Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that is 3 lines long and follows a set number of syllables for each line.
2nd line : 7 syllables
3rd line : 5 syllables
Haikus are normally written about nature and generally contain a Kigo: a word to represent the season in which it is set.
The best-known Japanese haiku is Bashō‘s “old pond”:
This separates into syllables as:
- fu-ru-i-ke ya (5) (old pond)
- ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7) (a frog leaps in)
- mi-zu no o-to (5) (water’s sound)
An alternate translation, which preserves the syllable counts in English could be;
At the age old pond
A frog leaps into water
A deep resonance
- Here are 3 more that I wrote for the Year 4 classes at school. They worked well as they are studying Poetry in their classroom, so when Haiku is introduced in Japanese lessons it adds authenticity to the topic. These can even be used individually to introduce Japanese food or sports or for Hiroshima Day.
Anime and Manga Haiku are fun too. Recently the Yr 4 students have been writing about Australian sports, animals and pets and popular kids’ activities (yes, Minecraft too)
Haiku are great for so many students as they are short, fun, and as they do not have to rhyme, relatively easy to write.
Enjoy Haiku with your classes. The PDFs of these can be found in Teachers’ Domain- eBooks and Resources.