f/k/a . . . the archives

August 10, 2007

f/k/a’s 2007 ito en oi ocha winners

Filed under: haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 4:20 pm

Oi Ocha is “The most popular green tea beverage in Japan,” and its parent company Ito En, Ltd. has been sponsoring the “ITO EN Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest” every year since 1989. Ito En says:

  • This contest has contributed to the rejuvenation of haiku, a Japanese traditional short poem only seventeen characters in length. Endorsed by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture and Science,
  • this contest features haiku promoting free expression . . . What makes this contest unique is the acceptance of both “New Style” haiku and traditional haiku. To encourage as much participation as possible, any themes can be chosen, and “New Style” haiku do not have to include kigo (words symbolizing one or more of the four seasons). Moreover, “New Style” haiku, whether in Japanese or English, do not need to follow the 5-7-5-syllable format—the most common taught outside of Japan.
  • Last year, the seventeenth contest drew over 1,650,000 entries and different haiku (the most entries ever).
  • The award-winning haiku are not only compiled and printed in an annual ITO EN publication entitled Jiyu Gatari (Free Expression) but also printed and appear on Oi Ocha brand products.

At least four of f/k/a‘s Honored Guest Poets had winning haiku in Ito En 17th Contest last year — Andrew Riutta, Roberta Beary, Ed Markowski and Jim Kacian. The winners in this year’s 2007 ITO EN Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest — #18 — have been announced. Congratulations to Roberta, Ed and Jim, who have repeated their success. [If other f/k/a family members have also won, I hope they will let haikuEsq know.] You can find their winning poems, with Japanese translations here. Because few of our readers outside of Japan will get to see the winning haiku in the 2007 Free Expression anthology or on Oi Ocha tea products, we’re presenting the poems by our Honored Guests for your entertainment and edification — and to urge you to submit poems for the 19th Contest. [Need more incentive? Ed and Jim each won Y30,000 in prize money last year for their Judge's Award poems; Roberta's Sponsor's Award comes this year with Y20,000 in prize money.]

rolling thunder
the deeper darkness
of distance

…………………………………. by Jim Kacian

just enough moon
for this firefly to land
on my finger

…………………………………………………. by roberta beary

hunting stories
the old cat yawns
& walks away

……………………………… by Ed Markowski

Here are Jim and Ed’s Judge’s Award winners from last year’s 17th Ito En Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest:

Lightning—
the fly resettles
in the same spot

…………………………….. by jim kacian

factory entrance
moths spin round & round
a bare light bulb

………………………………….. by ed markowski

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