“Haiku”, a short Japanese poetry form, consisting of patterns of 5+ 7+ 5=17 syllables, incorporating “Kigo”- the symbolic word that represents the season.
Haiku originates from Renga which started in the 13th century and evolved since. The form of Haiku was mastered and perfected by Matsuo Basho (松尾芭蕉） in the 17th century.
Here is one of Basho's famous Haiku.
古池や Fu-ru i-ke ya (5)
蛙 飛び込む Ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7)
水の音 mi-zu no o-to (5)
Frogs jumped in,
Sound of water
(Translation by Lafcadio Hearn)
A forgotten old pond, possibly with green moss (stillness and death), suddenly, a frog or frogs jumps in, the sound breaks the silence (movement - life force).
We can develop further in the interpretation. It is also free to make your own interpretation, imagination, in the same way, to appreciate works of art.
What Haiku brings us? - the answer is the union with nature and the universe.
Japanese traditional cultural rituals such as Tea ceremony is the ultimate form and discipline to create the union with nature, objects and ourselves, as "Nature is our Master".
To unite with nature, humbly follow the law of nature - it is deeply rooted in our Japanese DNA.
With Haiku, we express what we see in a natural, simple, minimal, direct way, without a judgment - things as it is. It brings a profound interpretation to each reader, leaving space for imagination.
First, we select a word what we see, select the suitable "kigo" the symbol of the season and combine them with stillness and movement.
In this process, we connect ourselves with nature, object and with the universe, in a similar way as we practice tea ceremony, or making art.
" Nature is our Master " - said Jiro Inagaki (1933 -2008). His works are the poetry.
Here is the selection of his works for every month, together with Haiku by Azumi Uchitani.
(From the exhibition "Season" 2016, in Amsterdam.)