Ever since we began, Simply Haiku has been an English language Japanese short form poetry journal. We respect the Japanese usage of metrics, kigo, meter, aesthetics, the seen and the unseen. All of us come from different cultures and, therefore, have aesthetics, kigo, and cultural memories indigenous to our own lives.
Simply Haiku believes the genres given to us by Japan have certain principles, commonalities, metric schemata, kigo usage, etc. that if not utilized, change the genres into something they are not. We respect tradition and change but won’t call, for instance, a 5 line free verse poem using metrics that deviate from S/L/S/L/L metrics and omit any form of aesthetics, Japanese or from one’s own culture, a tanka. Each of the genres: tanka, haiku, haiga, haibun, and renga, have distinct traits that define them as such. We feature interviews, essays, and articles by the world’s most prominent scholars and experts in the field to educate our readers. As in Japan, we must study, practice, and learn the basics before we can pioneer new sub-genres.
|About Simply Haiku|
Simply Haiku is unlike any other online Japanese short form journal.
For some it's an enigma. Saša Važić and I, as Co-owners, don’t play follow the leader and we don't cater to egotistical prima dona's who think they're God's gift to one or all of the genres of Japanese poetry we present in the English language.
We've garnered respect by those who take Japanese short form seriously in the academic communities, because, instead of bastardizing or trying to turn the aforementioned genres into so called "Western"genres, we advocate and support a deeper study into the hermeneutics, aestheticism, historical foundations, etc. of these genres.
Japan has given the world a wonderful gift. We think it's imperative to better understand the Japanese mind and how they view and understand art. The Anglo-Western world primarily is built upon a German-based object-biased (subjective/mono) educational system as does most of Asia, including Japan. Prior to the Meiji Reconstruction Era and the Anglo-Western colonization of the Japanese University system via its adoption of the German-based university system, the majority of Japanese poets and artists adhered to an event-biased (process/koto) poetic, literature, philosophical, and artistic system. The two systems viewed and understood languages differently. The Yamato language spoken during Basho's time cannot be translated accurately using the modern Japanese language. Many meanings are different.
In addition, for our interviews with Japanese scholars and leading poets, we've asked Japanese speakers to translate questions into the Japanese language, then translate the interviewees' answers into English for Simply Haiku's over 12,000 readers.
We find it ludicrous that some well-meaning but misinformed pseudo scholars are trying to "westernize" Japanese short form poetry, when they know so little about the Japanese mindset, the complexities of the language, and why the Japanese use the aesthetics they used before the Anglo-West, under U.S. Admiral Perry, forced Japan to open up its borders to the West. Blyth, Henderson, the Haiku Society of America definitions, etc. are useful, but they in themselves are not sufficient to give students of the aforementioned genres enough information to base their conceptualizations on.
We are foremost, an academic journal and a showcase for the finest in traditional English- language Japanese short form poetry written internationally. We also include, with English translations, the poets' original languages when possible.
Because a person or an ethnic group can speak English does not mean he or they think alike or have the same definitions for every English word. The spirit of each person is diversified as are cultural memories.
Robert D. Wilson is writing a series of articles for each issue that have and will generate controversy because Modern Japanese haiku and English language haiku are becoming a single mindset that either jettisons the need for a kigo in favor of key words, and/or has adopted an Anglo-Western conceptualization of kigo, which varies greatly from the Yamato language mindset of Basho, Buson, Issa, and Chiyo-ni, a mindset that emphasizes the zoka, and its relationship with kigo.
Our staff is a truly international staff with editors from United States, New Zealand, Serbia, and the Philippines.
There are many fine journals online and we are but one. Read our journal, read other fine journals, and get as much information as you can from reading them. Reading is an unbiased bridge that creates understanding.
Robert D. Wilson