Occasional Papers

English Haiku: A Composite View

Haiku originated in Japan, but latterly it has become popular in an increasing number of languages and countries. Yet virtually everywhere where haiku has established itself – and that includes Japan itself – you will find people hallmark it differently. Some see haiku mainly as a kind of poetry, a literary phenomenon. For others, it is a source of philosophical inspiration and in some way helpful to their chosen life style, possibly inspired by Zen. For others still, it is the specific genius of Japanese art that attracts. Readers/writers of haiku often share something of all three viewpoints.