When translating Japanese haiku, it is essential to work with footnotes, since you just can not expect the reader to know all the cultural implications given in a kigo or place name or other words drenched in Japanese culture.

I have written more about this in the chapter about translating haiku, see the LINK below.

Japanese Culture and Haiku
Not kigo, but Japanese ...

Gabi Greve


Haiku with a strong regional flavor are more and more common and should not be rejected by an editor, just because they contain words not easily understood by an outsider.

When writing haiku about your local area, it will be adivsable to add a footnote or LINK to the place or plant or phenomenon you are describing. Also if you use local dialect, which is well possible with modern haiku, it is necessary to make a footnote with the explanation.

With the internet and all the possibilities of searching, it is now so easy to add a LINK. Haiku should enhance our understanding of other cultures, not only the Japanese but all the worldwide cultures which have by now produced haiku poets.

It takes just a bit of effort to add a note to your haiku, but I am sure it will enhance the reader's pleasure if you offer it and not expect the reader to google for it by him/her self.

The World Kigo Database encourages the use of local words, placenames, dialects and all. But we have to give some kind of explanation to the reader of a different area not familiar with your sourroundings. It might be the beginning of a new regional saijiki if the haiku poet keeps working on it!

Please provide some information when submitting a haiku with such a word or expression.

Please read this as an example!
November wind in Kenya

Related words

***** Tips for translating haiku

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