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Haiku Picturebook for Children
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Haiku Picturebook for Children

By Keisuke Nishimoto
Illustrations by Kozo Shimizu
1998, 32 pages, hardback.
Book Description from Cover Flap
Book Description from the Book Forward

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Book Description from Cover Flap

The haiku for this picturebook were written by some of Japan's most famous masters; they were chosen by Keisuke Nishimoto, an award-winning author. He has arranged the haiku in a seasonal pattern, starting with spring and ending with winter, and has provided the commentary for each. Illustrations are by Kozo Shimizu, a well-known artist for children's books who has won both Japanese and international awards for his work.

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From the Book Forward

We have created this picturebook to introduce children to the world of the Japanese poem known as haiku. These brief word pictures consist of a pattern of words whose syllables follow a 5-7-5 pattern in Japanese. (Although the English translations do not follow the 5-7-5 pattern, it is hoped that they succeed in conveying the essence of each poem.) A brief commentary follows each haiku poem.

Haiku can express moods and feelings. They can capture the wonder of the changing seasons. They can act as a springboard that propels the reader into an ever-widening series of thoughts and ideas that start with just those first few words.

It is our hope that all children who read this book will enjoy both the haiku and accompanying illustrations. We anticipate that this introduction will inspire and encourage children to try to express their thoughts and feelings in this simple-yet ultimately complex-poetic format.

The haiku for this picturebook were written by some of Japan's most famous masters.

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) lost his mother at an early age and later ran away from home. He returned to his home village only when he was very old.

Yosano Buson (1716-1783) studied poetry and painting, achieving fame in both. He was one of Basho's students.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) Japan's greatest practitioner of haiku poetry, died in an inn in Osaka while on another of his travels through Japan.

Kaga Chiyojo (1703-1775) was the first female to achieve fame as a haiku poet.

Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) who was a modern poet published in both newspapers and poetry journals and loved baseball!

Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959) was a novelist who studied haiku with Masaoka Shiki.

Matsumoto Takashi (1906-1956) a modern haiku poet who was born into a family of Noh actors, studied haiku with Takahama Kyoshi.

Hattori Ransetsu (1654-1707) was a fervent disciple of Matsuo Basho. He shaved his head and became a Buddhist monk after Basho died.

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