Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Her birthday the odometer nothing but sevens

--Ian Willey (Takamatsu, Kagawa)

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Brand new hybrid

the dashboard icons outnumber

my birthdays

--Dottie Piet (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

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70th birthday . ..

I get the senior discount

at Popeye’s

--Ed Bremson (Raleigh, North Carolina)

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summer sky

a child draws a kite

out of the blue

--Adjei Agyei-Baah (Ghana)

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explaining the call

to a child

--Lee Nash (Poitou-Charentes, France)

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. . . beyond time

--Doris Pascolo (Milano, Italy)

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fifty years ago

students cheered

--Satoru Kanematsu (Nagoya)

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two lovers gaze

at the Northern Lights

--Tiffany Shaw-Diaz (Dayton, Ohio)

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summer space shuttles

from our campfire

shooting sparks

--Justice Joseph Prah (Accra, Ghana)

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summer cottage--

I watch the ocean

through father’s spyglass

--Eva Limbach (Saarbrucken, Germany)




Sparkling night in Venice--

Lost in a maze of calli

we lose ourselves

--Luciana Moretto (Treviso, Italy)

The haikuist and her lover disappear down narrow Venetian streets and alleys. When Teiichi Suzuki arrived at John F. Kennedy airport, he was required to pose for a photo and imprint his 10 digits. Swiss haikuist Elisa Allo posed for a classic charcoal sketch, or perhaps a watercolor, in Place du Terte, the famed art district of Paris.


am I a criminal?

fingerprint check

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Montmartre . ..

a wedding portrait better

than a thousand photos

The star festival, tanabata was celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month on the traditional Japanese calendar. The festival is based on a Chinese legend about two hardworking celestial lovers, a seamstress and a cowherd. Kiyoshi Fukuzawa encounters someone new in Tokyo.

A new friend

his career unknown--

speaks Chinese

According to the story, the father allows them to spend time together only once a year. It is a long wait each year for the daughter, represented by the star of Vega. While waiting she weaves beautiful clothes by the heavenly river, the Milky Way. Minako Noma falls silent while praying in Matsuyama.


Japanese iris garden, alone

by the mountain temple

Noma loves the soft touch and smell of flowers.

Blue water lily

flowing in the breeze

so eager to touch

The exact equivalent of the traditional seventh day of the seventh month in the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, but it usually occurs in August. In many communities, however, tanabata celebrants steadfastly adhere to the auspicious pair of sevens date. Milanese poet Eufemia Griffo eyes Bellatrix, the third brightest star in the Orion constellation. The blue star forms the giant’s shoulder and its Latin name means a female warrior.

Gamma Orionis . ..

a blue star crosses

the July sky

Satoru Kanematsu suggests an idea to his granddaughter.

Let them go--

the fireflies might turn

into stars

Switching from the lunar to the Gregorian calendar in 1873 brought about numerous disputes as to whether traditional events should be rescheduled and when they should be referred to in haiku.

Since kigo are affiliated with seasonal events, modern haiku poets have had to reconsider the application of haiku nomenclature and their sequence to the seasons. Junko Yamada turns the leaves of her new poetry book, “Four Seasons” by Satoru Kanematsu.

Scented page

new poetry book;

brilliant green leaves


The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears July 21. Readers are invited to send haiku about summer in the city on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by 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).