A meeting of Swedish and Japanese haiku poets

June 1, 2023: On May 27, the Swedish Haiku Society, in cooperation with the Japanese Modern Haiku Association and the Haiku International Association, organized a special haiku session in Malmö, Sweden. Three haiku poets had traveled from Japan to Sweden for the occasion: Nishimura Gania, Tsushima Yasuko, and Hotta Kika. From Sweden, a number of members of the Swedish Haiku Society participated, both at the venue and online. It was also open for haiku poets from other Scandinavian countries who chose the online option. Lars Vargö, Head of ISDP’s Japan Center, and the President of the Swedish Haiku Society, was the main organizer of this event.

After a much-appreciated presentation of modern haiku in Japan today by Hotta Kika, Nishimura Gania spoke about the universality of haiku today and the initiatives taken by the city of Matsuyama to encourage haiku composition in other countries. Matsuyama was the birthplace of the poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), who coined the phrase “haiku”. Tsushima Yasuko presented her study Introduction to haiku. The Swedish haiku poets cited several examples of their own poetry and an interesting discussion on the challenges of translating haiku from Japanese to Swedish and vice versa followed.

The event was also a follow-up of the visit by 25 Japanese haiku poets to Sweden in 2018, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Japan. Generous support of the event was given by the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation.