October 3, 2015

Haiga Workshop

The other day, at the WHAC8, I had a chance to talk about haiga and haiga contest I judge. I stepped on the stage and stood behind the podium with my lecture notes. I looked at the audience, whose faces seem to say "tired", what with all the lectures they had heard all day. I myself was tired, too. And suddenly, I did not want to talk from my notes, but rather, I wanted to do something else. So, I walked around the podium with wireless microphone in my hand, stood facing directly to the audience, and announced that I would begin a haiga workshop. Faces lit up a bit and eyes looked at me with curiosity.

This move was a challenge for me, because I had never done before any workshop of haiga. But I had then an idea. I would share with the audience the steps I usually take when I make haiga myself. The steps I take at the early stage of haiga making do not required artistic skills but just mental images, which almost everyone is capable of. This I mentioned to the audience first.

I said, let's take Basho's famous haiku of old pond.

Old pond

a frog jumps in

the sound of water

(There are numerous translations of this haiku. This one happened to come up in my mind then)

 First, I asked them, "What colors are suitable to this haiku?", "Cool colors like blue and green?"

 A lot of hands went up.

"How about warm colors like red and orange?"

No hands up.

Next, I asked "Do we need the figure of frog?"

Some hands went up, but only hesitatingly.

I mentioned at this point the anecdote cocerning the making of this haiku. One time, Basho heard the sound of something jumping into the water. It must have been so soothing that he thought like “Hey, this is a wonderful sound. I must make some haiku out of it”  The sound had been made by like a small nut dropping from a tree branch, or by a frog, which is most likely, hence the frog. But, important element here is the sound, not the frog per se. So, let’s forget about the figure of a frog. Including it would be too literal anyway. Instead, let’s think about the sound. 

How do you visualize the sound? Any suggestion?, I asked the audience.

No response

After a few uncomfortable moments, I asked “How does the sound reach your ears?”

A hand went up, saying that it was the compression and decompression of the air, like series of air rings expanding.

Then I say, “That reminds me of ripples on the surface of water. That is visual enough. Can we use the ripple to represent the sound?

Everybody said, YES!

 “Back to the anecdote” I said, “Basho contemplated some time to come up with the first line, “old pond”. He tried several versions before settled on “old pond”. 

Now, what kind of old pond did he imagine? Old muddy pond, or old pond with more or less clear water?

The audience prefered the latter.

I agreed with them, saying that if the water was muddy, the sound would not have been a soothing one.

At this point, I summarized our discussion by listing the element we have chosen.

Cool colors like blue and green

No frog figure


Pond with clear water

I said, “We now have the list of mental images for this haiku. Keeping the list in mind, take out your camera or pick up your favorite drawing or painting tools, and start working. You do not need to be a professional photographer or a painter. No matter what the level of your skill is, so long as you include all these elememts in your work, you will be able to make a haiga. (end)


( My version is here: http://seehaikuhere.blogspot.jp/2015/09/basho-calligraphy.html )




Haiga exhibition in Warsaw, Poland

Master haiga artists are running a haiga exhibition in Poland.
The venue is at Bialolecka Culture Centre in Warsaw, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 25.

Exhibited haiga works are the collaboration haiga by Tomasz Budziak (photograph), and Robet Kania (haiku).

Here are some photos of the exhibition.  Tomasz-san sent them to me.
If you happen to be nearby, it is worth a visit.

October 2, 2015

Haiga book 2 ( Basho+me)

Here is another Haiga book I just made.
This one contains 45 color plates of Matsuo Basho+Kuniharu Shimizu Haiga.
Basho's haiku are selected from "the Narrow Road to the Deep North" and "Nozarashi-Kiko".

The book is for sale. A copy is 12USD or 10EURO.
For more info, write email to me.

October 1, 2015

Logo and naming assignment

An old friend of mine visited me the other day.
When I started designing homepages back in 1995, this friend helped me quite a bit. He has been working as a system engineer since then, quite successfully, and now he wants to explore IT technology that helps the challenged people. He asked me to come up with a new company name and its logo.
We talked for about two hours; he talked about the concept of the new company, and I tried to clarify what he was saying. 
A few days later, after having tossed around in my mind various images pertaining to the concept, I came up with the followings:

As for the name, I made up a hybrid one, that is, Japanese + English words.
Mina means everybody in JP. Well is, well.
As for the mark, I made an organic shape of M, which is turned around to become W. Combined the two in a dynamic form.

September 25, 2015

Haiga book

I used an online photo service to make this Haiga book. Haiga included are collaboration between Ban'ya Natsuishi and me. There are 29 color plates in it.
This service is on-demand so you can make just one copy. I made only two copies because I was not sure about the color reproduction, which turned out to be better than I expected.

The next book will be about Basho+me, and I plan to make selection from "Oku no Hosomichi", and "Nozarashi Kiko". There will be 45 color plates.

By the way, this Haiga book is for sale. 7USD or 6Euro (this price includes postage).
For purchasing, just send me an email: seehaikuhere@gmail.com

September 19, 2015

The next WHA Conference 2017: Parma, Italy

Posed with me is Mr. Romano Zeraschi, who will be instrumental in organizing the next WHAC. He was one of the foreign participants at WHAC8, and has reported about the next conference to be held in Parma, Italy. Romano is one of the regular submitters of the monthly haiga contest I judge. He and I will plan a haiga exhibition at the next conference.

September 16, 2015

Basho's calligraphy

On the web, I happened to find the image of Basho's calligraphy, the one with the famous old pond haiku.
I digitized it and added it to my haiga of the same haiku. Here it is.

September 12, 2015

WHA 1st. Haiku Contest, 3b

There are two 3rd. Place awards. This is the second one.
Haiku by J. Kato

Aging is a ballade
Let's blow
the blue sky

Haiga by Kuniharu Shimizu

September 11, 2015

WHA 1st. Haiku Contest, 3

This haiku won the 3rd. Place in the contest. It is by Leonilda Alfarrobinha of Portugal.
Haiga by Kuniharu Shimizu

September 10, 2015

WHA 1st. Haiku Contest, 2

This haiku by Shinji Noya won the second place prize.

The night sky
of a tropical day
Add to it one more earth!

Haiga by Kuniharu Shimizu

September 8, 2015

Final Event at WHA 8th Conference

 Two-day session was finalizsed by calligraphy writing by all the participants of the WHA conference.
Mongolians and Vietnamese were among them. They wrote own haiku, short message,and such.

September 7, 2015

WHA 1st. Haiku Contest, 1

This is the haiga of the haiku that won the 1st Place.
White fingers
killing a man,
smart phone

Haiku by Kei Kinjyo (Okinawa, Japan)
Haiga by Kuniharu Shimizu

This haiga was given to the winner as a part of the prize.