Metaphor Simile


Metaphor used in Haiku

inyu 隠喩(いんゆ), metafaa メタファー, hiyu 比喩

Metaphor (from the Greek: μεταφορά - metaphora, meaning "transfer")
is language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects. In the simplest case, this takes the form: "The [first subject] is a [second subject]." More generally, a metaphor is a rhetorical trope that describes a first subject as being or equal to a second subject in some way. Thus, the first subject can be economically described because implicit and explicit attributes from the second subject are used to enhance the description of the first.

This device is known for usage in literature, especially in poetry, where with few words, emotions and associations from one context are associated with objects and entities in a different context.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. Metonyms can be either real or fictional concepts representing other concepts real or fictional, but they must serve as an effective and widely understood second name for what they represent.
... Metonymy works by the contiguity (association) between two concepts, whereas metaphor works by the similarity between them.
... Containment
... Synecdoche
... Metalepsis
... Toponyms
... Polysemy
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

simile シミリ
chokuyu 直喩 / meiyu 明喩

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as".

For instance, a simile that compares a person with a bullet would go as follows: "John was a record-setting runner and as fast as a speeding bullet." A metaphor might read something like, "John was a record-setting runner. That speeding bullet could zip past you without you even knowing he was there."
Unlike a metaphor, a simile can be as precise as the user needs it to be, to explicitly predicate a single feature of a target or to vaguely predicate an under-determined and open-ended body of features.
. . . . . many similes are stereotypes
as quiet as a mouse
as sour as vinegar
as strong as an ox

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


In Japanese haiku, by using the cut marker carefully,
we can imply a comparison
without mentioning it directly.

That is one of the great tricks that gives Japanese haiku its special flavor and indirect touch. Juxtaposition (toriawase) should be studied carefully.

Therefore the advise for a beginner of haiku NOT to use direct metaphors like "LIKE" , especially in English language, seems to be an argument amongst haiku poets who do not write in Japanese.

But in the Japanese language, we do use the direct comparison
... no gotoku ... のごとく,の如く / no gotoshi のごとし、の如し
in haiku, if the situation absolutely calls for it.

Juxtaposition, combination and the CUT

More online
Reference : metaphor haiku


Susumu Takiguchi on toriawase ...

It may sound as if toriawase is a golden rule, or a "be all and end all".
However, like many (or all) other haiku tenets, it is not. On the contrary, it is wrong for anyone to be a slave to any rule including toriawase. The haiku poet writes the poem from the heart, first, and looks to see if it has followed any principle, second, if necessary. To put up any haiku principle first, and then force the work to follow it, is an enticing trap which many fall into. This is putting the cart before the horse. (The same thing can be said with many other well-accepted values, such as "surprise", "moment" and "metaphor", to name but a few.)

Basho himself admonished the bad habit of sticking too rigidly to toriawase. He is said to have mentioned to Shudo:

...you should compose haiku as if you are beating out the gold...

It was Kyorai, another important disciple of Basho, who was opposed to Kyoriku's gospel about toriawase. Kyorai cited examples of Basho's haiku which did not follow toriawase principle (Tabineron).

Other opponents to toriawase, such as Yaba, maintained that it was little more than a device to help out the novice, and should not be regarded as a true principle to be applied universally.

My own and only principle in writing haiku is not to have any principles. It is useful to have toriawase in your tool box, but resolve to use it well -- as, and when, necessary. You should not be used by your tool. It is distressing to see many haiku poems, one after another, religiously following the toriawase rule.
source : www.worldhaikureview.org/2-1


The Contiguous Image:
Mapping Metaphor in Haiku

by Matthew M. Carriello

Metaphor is central to all poetry, including haiku.
In haiku, metaphors are juxtaposed in a way that reveals previously unarticulated associations. A reader is able to understand these associations via certain innate linguistic processes that all people possess. That is, we are able to generalize automatically and unconsciously from a specific event, as seen in a haiku, to a general principle of being. We can do this because metaphor is not merely a literary device, but an integral part of our way of understanding the world.

The HSA definition further says that
“the most common technique [for writing haiku] is juxtaposing two images or ideas,” and that in haiku “metaphors and similes in the simple sense of these terms do sometimes occur, but not frequently."

