< How to Make Haiku - the case of junior high school students >

I think that the orientations and instructions so far have provided you With sufficient knowledge of haiku. Yet yqu may find it difficult to actually make a haiku. Easy to say, "You express inpressions in word and write them down" but difficult to do so!

Here is a scene from my junior high school class. I Say, "Now I will give you slips of paper. Please write the five haiku you made at home and submit them. "Embarrassed reactions with sighs from the students go like:

"One Week passed too fast to make haiku." "Will you accept three haiku? That is all I have." "I left my haiku notebook at home." "Oh, I've got to make then now!" "Well, I might copy some from the handbook of season Words." "Old pond, eh.....I "No good. Drop it."

Not all of the students diligently worked on haiku for a week. Some desparately try to make all five haiku in class. Dear readers may readily imagine the chaotic sight! Yet they managed to make:

sound of cicada
limited life (Tsukasa)

chrysanthemum dolls
too early
leaves standing out (Shigehiro)

early summer
light clothes
children play (Tetsuro)

just a coat off
all ready
change of Season (Shinsuke)

mirror of pond (Tomio)

Thirsty still
another cup
icecream (Sachio)

Naoyuki was all occupied with a CM-like wording:

denki nakereba
tada no hako

just a box
without electricity

He seemed to be fond of it with a season word and 5-7-5 syllables properly used. Hopefully, it taught him something about a good rhythm for haiku. After several weeks of exercise on "refrigerator", he came up with an amusing haiku:

naki tori no chie
mozu no nie (Naoyuki)

no refrigerator
shrike-s wisdom
impaled victims

A Shrike stores game of frogs and rearhorses impaled on the tree branches, and comes back for them when food runs out. Wanting intelligence, however, it oftentimes forgets the impaled game, which look like scapegoats and amuse us.

Art begins with imitation, it is said. Your progress depends on whether your imitation leads to development of your own personality. Koji studied haiku for three years in my class. During his early exposure to haiku, he would read about season words and sample haiku in the handbook of season words and talk to himself, "Well, I may make haiku like these." In one of my classes where I picked up and explained season words of the time, Koji was apparently interested in a gaganbo or a daddy longlegs and impressed with the following sample haiku in the "Saijiki" handbook:

gaganbo no
ashi no hitotsu ga
kanashikere (Kyoshi)

daddy longlegs
one deserted leg

gaganbo no
ashi soroitaru
medetasayo (Dakujin)

daddy longlegs
all legs in place

gaganbo no
kanashi kanashi to
yo no shoji (Aoi)

daddy longlegs
creeping sad
night sh-oji screen

He said to me, "Teacher, it's a big mosquito-type flying dragon, ism-t it?, and legs are often left on the shoji screen(paper-paned sliding window), you know."
"Oh yes, dillydallying." I responded.

Following the conversation, he Wrote:

gaganbo no
ashi ga shojini
nokori keri (Koji)

daddy longlegs
leg forlorn
shoji screen

As I read it aloud among my chosen haiku, he Said. "I just copied haiku in the Saijiki handbook, you know."
"That is okay because your haiku was born from the combined impr.ession of gaganbo and the haiku in the handbook," I replied. In the third year, he made a remarkable progress as a haiku poet:

yama mire ba
yudachi kisona
kumo no iro (Satoshi)

mountains still
showers approaching
clouds threatening

The tapering end of the Rokk-o mountains Which ve saw from the classroom window suddenly gathered threatening clouds overhead. In no moment, strong showers assaulted us and ere swiftly gone after a while as though it never happened. We will remember the shower as long as we remember this haiku.

tsuyu de isso
ki ga sigeri (Hachigyo)

Mount Rokkio
rainy season
trees fast growing

This well describes the passing seasonal features of Mt. Rokko as seen from the classroom window. I modified it to eliminate one of the two season words:

tsuyu no shigeri to
narisi ki-gi

Mount Rokko
trees in thickness
rainy season

My students grew bored with the limited scenary from the school window and from time to time I took them out on a short journey to a cemetry behind the school.

kusa shigeri
chairo to midori
bessekai (Koji)

grasses growing
brown versus green
defferent world

On such an occasion Koji made this haiku which may need some explanation. He felt sensations over the change of scenary from brown-colored landscape to a grass-green field. The expressions are incomplete but I hope that he further fosters the good sense he demonstrated here.

As you see, the Students who suffered all sorts of difficulties in making haiku at the beginning gradually learn to casually express themselves, feel the heart of haiku, and make sensible haiku toward end of the Second or the third semester.

Let me introduce a haiku each made in the third semester by the students at my first haiku class:

family group
back fronl
new year shrine visit

summer heat remaining
autumn scenes
developing (Norifumi)

faddish stew
on dining table
mother-s taste (Jun)

days gone
occupied ny diary

looking back
foot steps
frosty path (Yutaka)

regrets lingering
way home (Hiroyuki)
osnanthus fragrans
smelling in garden
early morning (Ken)

sleepless night
attacking (Nobuo)

falling snow
shaking off
dashing home (Koji)

scorching sun
swift showers
passing by (Mamoru)