Photo/Illutration (Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

change of season, still a night owl
--Tiffany Shaw-Diaz (Centerville, Ohio)

* * *

spring wind,
her braids ...
cherry blossoms
--Lilia Racheva (Rousse, Bulgaria)

* * *

balanced the day
the night owls are
home on time
--Pitt Buerken (Munster, Germany)

* * *

Cherry branches
placed in Bizenware
quiet blooms
--Masumi Orihara (Atsugi, Kanagawa)

* * *

Paper bird
oh paper bird
fly away
--Ja’Nai Mathis (Misawa, Aomori)

* * *

island dawn
the soft calls of waxwings
amid apple blossoms
--Kristen Lindquist (Camden, Maine)

* * *

drifting blossom
still feeling the same
her caresses
--John Hawkhead (Bradford on Avon, U.K.)

* * *

sudden frost
the spring cherry
holds its bloom
--Joanne van Helvoort (The Netherlands)

* * *

aborted buds
in former times
--Rosemarie Schuldes (Mattsee, Austria)

* * *

plum petals
winter receipts
--Eugeniusz Zacharski (Radom, Poland)


We came to know
what our cat was telling us
fifteen years passed on
--Kiyoshi Fukuzawa (Tokyo)

The haikuist’s faithful cat remained at his bedside until the end, having contentedly closed its eyes facing the warm spring sunlight. The haikuist had mailed the next haiku to us over a decade ago.

narrowed my sunny room
long sleep

This issue marks 25 years of coming to know the essence of haiku composed in English by our readers, veterans and debutantes alike. Mailed to us last month from Montreal, this haiku from Richard Jodoin recalled the year 1995, when The North Wall was erected on the U.S. border and inscribed with a poem to honor Canadian veterans who were lost during the Vietnam War.

My dolls of G.I. Joe
in a black cardboard
Vietnam Memorial

Dennis Woolbright wrote his first haiku 25 years ago for the Asahi Evening News. Often traveling alone from his retirement home in Vietnam to see family in Japan, he continues to mail haiku. This one was printed in the newspaper’s Life section on Nov. 22, 1998.

Traveling alone
south to north on hope
change after change

This haiku was printed in the Asahi Evening News on Monday, April 3, 2000, when cherry blossoms were in full bloom in Tokyo. It was composed by Kennosuke Tachibana, whose work had appeared in the first column on Saturday, April 1, 1995.

spring is here to stay
from aeon

Isabella Kramer made her debut today with this one-line poem: born between old leaves snowdrops. Promising, “I would like to be a regular contributor to the Asahi Haikuist Network,” Jay Friedenberg mailed this haiku from New York.

rip tide warning
a boogie board spins
in twisting foam

Writing in Canterbury, Andy McLellan has sometimes felt squeezed by the competition. Pitt Buerken nursed a young communicator in Munster, Germany.

for my moment ...
plum blossom

* * *

patient baby doll
the one-year-old needs someone
to talk to

Marking a quarter-century of networking noteworthy poets with readers, Yutaka Kitajima wrote this haiku “in deference to the 25th anniversary of the issue of this noteworthy English Haiku column.” His debut poem, received in 2013, advised us to always remain vigilant.

passengers caught up
in the Net

* * *

A big yawn
grandma tickles me
under the arm

Adam Wahlfeldt lives in Sweden where “winter still holds body and mind in a firm grip,” he reported, and “the season’s beauty, yet, tickles the mind with changes ahead.”

early spring storm
dapples of magenta
cover the ground

Kristen Lindquist awoke to 50 shades of grey and pink. Determined, “Oh, man, I’ve been trying to write that one for years ...” she tried again to capture the moment a flock of hungry birds stripped a crabapple.

island dawn
the blush of apple blossoms
ravaged by waxwings

Wearing rose-colored glasses, Zdenka Mlinar shared a positive opinion in Zagreb, Croatia. Guliz Mutlu’s haiku harks back to a 1980 coup d’etat by Turkish Armed Forces.

everything is pink
in the voluntary blood donors alley
Japanese cherry trees

* * *

forty springs later
grandma asks me
uncle’s uniform

Writing from Cetinje, Montenegro, Tomislav Sjekloca came to realize rites of passage are bittersweet. Muskaan Ahuja attached photo-haiku to keep in touch from Chandigarh, India. Beate Conrad e-mailed fond wishes from Hildesheim, Germany: “Hope you are well in 2020!” Ten years ago, she sent a “memory as a student in Germany, when Primeur (Nouveau) had been just introduced.”

first time--
she turns her favorite doll
towards the wall

* * *

long-distance affair--
sent him a gif
of hugging cats

* * *

Valentine’s Day
bit by bit love declared
to a spam folder

* * *

very young wine
from the vault below
sparkling laughter

Kyoto-based writer Murasaki Sagano admires haiku regardless of its vintage. In 2010, she sent a haiku to sensitively suggest compositions can be painful to read. In 2011, another of her haiku was printed following the tragic earthquake and tsunami. It was later reprinted in the book, “Mother’s Voice,” and this month it will be highlighted in music at The Royal Danish Theater event, “Bloom Festival” in Copenhagen.

Young and old
ad hoc lyricists
cherry blossoms

* * *

moderating pain
touch of keys

* * *

Mother’s pain
Into the spring sea
Her last sleep

Seasonal selections that are creatively curated and highlighted with a colorful sketch by Mitsuaki Kojima have become the hallmarks of the Asahi Haikuist Network. Every single day, for close to 25 years, Satoru Kanematsu has delivered a postcard with freshly penciled haiku and hand-colored haiga.

Nearing spring
twelve colored pencils
standing by

Haiku blooms eternal at The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears April 17. Readers are invited to send haiku related to gardening tools on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or e-mail to <>.

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David McMurray has been writing the Asahi Haikuist Network column since April 1995, first for the Asahi Evening News. He is on the editorial board of the Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, columnist for the Haiku International Association, and is editor of Teaching Assistance, a column featuring graduate students in The Language Teacher of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT).

McMurray is professor of intercultural studies at The International University of Kagoshima where he lectures on international haiku. At the Graduate School he supervises students who research haiku. He is a correspondent school teacher of Haiku in English for the Asahi Culture Center in Tokyo.

McMurray judges haiku contests organized by Ito En Oi Ocha, Asahi Culture Center, Matsuyama City, Polish Haiku Association, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seinan Jo Gakuin University, and Only One Tree.

McMurray's award-winning books include: "Only One Tree Haiku, Music & Metaphor" (2015); "Canada Project Collected Essays & Poems" Vols. 1 -- 8 (2013); and "Haiku in English as a Japanese Language" (2003).