02 December, 2010

Haiku - cultural bridge between Pak, Japan

Published in Pakistan Observer on 1 Dec. 2010
Sana Jamal
ISLAMABAD: A Japanese traditional poetry – ‘Haiku’ Mushaira "Basho Evening" was held at the National Art Gallery in Islamabad on Tuesday to pay a tribute to Matsuo Basho, the father of Haiku.

The event started with screening of Japan Video Topic (Hiraizumi: Home City of Bosho) and was co-organized by Embassy of Japan, Pakistan Haiku Society, National Art Gallery, National University of Modern Languages and Pakistan Japan Cultural Association.

Mr. Iftikhar Arif, Chairman, Pakistan Academy of Letters, was the presiding poet and chief guest of the Mushaira. While 14 renowned Pakistani Haiku poets participated in the Haiku Mushaira and recited two translations from the original Haiku poems composed by Basho and two of their own compositions.

The Japanese traditional poetry, Haiku has also gained popularity in Pakistan in recent years and has become one of the cultural bridges between Japan and Pakistan.
Many poets in Pakistan, today, practice this compact yet profound and evocative form of expression that leaves a lot of room for interpretation and subtlety.

In Japanese, the word "haiku" means "playful verse." Haiku is the most precise, compact and condensed form of Japanese poetry that dates back to the 17th century. The verses emphasize on the connection of human with nature.

A haiku is a non-rhymed verse genre which has five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five again in the last line. In haiku objective sensory images are used and subjective commentary is avoided.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), considered as the father of haiku, Yosa Buson (1716-1783) and Kobayashi Issa are among the most popular haiku masters. They are collectively known as the three Pillars of Haiku, who lived during Japan’s Edo-period (1600-1868).

The poetry of Basho (father of haiku) is internationally renowned. His poems were influenced by his firsthand experience of the world around him, often encapsulating the feeling of a scene in a few simple elements. During his lifetime, Basho was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku.
Basho was introduced to poetry at a young age, and after integrating himself into the intellectual scene of Edo he quickly became well-known throughout Japan. He made a living as a teacher, but renounced the social, urban life of the literary circles and was inclined to wander throughout the country, heading west, east, and far into the northern wilderness to gain inspiration for his writing.