At the Kakimori Library

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On 11 Feb., 2016, Stephen Henry Gill (aka Tito) gave a talk in Japanese at the Kakimori Library (in Itami, Hyogo) entitled  はいくとはいぶん (Haiku & Haibun, deliberately left in hiragana). There was an audience of 80 people, including many Hailstone poets. 「はいくとはいぶん」② IMG_8554-In order to set the context, he first briefly related the story of haiku’s transmission to the West – from Hendrik Doeff around 1800, through Noguchi, Couchard, Flint and Pound in the early 1900s, right up to the haiku society-based, website-based scene of today. The audience had a sheet of haiku examples in two languages to savour. Along the way, Gill talked about certain haibun (haiku-style prose) introducers and pioneers, including Yuasa, Ueda, Cain and Spiess. The work of poets like Ross, Kacian, Higginson, Cobb and Jones was also alluded to, and two English haibun excerpts (in both languages) were also read.

lt. Tsubo’uchi, rt. Gill

There was a talk session afterwards lead by Gill’s fellow Genjuan Haibun Contest judge, Nenten Tsubo’uchi, which attempted to ascertain how truly ‘haiku-style’ the examples of Western haibun provided on the handout really were.  The audience seemed to have been genuinely moved by the way the narrative line and haiku poems were used as mutual counterpoint in the late Ken Jones’ piece, The Spirit Level.

The Kakimori Library holds one of Japan’s gyougamanroku-foremost collections of haiku documents and paintings, including many works by Basho, Onitsura, Buson, Issa, etc.  The current exhibition included the famous sketchbook-diary from Shiki’s last days, Gyouga Manroku.

After viewing the beautiful works in the galleries, some Hailstones called in at the nearest sakagura (sake warehouse) for a drink and meal.

lt. H. Miyazaki, rt. E. Mori

9 Responses to “At the Kakimori Library”

  1. A warm ‘thank you!’ to all Genjuan contestants this year. The three judges, all of whom are seen in photos here, are currently reading through the 127 entries collected from around the world by contest officer, Eiko Mori. It is hoped that the results will be posted on this site sometime in April.

  2. Ursula Maierl Says:

    I hope for an English version of this event! It would be most welcome.

    • Yes, or the two English haibun excerpts if possible.

      • Is ‘Anonymous’ Duro Jaiye by any chance?
        What Ursula is hoping for is an event. If anyone wishes to read the haibun examples used in the talk, look for ‘Paris’ by Jack Cain (in Kacian/Ross ‘American Haibun & Haiga’ Vol. 1, Red Moon). I used the part where Cain is waiting for a plane in Canada, then actually flying to Paris. The second piece can be found in Ken Jones’ ‘Arrow of Stones'(British Haiku Society). The Icebox is not likely to reproduce texts used in the lecture. Sorry about that.

  3. I hope too.

  4. I wish I could have attended– and understood the Japanese! Thanks for telling us where we can find the haibun you referenced!

  5. Tito,
    Lovely to see all this happening and how you took this event forward. Must have been very enjoyable.

  6. Wish I could have flown over from UK and been there!

  7. Way late, I finally look — and at the months since. Lovely! Thank you, and now I’m following.

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