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EJCA Spring Haiku Contest 2022


The spring haze.
The scent already in the air.
The moon and ume.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

With Springtime finally upon us and the plum tree blossoming, EJCA would like to call upon your hidden poetic talents and invites you to get creative and craft and submit a Haiku, suitably themed to celebrate the season.

Prizes (and bragging rights when you are named among the best) are available and providing an additional incentive (should you need that extra bit of a 'nudge' to grab your pen).

We hope you join in the fun!  

Kids: We would love to see submissions from many aspiring young poets!

Artists: We would love to see renderings of your Haiku, or in style, e.g. Calligraphy

Winners and a selection of poems will be announced on this page and in moshi moshi and/or our social media channels. 

How to participate?

  • Before or on June 15, 2022, please submit your Haiku using the following Google form: https://forms.gle/Y1Zr5hAEwqVqjnUB7 (preferred, requires a Google account);
    if you do not have a Google account, please use this form instead: https://forms.gle/Soh6DKe1UVX7VUNy5 
  • If you want to illustrate your Haiku (or submit a calligraphic version), please submit your work as text (3 lines) as well as (scanned) in a pdf-document containing your artwork
  • A jury will review the submissions by end of June, and notify the winners 


  • Everyone is invited (EJCA member or not) to participate
  • Everyone can submit up to two Haiku that you have authored
  • To be considered for prizes, your poem should follow the spirit of good Haiku form - see below, section "What is a Haiku?"
  • Make sure to give your Haiku a Spring theme!
  • Our jury will evaluate in several categories (such as originality, adherence to Haiku Form, matching the season topic) to determine winners


EJCA sponsors the following prizes (the total prize pool exceeds 100$ in value):

  • 1st prize - Best overall (Japanese or English language) Haiku - Cash Prize
  • 2nd prize - Second Best overall (Japanese or English language) Haiku - Cash Prize
  • 3rd prize - Third Best overall (Japanese or English language) Haiku - Cash Prize

  • Special Prize - Brightest Young Poet (under 15 years)
  • Special Prize - Most Creative Artwork 

What is a Haiku?

From wikipedia:

Haiku (俳句) is a type of short form poetry originally from Japan. Traditional Japanese haiku consist of three phrases that contain a kireji, or "cutting word", 17 on (phonetic units similar to syllables) in a 5, 7, 5 pattern, and a kigo, or seasonal reference. Similar poems that do not adhere to these rules are generally classified as senryū.

Haiku originated as an opening part of a larger Japanese poem called renga. These haiku written as an opening stanza were known as hokku and over time writers began to write them as stand-alone poems. Haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century.

What you should keep in mind:

For haiku inspiration, look closely at everything around you in nature, at home, at school, and at work. Write your draft of a haiku, letting yourself be free and creative. Then ask the following questions about your haiku to help you improve them.

  1. How long is your haiku? It’s usually good to write in three lines of about 10 to 17 syllables. In Japanese, you will want to stay with 5-7-5 sounds ('mora'). In English, haiku don’t have to be in the pattern of 5-7-5 syllables.
    See this link if you want to know more.

    The following questions are much more important to observe:
  2. Does your haiku name or suggest one of the seasons—spring, summer, fall, or winter? In Japanese, a kigo or “season word” tells readers when the poem happens, such as saying “tulips” for spring or “snow” for winter. This is one of the most important things to do in haiku.
    For our contest this year, you want to give it a Spring theme!
  3. Does your poem make a “leap,” by having two parts? In Japanese, a kireji or “cutting word” usually cuts the poem into two parts (never three). It’s not just having two parts that matters, though. Rather, it’s the implication in the relationship of the two parts that matters. Giving your poem two often fragmentary parts is also one of the most important goals in haiku.
  4. Is your haiku about common, everyday events in nature or human life? To help you do this, describe what you experience through your five senses.
  5. Does your poem give readers a feeling? It can do this by presenting what caused your feeling rather than the feeling itself. So others can feel what you felt, don’t explain or judge what you describe.
  6. Is your poem in the present tense? To make your haiku feel like it’s happening right now, use the present tense.
  7. Did you write from your own personal experience? When you write other kinds of poetry, you can make things up, but try not to do that with haiku. Memories are okay, though.
  8. How did you capitalize or punctuate your poem? Haiku are usually not sentences (they’re usually fragments), so they don’t need to start with a capital, or end with a period.
  9. Does your haiku avoid a title and rhyme? Haiku are not like other poems, which may have these features. Haiku don’t have titles and rarely rhyme.
  10. What can you do with your haiku? Can you illustrate it? Then please also submit your artistic interpretation together with your text for this contest.

(adapted from Michael Dylan Welch's excellent blog: https://www.graceguts.com/essays/haiku-checklist)

Our winners - and a selection of submitted Haiku

>>> Winners will be announced here towards the end of June 2022. Watch this space! <<<


Please contact: lenard@ejca.org

Edmonton Japanese Community Association
6750 88 Street NWEdmonton, Alberta T6E 5H6

780-466-8166 / office@ejca.org
日本語メール: nihongo@ejca.org

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Friday: 3:30 pm–6:30 pm

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