November 30, 2012

Harum-scarum snowstorm . ..

the book about butterflies

remains unopened

--Oprica Padeanu (Romania)

* * *

Local spice shop

the sound of hot gossip

in unknown tongues

--Jan Dobb (Canberra, Australia)

* * *

Two speakers

lack of a mutual language

exchange smiles

--John Zheng (Mississippi)

* * *

Seasons in November

four languages mingling

at the breakfast table

--Liz Moura (East Taunton, Massachusetts)

* * *

the deaf

road sweeper

with his noisy broom

--ai li (London, England)

* * *

Indian summer--

a flightless butterfly

still in the terrace

--Ikuyo Yoshimura (Gifu)

* * *

Indian summer

where mother used to sit--

sunlit bench

--Murasaki Sagano (Kyoto)

* * *


for this price

the free coffee

--Ed Baker (Takoma, Maryland)

* * *

A 6’ scarecrow

teaches you

how to shoot

--John Martone (Charleston, Illinois)

* * *


counterclockwise ‘round

ancient pine

--Michael Corr (Nagoya)



Water pipe

Rapture and allure

Aswan souq

--Teiichi Suzuki (Osaka)

Persistent traders lure the haikuist into their shop on a bustling alley in an Egyptian market. Usually a non-smoker, he puffs on a hookah debating the Rapture, the way believers-in-Christ will be transported to heaven at the end of the world. He went to great lengths to keenly observe and capture a moment in time for his readers. Diana Teneva describes the way religious dancers chase away illnesses and evil with smoke in Haskovo, Bulgaria, on St. Constantin and Helen’s Day. Chen-ou Liu drowns in a recurring image. Charlotte Eckert plays contract bridge in Germany. Her single-suited hand of six cards might be all hearts.


an icon wafting

in the air

* * *

A gray hair

in my whisky glass

her floating face

* * *

At teatime

the single suiter

in her hand

On a national holiday recognizing distinguished artists and scholars in Japan, Ikken Ikemoto writes a haiku about an imperial decree for modernization. Cezar F. Ciobica salutes a faded singer in Botosani, Romania. Dennis Woolbright celebrates at an award ceremony for haikuists.

Charter Oath

by Emperor Meiji--

Culture Day

* * *


the old soprano looks at

her first poster

* * *

Dramatic spotlight

singing to the brightest moon

drinking Kirin beer

Children tend to bring out the best in the way haikuists write about what people feel. Brian Robertson won second prize in the Maple Moon Haiku Contest, held on Culture Day, for a splendid poem about a child entering the moon. Satoru Kanematsu’s granddaughter pulls at his heartstrings with her simple gift of love. Tobe Roberts has a mission.

* * *

The moon out of reach

a child wades in a pond

full of it

* * *

With the note

“for my dear grandpa”

two acorns

* * *

A tale has been told

whispered from my grandfather

for me to pass on

Hiroshi Kawane, a medical doctor in Hiroshima, was awarded a prize in the Nov. 3 contest for a happy upbeat haiku about a youthful throbbing heart. Pleased with receiving the cash award, he remarked, “I am going to buy maple syrup and moon cake with the prize.” An active haikuist who goes by the pen name Doc Sunday, his haiku make readers think twice. Raj K. Bose remains undecided about the radiation issue facing Japan.

Moonlight tune

through the stethoscope

girl patient

* * *

Radium hot spa

no more nuclear power plants


* * *

Thoughts of Hiroshima

interrupted by

the microwave beeping

The second round of the coveted Setouchi-Matsuyama Haiku in English and Photo Contest ends Dec. 9. Readers can enter via (

In the next haiku, Doc Sunday employs a word coined by Hippocrates that means the dropping off of the bones.


cold technical term

falling leaves

James Cormack at the University of Aberdeen explains that in Greek it describes the falling of leaves from trees, and when pronounced, the “p” is silent in the root “ptosis.” Isao Soematsu is tickled by the sound of the “p” in a word made popular by the Nobel Prize winner Shin Yamanaka at Kyoto University when he successfully produced induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, that have the potential to grow into any type of body tissue. A stem is all that was left of a bright red leaf Neal Woolery picked up on a walk in Iowa. He remarks, “The autumn gold is spent.”


new addition to my wordbook

since the prize to iPS

* * *

Leaf stem

in my pocket

cold, cold day

Bright red leaves fire up Kiyoshi Fukuzawa. On a cold, crisp night in Montreal, Richard Jodoin keeps his fingers warm inside wool mittens.

Maple leaves . ..

my heart returns to

Quebec blazing

* * *

Evening walk

counting syllables

leaves rustle


The next issues of the Asahi Haikuist Network appear Dec. 7 and 21. Readers are invited to send haiku about the end of this year on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by e-mail to (

* * *

David McMurray has been writing the Asahi Haikuist Network column since April 1995, first for the Asahi Evening News. He is also the editor of OUTREACH, a bi-monthly column featuring international teachers in The Language Teacher of the Japan Association for Language Teacher (JALT).

McMurray is professor of intercultural studies at The International University of Kagoshima where he lectures on international haiku. At the Graduate School he supervises students who research haiku. He is a correspondent school teacher of Haiku in English for the Asahi Culture Center in Tokyo.

McMurray judges haiku contests organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asahi Culture Center, Matsuyama City, and Seinan Jo Gakuin University.

McMurray's books include: "Canada Project in Kyushu" Vol. 1 (2006) - Vol. 7 (2011), Pukeko: Fukuoka; "Haiku in English as a Japanese Language" (2003), Pukeko: Kitakyushu; and "Hospital Departmental Operations - A Guide for Trustees and Managers," Canadian Hospital Association: Ottawa, Canada.

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(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
  • David McMurray

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