Read more:
source : Modern Haiku, Vol. 41, 2010


Traces of Dreams
Haruo Shirane

The seasonal word, the requirement of every hokku, often exists simultaneously on a number of axes or in different contexts: as a reference to an external scene, as an implicit metaphor or extension of the poet’s inner state, as a complex literary and cultural sign, and as a greeting to the addressee. The first is highly objective and referential; the second tends to be highly subjective; the third is often highly fictional and intertextual, and the fourth is a performative utterance.
Yasuda's attempt to negate the function of metaphor, which also occurs in Blyth’s writings, is misleading in that haikai, like all poetry, is highly metaphorical: the essential difference, as we shall see, is that the metaphorical function is implicit rather than stated and often encoded in a polysemous phrase or word.

In discussing classical Chinese poetry, Pauline Yu has argued that Western metaphor tends to be based on a fundamental dualism, the assumption of a disjunction between two realms, usually concrete and abstract, or physical and metaphysical.
This kind of metaphor, which actually represents only one limited type, rarely, if ever, occurs in Basho’s haikai. Nature exists as something concrete and living before the viewer’s eyes, as immediate, and is respected as such. At the same time, however, nature can implicitly have a semi-metaphorical function, particularly as a projection of the poet’s inner or outer state or as that of the addressee. The natural imagery functions on both the literal and figurative levels, collapsing I.
source : google books

However, many of Basho's haiku use metaphor and allegory, and in fact this is probably one of the most important aspects of his poetry.

. Beyond the Haiku Moment : Haruo Shirane


Haiku: A Poet’s Guide
Lee Gurga

In the West, simile and metaphor are among the most basic tools of the poetic craft. The genius of haiku, however, is that it is about how things are rather than what they are like. To a haiku poet the evening sky has nothing to do with and etherized patient, whatever T.S. Eliot might have thought. For people steeped in the Western tradition of dissection and interpretation, this can be their most difficult lesson in haiku poetics.

The use of overt simile or metaphor most often has a limiting rather than freeing effect on a poem. One might go as far as to say that there is no place for simile in haiku. If a thing is like something else, then best to talk about that other thing in the first place.

Metaphor is more complicated.
Unquestionably metaphor has been used effectively in haiku, but there is a significant danger that it will become the point of the poem. When the poetic device becomes the master rather than the servant of perception, the haiku fails. “Since the beginning of bad writing, writers have used images as ornaments (quoted in Hakutani, 53),” Pound advised.

The technique of juxtaposition inevitably likens one thing to another or invites some comparison between images. That counterpoised elements can be interpreted metaphorically as well as literally adds depth and resonance to many of the best haiku. Some haiku can even be understood as a whole metaphor.
A fine example of this in the English-language haiku canon is provided by James W. Hackett’s

Deep within the stream
the huge fish lie motionless
facing the current

On the surface (no pun intended), this poem presents a simple scene from nature, but it is also open to another, more profound interpretation. The fish can be seen as people who have developed a Zen approach to life. Moving, yet motionless, in the stream of life, but unaffected by the currents that carry others away; facing upstream in a world that is moving downstream.
In this haiku, by LeRoy Gorman, the images ride a razor’s edge between literal image and metaphor,

last slow dance
winter flies
couple on the bar

source : Haiku: A Poet’s Guide


The Technique of Simile
Jane Reichhold

Usually in English you know a simile is coming when you spot the words "as" and "like". Occasionally one will find in a haiku the use of a simile with these words still wrapped around it, but the Japanese have proved to us that this is totally unnecessary. From them we have learned that it is enough to put two images in juxtaposition (next to each other) to let the reader figure out the "as" and "like" for him/herself.
So basically the unspoken rule is that you can use simile (which the rule-sayers warn against) if you are smart enough to simply drop the "as" and "like". Besides, by doing this you give the reader some active part that makes him or her feel very smart when they discover the simile for him/herself.

