Yoshino, born 1915, exemplifies an extraordinary woman figure
in modern haiku. She possess great talents in haiku writing,
which in a way is no surprise based on her background. Yoshino
learned and was exposed to haiku since childhood. Her father
was a friend of Shiki, a haiku master that modernized haiku
writing. Mother Yoshiko is not only active as a poet but also
works hard to advance the internationalization of haiku by
conducting regular international haiku salons in Matsuyama.
At these salons, Yoshino encourages haiku writers to write
pieces in their own native tongue, and there are no (or very
few) other haiku masters who are using this visionary approach.
her haiku collections from the Tsuru book published
by Deep North Press, I have observed that she places
a great emphasis on elements of the nature in her haiku works.
She indicated in the preface of Sakura that
Lee Gurga, a famous American haiku writer, also observed the same nature theme in Yoshikos works. He commented in the preface of Tsuru, As we have come to expect of the Japanese, Yoshiko lives a life that is touched by nature with which human life has a fundamental and reciprocal relationship. A nature that is always ready to give guidance to those who are willing to listen.
Haiku Mind, a paper written for the Global Haiku Festival
in Decatur, Illionis, in April 2000, once again Yoshiko indicated
her passion for the nature: . . . since the essence
of haiku is love of natureof the whole creationI
sincerely hope this explosion of love will occur in the minds
of millions of people and will be passed on and on until it
covers the whole earth and enables the earth to fulfill its
natural life span.
excellent works of Yoshiko that focuses on natural elements
has been chosen to be discussed in the following section.
haiku creates a very vivid picture of the nature scene she
observed. For a person that has not had the opportunity to
visit such countries as Japan to personally experience this
scene, this haiku will paint a vivid picture for them. The
one hundred cranes created an image of complete
black and white. They were all standing and waiting for the
leader to command take off. When they take off, the descriptive
phrase of like a billowing wave created a very
strong image of the effects when these amazing creatures all
take off at the same time.
is another nature haiku with the presence of cranes. Yoshino
does a great job using metaphors of what each scene looks
like for feels like when observing these magnificent birds.
For those who have never seen them before, the metaphor is
extremely descriptive. For those that are fortunate to have
experience the feeling themselves, this haiku just brings
back memories vividly. It is especially effective when she
described the cranes as water streaming. The last verse through
the heavens could be seen as a descriptive phrase or
it could also have a symbolic meaning. In Japan, cranes represent
a traditional symbol of longevity and family devotion, thus
the use of heavens fits very well with cranes.
haiku contains many natural elements: the mountain, a tree,
the moon, and cherry blossoms. It provides a colorful and
vivid under the shadow of the moonlight. Aside from the natural
elements this haiku seem to also contain a snap shot of a
story. It seems like she is waiting for someone at night.
While pacing back and forth waiting for the other person,
she observed that the moon was passing from tip to tip of
the tree branches. Then the loneliness feeling creeps in when
she indicates the cherry blossom chill. The cherry blossoms
falling also seem to be a metaphor for the end of something
beautiful . . . possibly a relationship.
haiku, again, contains various natural elements; the cherry
blossoms are indicated here once more. This piece is using
natural elements to depict her sorrows in the heart. I picture
a mountain with barren trees, where there use to be beautiful
cherry blossom. But nothing stays the same all the time and
cherry blossoms is not an exception. Now that the cherry blossoms
are all gone, the beauty is gone, but the strong mountain
is still there standing.
is a very descriptive haiku with nature elements. For those
that have never seen a rainbow by the ocean before, this presented
a very unique image. It is interesting of her word choice.
She chose to associate the word born with the
appearance of a rainbow. It is a very unique way to think
of rainbows. Also, her descriptive word for the rainbow
faint was very powerful too. That seems to be most
appropriate word to describe a rainbow because their colors
are so soft.
image in this haiku is absolutely gorgeous. The moon that
is in the sky and the moon that is reflected in the lake both
shining on each other. This creates a picture of a full moon,
pure and white, shining in the sky. The lake is calm and sparkling,
depicting the image of the moon from the sky; it is almost
like a mirrored reflection. The overall image is calm and
peaceful and enjoyment of nature.
Simply from the selected works by Yoshino, one can easily identify her love for nature. She knows how to capture the best from a nature scene using the number of limited words in a haiku. She also likes to share her love for nature and haiku with others. As Lee Gurga indicated, Yoshikos gift to the haiku world, and to world haiku, does not merely result form her talents as a poet. Through her teaching, and particularly her devotion to the internationalization of haiku, she is a true visionary. Yoshiko is truly a master in haiku writing and plays an essential role in the international haiku movement.
Xiu Ying Zheng
©2003 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors