Painting a Haiku in Ink

A haiku is a poem written in three lines and evokes a feeling or a mood. A haiku is written in 17 syllables broken down into three lines of 5 - 7 - 5 syllables.

A haiku must have a season word - a kigo. A kigo can be the name of an insect or an animal, or something from nature.

A kigo may also be a celebration because in Japan celebrations are often linked to seasons. A haiku also has a kireji - a cutting word.

Kireji stop the flow of verse - just for a tiny moment - to allow the reader to pause and form a picture in the mind.

It is said that haiku reflect the inner Japanese soul.

haiku kanji
spring small.jpg

Spring - Haru

summer small.jpg

Summer - Natso

autumn small.jpg

Autumn - Aki

winter kanji small.jpg

Winter - Fuyu

Haiku softly sings
and a word picture is formed.
A feast for the mind.
haiku spring steps.jpg

summer kanji steps.jpg

haiku autumn steps.jpg

winter kanji steps.jpg

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Basho is a famous Japanese haiku poet.

Basho developed haiku to the level of art.

Basho changed the essence of haiku,

from humorous and entertaining verses to

verses about the beauty of the nature,

solitude and relief of the soul.

For Basho, haiku was the quest for the

nature and the life.

Read a selection of Basho's haiku


We were inspired by Basho's haiku in this session. First, we used a straw to blow ink into emotive and delicate trees.

We chose a season and decorated our trees with tiny pieces of coloured tissue paper, reflecting the time of year.

Finally, we borrowed one of Basho's beautiful haiku to accompany our artwork before adding a ribbon to hang it on the wall..

We will give one to Akika next week, to thank her for showing us how to cook a special Japanese treat.




The hot day swept away
into the sea by the
Mogami River

Bright red the
pitiless sum
autumn winds

Butterflies flit
in a field of sunlight
that is all