? (Philosophical Positions)” (14 Sept 2020) Carneades.org, Sources: “The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, others”; https://tinyurl.com/Cosmopolit.
  14. “London 2014: Multicultural or Cosmopolitan?: Mica Nava at TEDxEastEnd,” (9 Feb 2014); https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sL03tJq8qI’. Cf. Mica Nava (2007), Visceral Cosmopolitanism: Gender, Culture and the Normalisation of Difference, London: Bloomsbury.

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