This paper presents the first results of an interdisciplinary project, bringing together haiku poets and neuro-/cognitive scientists, to investigate the reading of English-language haiku (ELH) as a potentially paradigmatic material for studying the reception of poetic texts. Our pilot study was based on the ‘eye-mind assumption’, that where and for how long we gaze at sections of text reflects processes of information harvesting for meaning construction. The results indicate that the interactive process between the poem and the reader gives rise to characteristic patterns of eye movements (saccades and fixations) across the text from which (i) the position of the cut (after line 1 vs. after line 2) and (ii) the type of haiku (context-action vs. juxtaposition) can be discerned. Finding (i) is of special importance: it provides evidence that the effect intended by the poet can indeed be traced in oculomotor behavior and that, thus, the cut is indeed a potent poetic/stylistic device with a specific effect in the reader. Moreover, readers’ recognition memory was found to be associated with more explicit, conscious-recollective experience of having read a particular haiku if the poem was self-rated to be understood. This suggests that the realization of the haiku’s ‘meaning gestalt’ in the reader’s mind, which may be associated with an ‘aha’ experience, is important for memory consolidation and remembering. Albeit tentative, these findings and conclusions open up interesting lines for future, interdisciplinary research.
This article contributes to the philosophical discourse of care studies and the growing interest in an aesthetic approach to care. Care ethics is a relational approach to morality first identified in the 1980s in the work of feminist theorists and today enjoys a wide academic discussion in philosophy, political theory, education theory, and medical ethics. Through a consideration of the embodied aspects of care as well as an analysis of several representative haiku, the authors argue that haiku supports the development of care capacities because it engages a caring imagination, helps people develop caring knowledge, and potentially encourages caring behavior.
This paper discusses the crafting strategies Japanese haikuist Ban’ya Natsuishi uses to create emotional depth in three haiku collections: Endless Helix (2009), Hybrid Paradise (2010), and Black Card (2013), published by Cyberwit Press. Natsuishi is a professor at Meiji University, Director of the World Haiku Association, president of Ginyu Press, and Director of Tokyo Poetry Festival. His three emotionally evocative volumes of haiku present a variety of themes, including natural and nuclear disasters, which have in recent years devastated Japan.
Suzuki Shizuko may well have been a victim of the harsh economic conditions brought on by Japan’s defeat in August 1945, followed by the Occupation. She referred to herself as shōfu 娼婦, which can be translated, bluntly, as “prostitute”. The writer Saitō Sanki, in writing about the time in Japan following the Second World War, observed that “Any woman, as long as she was a woman, didn’t have to worry about starvation.” But it seems there may have been other reasons as well.
With so many hundreds of thousands of haiku being written in Japan and abroad, one way to classify a certain percentage of them is to create a genre or sub-genre called “riddle haiku.” Here, the first section (typically two lines) sets forth what readers can understand as a question, while the ending offers a surprising yet satisfying reply. Riddles have been a significant if seldom-studied form of world literature, usually requiring two different participants. Riddle haiku, however, are unusual in unifying the entire process. Examples can include even single-line haiku; the crucial factors are the (often implied) question and an unexpected but convincing answer.
A haiku composed in English with one line of Japanese by U.S. President Barack Obama is analyzed and contrasted along with other modern day bilingual poems selected from haiku journals and newspapers. With a focus on developments since the latter half of the 20th century, the social motivation for using more than one language in the same poem is discussed as a contemporary literary phenomenon. A final argument is put forward showing that English haiku can be enriched by the inclusion of other languages. It is suggested that this new and creative form of haiku can give shape and meaning to the convergences of peoples, poems, and cultures across sometimes-large cultural and social distances.
Ever since Bashō found inspiration by his froggy old pond, haiku poets have turned to water as subject matter. Haiku turns out to be an excellent resource for both capturing via attentive description the “soundscapes” of water (from rainfall to stream and river to sea) and cultivating the art of clear hearing, or what R. Murray Schafer in his classic book The Soundscape: The Tuning of the World calls “clairaudience.” Haiku focused on water also anticipate new directions in acoustic ecology, focusing on the sound of water in ecological context, giving us the sound not just of water in isolation but water interacting with rock and plants, or mingling with birdsong.