Iku's Story / Poems

Christmas Haiku

The Art of Haiku: Capturing Moments in 17 Japanese Sounds

Have you ever heard of haiku, Japan’s unique form of poetry? It’s a simple yet profound art that weaves messages into short phrases using the 17 syllables of the Japanese pentagram. Explore this fascinating world where language is distilled into concise forms.

In the image above, you can see that the Japanese characters form a complete haiku. What is distinctive is that he uses all three types of Japanese characters: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. If you read these letters out loud, you will find that [za/tsu/to/u/ga/ka/ki/ke/su/wa/ka/re/ku/ri/su/ma/su] is 17. You can see that there is a sound.

The first five sounds [za/tsu/to/u/ga] mean “noisy things”. The next seven sounds are further divided into four and three sounds, each of which becomes an independent word. The meaning of the first four sounds [ka/ki/ke/su] of the seven sounds is “to erase.” The second half is “farewell”. The last five sounds [ku/ri/su/ma/su] mean “Christmas Day.”

So let’s unravel the meaning behind these 17 sounds. Amidst the din of the Christmas crowd, the voices of the couple saying goodbye to their friend are drowned out in the noise. However, it can be seen with a smile as a unique feature of this time of year.

For those familiar with Japanese, it’s important to understand the depth of meaning conveyed in just 17 syllables. The ability to encapsulate a story, emotion, or scene within this short poetic structure is truly amazing.

For example, the relationship between two characters can be interpreted differently depending on the reader. It may have just been a formal greeting between acquaintances who happened to meet each other on the street. After meeting up with an old friend for the first time in a while and reminiscing about old times, it may be a temporary farewell while promising to meet again next year. These may be the last words exchanged between lovers who were in love with each other and have to break up for some reason, with complicated feelings. In each case, the characters’ feelings are skillfully depicted as being sublimated by the excitement of Christmas.

This haiku reminds us that in the chaos of life, moments of connection are fleeting. It’s a feeling that many people can relate to, transcending language barriers. The beauty of haiku lies not only in its brevity, but also in its ability to evoke deep emotions with a few carefully chosen words.

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