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(hī`ko͞o), an unrhymed Japanese poem recording the essence of a moment keenly perceived, in which nature is linked to human nature. It usually consists of 17 jion (Japanese symbol-sounds). The term is also used for foreign adaptations of the haiku, notably the poems of the imagistsimagists,
group of English and American poets writing from 1909 to about 1917, who were united by their revolt against the exuberant imagery and diffuse sentimentality of 19th-century poetry.
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. These poems are usually written in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. See senryusenryu
, a Japanese poem structurally similar to the haiku but primarily concerned with human nature. It is usually humorous or satiric. Used loosely, the term means a poem similar to the haiku that does not meet the criteria for haiku.
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See the anthology ed. by H. G. Henderson, Introduction to Haiku (1958).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genre of Japanese poetry; a three-line poem of 17 syllables in lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. Haiku derives from hokku, which in turn was a development of the first half-stanza of the tanka (hokku means “beginning verses”). Haiku is distinguished from the tanka by its simple poetic language, rejection of earlier canonical rules, and the increased importance of association, elliptical style, and allusion.

Haiku passed through several stages of development. The poets Arakida Moritake (1465–1549) and Yamazaki Sokan (1465–1553) saw haiku as a purely comic genre. Haiku was transformed into the leading lyric genre by Matsuo Basho (1644–94); lyric description of landscape became the chief content of haiku. The thematic range of haiku was broadened by Yosa (or Taniguchi) Buson (1716–83). In the 18th century the comic haiku developed to the point that it became a separate humorous and satiric genre called senryu. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Kobayashi Issa (1763–1828) introduced patriotic themes into haiku. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Masaoka Shiki borrowed from painting to introduce into haiku the technique of “sketching from nature” (shasei), which facilitated the development of realism in haiku.


An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern. Edited by Miyamory Asataro. Tokyo, 1953.

Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei, vols. 45, 58. Tokyo, 1959.

In Russian translation:

Iaponskie trekhstishiia: Khokku. Moscow, 1973.


Grigor’eva, T., and V. Logunova. laponskaia literatura. Moscow, 1964.
Haiku koza. Tokyo, 1932.
Blyth, R. H. Haiku, vols. 1–6. Tokyo, 1952.
Haikai and haiku. Tokyo, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, hokku
an epigrammatic Japanese verse form in 17 syllables
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"Above all," Kerouac wrote in his journal, "a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and makes a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella."
* 63 per cent of the haikus on the General Elections 2019 are positive, leading to 2x times where Young India chooses the politician over the party itself.
Part 2 begins with a chapter on Yeats in which Hakutani draws a clear distinction between Pound's theory of imagism derived from haiku and Yeats's preference for indirect, symbolist poetry in keeping with the ethos of Noh drama.
The haiku's short length makes it the most popular form of poetry.
TWITTER may have increased its maximum character count to 280 from 140 but there's always haiku.
To read these absurd haikus and be like, "Wait, I totally do that sometimes and it is not working!" I don't know if that counts as a "literary function," but in those instances where we are letting a stereotype or an assumption about ourselves hold us back, I definitely am trying to urge people to not give in to that.
Its true shining and strengthening in its authentic form comes to life only after Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) begins to write haiku poems and establishes their final classical form.
(http://lasp.colorado.edu/maven/goingtomars/send-your-name/) You can submit poems until July 1 , after which there will be a public vote to determine which haikus make the cut.
In her introduction to Book of Haikus, a collection that adds unpublished archival poems as a supplement to Kerouac's manuscript, Regina Weinreich reports that friends said it was "best not to show Kerouac at his worst" and to "throw away the clinkers" but that she has nonetheless "chosen many against their sound counsel" (xxxix).