A Brief history of "Haiku"

A Brief history of "Haiku"

A Lesson by Dinesh Sairam

A history of the renowance and development of Haiku.


                 Haiku originally emerged from 'Hokku' (Meaning 'Starting verse'). But in those days, Hokkus were used only with Haiki no Renga (Prose mixed with Poetry). In a long narration, a Hokku (Opening line) was used to capture the entire feeling of the prose, but was never viewed as a separate poetry format.

     But with time, 'Hokku' was separated from prose. It was Masaoka Shiki who gave the name 'Haiku' and declared it as independent. However, Matuso Basho (The Inevitable master of Haiku poetry) and his students promoted 'Hokku' as an independent format long before the format was even named 'Haiku'.

       After this, as with most poetry formats, new possibilities emerged in Haiku writing. The two most important being - Yosa Buson endorsing Haiga (Haiku combined with corresponding art) and Kobayashi Issa introducing human feelings into the otherwise 'general' Haiku. As said before, Masaoka Shiki not only coined the term 'Haiku', but modernized it so as to open it to all kinds of people.

     Kawahigashi Hekigoto carried Shiki's reform further with two proposals:

            1. Haiku would be truer to reality if there were no center of interest in it.

            2. The importance of the poet's first impression, just as it was, of subjects taken from daily life, and of local color to create freshness.

     In the Early 19th century, Haiku began spreading in the nearby colonies (Europe, England and America) and by the end of 20th century, Haiku had become an important part of English poems. Many languages express varied notions of Haiku, but English haikus have come to rule over everything - even Japanese and Chinese haikus themselves.

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Dinesh Sairam
Dinesh Sairam

Tiruchirappalli, Tamilnadu, India

Follow @DineshThePoet An aspiring poet from the shady regions of Southern India. Inspired by the capital-G Great poets like William Shakespeare, Matuso Basho, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Willia..