How is Haiku writing in English as a Japanese person
Is English Haiku more difficult than Japanese Haiku?
After I started writing on Medium, I was surprised that so many people love Haiku poems. Haiku is a Japanese poetry style, composed of 5–7–5 sounds. In English, you count by syllable while we count by letter in Japanese.
I learned some Haiku poems in Japanese when I was at school, but I didn’t compose them myself. As I read lots of Haiku poems in English on Medium now, I wanted to try to write English Haiku poetry.
I read about how to write Haiku in English including the basic knowledge and principal rules. I started writing Haiku poems in English and I found out that it is not too difficult.
I am writing both in English and Japanese on this platform. Sometimes I write poetry in two languages on the same page, as a translation, like this post:
So, I was wondering if I could do the same thing with Haiku, although I found it very difficult.
Haiku is supposed to have a total of 17 sound units, right? They are a 5–7–5 composition. They are syllables in English and letters in Japanese (basically one letter corresponds to one syllable in Japanese, so it makes sense).
The fact is that 17 syllables in English can tell more than 17 letters in Japanese.
So, which is more difficult, Haiku in English or in Japanese?
I think, surprisingly, it is easier to write Haiku in English. Maybe because I am too talkative and it is not easy to minimise the words. I realised that it is almost impossible to translate my Haiku poems written in English into Japanese, although it may be possible the other way around.
I am not an expert and I don’t really like to follow the rules, so my Haiku poems in English will be rough and flexible sometimes, out of the basic rules. For example, people make some Haiku poems in Japanese with 5–7–6 or 5–7–4 or whatever. If there are more syllable than the 5–7–5, they call it “Ji- amari,” which literally means ‘more letters.’ If it is shorter than 5–7–5, they call it “Ji-tarazu,” meaning ‘not enough letters.’ That makes me feel more relaxed. Some people might not be very happy to violate the principals but I will go my way anyway.