What’s a Haiku?

What Is A Haiku, Anyway?

What the heck is a haiku really, anyway?

It’s a haiku is a form of Japanese poem, which is restricted by the number of syllables in each line.

If you enjoy quiet nights in while still using your brain, whether you’re sitting down to a good book or playing online poker, then writing haiku also combines relaxation and creativity. If you want to try this unique Japanese style of poetry, remember that each line must have exactly the right amount of syllables. Nature is the traditional theme of haiku poetry, but feel free to invent your own!

Japanese poets haven’t really been using haiku for thousands of years…and nor were they a bunch of Zen masters, either.

In fact, the haiku was developed in the late 19th century by a guy called Masaoka Shiki, who took the older poetic forms of hakai and hokku (which is the hakai’s opening verse) and created this new form.

Although all of these forms are traditionally written as a single line in Japanese, they are normally written as three lines when translated.

First line – this line has exactly five syllables – e.g.:

The Beatles’ best song

Second line – this line has exactly seven syllables – e.g.:

Can be found on this album –

Third line – this line has exactly five syllables – e.g.:

It’s called Revolver.

There’s your first haiku!

The Beatles’ best song
Can be found on this album –
It’s called Revolver.

Five – Seven – Five..that’s all you need to remember.

By restricting the poet to the amount of syllables, this meant that is took great skill for the poet to describe something in such a short amount of space.

A typical haiku contains two separate images, and some kind of observation or reflection linking the two together. If you can review an entire album in just three lines like this, then that’s pretty cool.

The most famous hakai master of all time is the legendary Basho, (1644 – 1694). As he himself may have written:

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2 thoughts on “What’s a Haiku?

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