Archive for 俳文

Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015

Posted in Challenge!, Haibun, News with tags , , on September 6, 2014 by Tito

This is Japan’s only international haibun contest. Entry is free and there are prizes and certificates. With the retirement of Nobuyuki Yuasa after serving for six years as judge of (first) the Kikakuza and (subsequently) the Genjuan Contests, this year we have one new judge, Nenten Tsubouchi, who is welcomed as one of Japan’s most respected haiku poets with an unusual interest in haibun. He is a modernist with a very strong classical foundation. You can see a photo and learn a little more about him here

Ideally, there will be one Grand Prix, a number of An Prizes (‘Cottage’ Prizes, highly commended), and some Honourable Mentions, too. The authors of entries chosen for the first two of these categories will receive prizes, and all decorated works will warrant a certificate from the organizers. In the spring, the results will be displayed here on the Hailstone Icebox and elsewhere. You can read last year’s winning pieces on a separate page (‘Genjuan Winning Haibun’).

Entries to : Ms. Eiko Mori, 2-11-23-206 Jokoji, Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo-ken 660-0811, Japan (to arrive between 1 Oct. 2014 and 31 Jan. 2015)

We have lowered the minimum length stipulation to make it easier for writers using English as their second language. Each entry should total 10 to 40 lines (at 1 line = 80 spaces), with title and at least one haiku (no formal restrictions). Print on one side of A4, if possible, with your name and address, tel. no., and email address typed along the bottom. The judges will not get to know your identity until judging is over and the Genjuan Contest office already knows the results.

Judges: Nenten Tsubouchi, Stephen Henry Gill, Hisashi Miyazaki.

Full details via the page link (top right) ‘幻住庵 Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015 Guidelines’.  Please do take part!

Genjuan Haibun Contest 2014 Results

Posted in Haibun, News with tags , , on April 21, 2014 by Tito
After three years as the ‘Kikakuza International Haibun Contest’, we have now completed another three as the ‘Genjuan Haibun Contest’ and the latest results are now ready to be announced. This year we received 83 entries from 14 countries –  Australia, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, UK, and USA. For the first time there were three judges, Hisashi Miyazaki having been co-opted to work beside Nobuyuki Yuasa and Stephen Henry Gill. We also had a new contest officer, Eiko Mori. Initially the judges each came up with different favourite pieces, but in time they all agreed that the winning piece had all of the characteristics we look for in haibun and was the best choice overall, exhibiting great poise.
One point came up several times during judging: it is better not to describe too fully in haibun. Many pieces were written captivatingly, even brilliantly, but perhaps rather too fully. We were looking for gaps or leaps in the narrative in which the reader’s imagination can go to work.
Nobuyuki Yuasa is due to retire from judging the Contest next year and Nenten Tsubouchi to replace him. This will be confirmed when we publish the guidelines for the 2015 Genjuan sometime this summer or autumn.
The judges wish to thank all entrants for their efforts and to congratulate the authors of the ten awarded haibun pieces, who will each be receiving signed certificates. The four prize-winners will get beautiful Japanese traditional artifacts. You may now read their haibun pieces on a special page, ‘Genjuan ’14 Winning Haibun’, accessed via the page link at top right of the top page.

The results are as follows:

幻住庵 Grand Prix
Well of Beauty — Margaret Chula, Oregon, USA
庵 An (Cottage) Prizes
The Bardo of Justice — Sonam Chhoki, Thimphu, Bhutan
Caged Birds — Margaret Dornaus, Arkansas, USA
Uncle Walter — John Parsons, Norfolk, UK
Honourable Mentions
There Are Two Moons — David McCullough, Kyoto, Japan
The Meeting — Geethanjali Rajan, Tamil Nadu, India
Prime Meridian — John Kinory, Oxfordshire, UK
Independent Dog — Daniela Kuzmanova, Sofia, Bulgaria
New Beginnings — Barbara A. Taylor, NSW, Australia
Renunciation — Matthew Caretti, Pennsylvania, USA

Genjuan Haibun Contest Deadline

Posted in Challenge!, Haibun with tags , on January 12, 2014 by Tito

. Haibun is one of the most rewarding of the haiku arts, both for writer and reader. The deadline for entries to this year’s Genjuan Haibun Contest is coming up fast – January 31st. The Office is apparently lenient with entries received a few days after that date, but only a few days! Please note that the Contest Office is now in Kansai, not Tokyo. This is still Japan’s only haibun contest.
. Nobuyuki Yuasa has announced that he wishes to retire from judging next year, but that he is very much looking forward to reading this year’s entries! Awarded pieces will appear in a book we intend to publish later this year. This is an international contest, and we welcome your participation, whatever country you may live in. Entry is free.
. The Contest Guidelines are to be viewed through the page link at top right of our top page. (Click the photo of hailstones to return to the top page.) Examples of previous years’ decorated pieces are accessed via further page links there.