The Technique of Comparison
The Technique of Association
The Technique of Metaphor

and MORE
source : HAIKU TECHNIQUES, 2000


Part 3 - Metaphor, simile and stylistic ornament

It is a rule with a number of notable exceptions:
Haiku do not use metaphors and similes.
One could quote a handful of haiku that have a metaphor or simile, to challenge the rule. Nevertheless it is true that, compared to the poetic tradition that we in the British Isles have inherited, replete with brilliant comparisons, as if the whole value of poetry lay in metaphorical ingenuity, the haiku tradition eschews the way of stunning similarities unusually combined.

Read more here:
source :  George Marsh


Whose Fingerprint on the Haiku?
D. J. Peel

The Use and Disuse of Tradition in Basho's Haiku and Imagist Poetry
Kawamoto Koji

According to Athur Waley (1925), the necessary conditions for a successful use of allusion in poetry ... a common classical repertory ...

. more information .


The elevator of the Communist Party
. Saito Sanki (Saitoo) 西東三鬼, 1940 


hiyu morotomo shinko kiete kareno-no hi

The metaphors are
gone, and so is my faith . . .
sun over a moor.

Die Metaphern
erloschen und mit ihnen der Glaube.
Sonne auf der Heide

Nakamura Kusatao

source : /haiku-dhg
Mario Fitterer
Das Verschwinden der Schwalbe
Aspekte moderner deutschsprachiger Haiku

. Nakamura Kusatao 中村草田男 .


yo ga fuuga wa karo toosen no gotoshi

my elegance
is like a fireplace in summer
like a fan in winter

Matsuo Basho

a brazier in summer and a fan in winter - something useless
karo tosen
. WKD : Useless things and Basho  

Susumu Takiguchi writes:
What are we to do if Basho says that his poetry is useless?
His was not an idle remark of self-mockery or of amusing Kyoriku in a light-hearted way. It was mentioned after a long and hard navel-gazing reflection on his life. There have been numerous academic studies on this point. Quite apart from them, it certainly provides us with enormous food for thought.
Let us look at some of its ramifications.

source : worldhaikureview2


keichitsu ya yooji no gotoku ashi narashi

awakening spring;
like a toddler, the insect
learns about legs

abe midorijo (1886-1980)
Tr. Michael Haldane


fuito kite oyako no gotoshi yuki no yado

I just came there
like a member of the family -
home in the snow

Kobayashi Issa

on a visit to the merchant 袋屋 home in Nagano in 1822.
Issa was a friend of the owner and visited there many times.

source : mytown.asahi.com


o no kireshi tako no gotoku ni nigatsu ou

like a kite
with the tail cut off -
end of february

Aruga Jue 有賀充惠

. . . . .

rokugatsu ga ushi no gotoku ni yokotawaru

the sixth month
lies down just like
a cow

Matsuo Takanobu 松尾隆信

source : omohaiku : interesting haiku


kame naku wa onore no setsu o naku gotoshi  

turtles crying
like me crying over many
lost opportunities

Ishihara Yatsuka 石原八束

. . . . .

yuki no higure wa ikutabi mo yomu fumi no gotoshi  

sunset in snow
is like a letter read
many times

Iida Ryuta (Ryuuta) 飯田龍太

source : haiku8

WKD : kame naku turtle : making a sound, crying


tessui no gotoku ochiru ya Fudoo taki

like an iron hammer
it falls down -
Fudo Waterfall

 チビタンク chibi tanku
Tr. Gabi Greve


budoo kuu hitokoto hitokoto no gotoku nite

munching grapes -
like saying one word
and one more word

中村草田男 Nakamura Kusadao
Tr. Gabi Greve


tsuyu no yo wa yama ga tonari no gotoku ari

on a night with dew
the mountains seem like
next-door neighbours

Iida Ryuta (Iida Ryouta) 飯田龍太
Tr. Gabi Greve


yamagoe no amida no gotoku hatsu hi no de

like Buddha Amida
coming over the mountains -
First Sunrise !

Gabi Greve, January 1, 2005

Related words

***** WKD . . . Haiku Theory Archives



anonymous said...

The metaphors are
gone, and so is my faith . . .
sun over a moor

Nakamura Kusatao


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting information,Gabi !

anonymous said...

Basho, Issa, Chioyo-ni, Buson, all used similes at times. Only in the West do they forbid similes, personification, metaphors, and allegories.