Interesting articles on haibun

Posted in Haibun, New Year, News with tags on January 7, 2014 by Tito

Happy New Year to all our readers!
An interesting two-part article by Joan Zimmerman has appeared at Contemporary Haibun Online. The first one is published at
and entitled “What Haibun Poets Can Learn From Non-haikai Western Poetry Practices”.
The second is at and is entitled “”What English-Language Haibun Poets Can Learn From Japanese Practices”.

Some background about the British haibun tradition

Posted in Haibun, News with tags , on November 22, 2013 by Tito

An interesting article has appeared in the e-zine, Haibun Today. It is called ‘Transmissions of Haibun’ and is penned by David Cobb. In it, he makes the point that at present Japan is rediscovering haibun as an import from abroad (a bold claim, but not without a grain of truth, as so very, very few use the term in Japan today). One exception is perhaps Toshinori (Nenten) Tsubouchi, who has been encouraging the genre these past few years using Japanese language, partly under the stimulus of Hisashi Miyazaki, who in turn was influenced by SHG (Tito) and Ken Jones (both of Britain). At the head of all this sits Nobuyuki Yuasa, whose translations of Basho’s travel haibun (kikobun) and writings on the subject of haiku prose helped to transplant the Japanese tradition to the West. Haibun Contests like the Kikakuza and the Genjuan have been largely the brainchild of NY, too. David’s is not a very long article. If interested in haibun, perhaps you should take a look?

Umbrella Party

Posted in Autumn, Haibun, Submissions with tags on November 4, 2013 by Tito

- a haibun by Bo Lille, Denmark -

. Typhoon no. 26 is on its way.
. It is raining and the temperature has fallen from 30 to 15 degrees on this October day, as we walk up the Atago Pilgrims’ Path towards Kyorai’s hut. Our umbrellas are dripping with words, and we are both getting wet. A wetness we like. Learned and nice. We smile.
. Stephen-san quotes fine Japanese poems, mostly tankas and haikus, for he teaches literature at University; and I quote Goethe’s Ein Gleiches, the wonderful poem that marks this finest German poet’s famous turn from the “Sturm und Drang” to the “Classic”. Amongst green mountains Stephen points out places of literary interest.
. Words are dripping. We are dripping. We are smiling. There is Basho in the air; Basho, and other poets besides. Typhoon no. 26 is drawing near, but we are smiling.Japan 2013 Basho og templer 213-
. At Kyorai’s hut, we take a composition stroll. I am stunned by the bamboo boar-scarer, a cunning device that makes a regular “click!” and keeps the wild hogs away. I am also fond of the old trees, and the old Japanese style house. Afterwards, we sit down separately, writing notes for haikus. I sit at the doorstep and look at Kyorai’s persimmon tree which has already, much too early, lost its fruits. I think of the story of Kyorai’s persimmons – how he had sold them to a rich merchant, then lost them in a typhoon, and finally had had to pay the money back to the merchant. A sad story of riches that never came to the poor poet. Only a short whiff of money. I wonder if it is the very same tree.

Kyorai’s persimmons –
their dreams falling to the ground
the tree coughs

. We go up into the village for a cup of coffee and cakes sweetened with fresh haikus. Typhoon 26 is approaching. The rain and wind are gaining strength. Poems are dripping from our umbrellas as we go down the path to the station and say good-bye.
. A little later, a friendly Japanese gentleman helps me to my hotel. I leave my umbrella in the umbrella stand and go to my room no. 102 for a cup of tea.
. Typhoon 26 is near.


Posted in Autumn, Haibun with tags , , on October 17, 2013 by David Stormer Chigusa

It was nighttime, two nights ago, the evening of the day Typhoon Wipha struck Tokyo. I was walking home from a (subway) station I never use but had had to because the JR (i.e., overland) lines couldn’t run.  It was no longer blowing a gale, but wind buffeted at every few paces in small powerful eddies that lay in wait wherever willed by the city’s stony cast.

It was quite a bright night with just enough room between the half-scattered surging clouds to let the gibbous moon shine through. Head down, just starting to get rained on, I reached Kuramaebashi Bridge.


Clouded moon
A still distant
outline of home



October is the driest month since May. And it is starting to get what in Japanese is called skin-cold (hadazamui, as opposed to bone-marrow-chillingly cold, or honemi ni shimiru hodo samui). The enveloping heat of summer that some think of as enervating actually works, I read recently, to increase physical activity. Conversely, lower temperatures make us less likely to jump out of bed. Besides all that is the face of a typical October: that huge languid airiness, that even if clouded is still higher than a paper kite on a lightly tugging string. No more cicadas, no more fireworks letting off, and even the noises that are – of trains, sirens, and schoolyards – seem reduced to the smallness of the details you can now make out in the clearer air.

Awoken by
curtained dawn
I yawn with October


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