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EJCA Spring Haiku Contest 2023
2023年度エドモントン日本文化協会 春の俳句大会

We are happy to announce our winners - please see below-,
and would like to thank each and everyone of our 48 contestants from 14 countries across the world for submitting 90 very unique Haiku! 

looking for our 2022 Contest & winners?

-> follow this link

sakura gave me silence  

the flowers of the soul open

and the sky is bright

さくらは 沈黙を与えた
そうして 空は明るかった

Mykyta Ryzhykh (Canada),
winner “Best overall - English language Haiku” category
in our 2023 contest!

With Springtime finally upon us and the plum tree blossoming again, and following the great success of the 2022 edition of this contest, EJCA once again called 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) were providing an additional incentive (should you have needed that extra bit of a 'nudge' to grab your pen).

We are glad that many of you joined in the fun!  

Kids: We were glad to see submissions from many aspiring young poets!

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

How to participate?

  • Before or on the 24th of June 2023, 23:59 MDT, you were asked to submit your Haiku using this Google form (link)
  • A jury was reviewing the submissions by end of June/early July

Rules / 応募要領

  • Everyone is invited (whether EJCA member or not) to participate

  • You 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, this means:

    One haiku for one theme (seasonal words)

    Seasonal words to choose:

    • Flowers*
    • Plum blossoms
    • Lilacs
    • Bees (includes bee nest)
    • Birds’ romance (birds’ mating is ok, too)
    • Swallow
    • Graduation (Graduation ceremonies, graduates, graduation songs, diploma are ok, too)
    • Spring ducks
    *Here, they are cherry blossoms. You could use words such as: Hana-akari (Illuminating brightness of cherry blossoms), Hana-no-hiru (Daytime with cherry blossoms), Hana-yube (Evening with cherry blossoms), Hana-zuki-yo (Moonlit night with cherry blossoms), Hana-no-yami (darkness of flowers), Hana-fubuki (a shower of cherry blossoms), Hana-ikada (flower raft - petals of cherry blossoms fallen on the water and going on a flow while making a line), Hika-(petals of cherry blossoms fallen in the wind)

  • Our jury will evaluate all submissions to determine winners in the various categories

Jury: Shajin Watanabe

Shajin Watanabe sensei:

Watanabe sensei is a protege to Kusatao Nakamura and was awarded the Saitama Literature Award. After his retirement from teaching Japanese literature (kokugo) at Urawa Akenohoshi Girls' Senior High School, he taught haiku poetry at Saitama Police Academy for a number of years. Currently, he is the chair of Haiku Society, "Sumeraki, " while teaching haiku at numerous workshops.



  • ライラック  
  • 蜂(虻・蜜蜂・蜂の巣なども可です) 
  • 鳥の恋(鳥交る も可です)
  • 燕(つばくろ・つばくらめ・燕来る・軒燕なども可です)
  • 卒業(卒業式・卒業生・卒業子・卒業歌・卒業証書なども可です)
  • 春の鴨 


俳句部門(日本語部門)優秀賞賞金30ドル 準優秀賞 賞金20ドル

三行詩部門(英語部門)優秀賞賞金30ドル 準優秀賞 賞金20ドル




下のフォームを使って、登録と俳句の提出をお願い致します。またご質問等ございましたら、 までご連絡ください。






Award Winners per Category

Here are 2023 Winners. The current year’s jury is once again a published haiku poet, Shajin Watanabe. We greatly appreciate his work.

Best overall - Japanese language Haiku
Prize: 30$

(this category has not been awarded in 2023)

Second best overall - Japanese language Haiku
Prize: 20$

Setsuo Nakaya (Canada)

Best Overall - English language Haiku
Prize: 30$

Mykyta Ryzhykh (Canada)

Second best overall - English language Haiku
Prize: 20$

3 Award winners in this category:

Radhika De Silva  (Sri Lanka)
Monica Kakkar (India)
Joshua Gage  (USA)

Brightest Young Poet (under 16 years of age)
Prize: 30$

Scotia Rusnak (Canada)

Deliberations by the jury, and presentation of the award winning poems:


Haiku in Japanese (16 years old or older)

Best overall (no entry is found to be applicable for the Best overall for this year)

Second best overall

Setsuo Nakaya (Canada)

spring in North

busy bees’

flower calendar

The issue is that the haiku includes three seasonal words, “spring in North,” “bees,” and “flower calendar.” Firstly, per the competition rules, I did not treat “spring in North” as a seasonal phrase since it is not included in the specified seasonal words for the competition. Secondly, the “flower calendar” is a sub-seasonal word for “cherry blossoms.” It is a calendar which is prepared for a new year, and it shows a picture or photograph of flowers (i.e. plum/cherry/peach blossoms) that represent each month in an orderly manner starting from January. At the same time, the “flower calendar” in the above haiku is not the one in the original nature as explained above, but the calendar a beekeeper would keep recording which flower he will collect honey from in each month; therefore, it is reasonable not to consider it as a seasonal word. Finally, I concluded “bees” as the main seasonal word in the haiku and treated it as such.

The haiku describes the “busy flower calendar (schedule)” of a beekeeper who lives “spring in North” with bees. In North spring with not mild weather, the beekeeper plans which flower he will make bees to collect honey from. If you can imagine being him, you would feel his excitement and become cheerful and light-hearted. On the other hand, the haiku does not describe “bees” themselves (while “bees” are its seasonal word), as a result, it fails to use most out of the original essence of the seasonal word and it merely scratches the surface of it, which frustrates me. A deeper understanding of the seasonal word would elevate the haiku’s quality to the next stage.

Haiku in English (16 years old or older)

Best overall

Mykyta Ryzhykh (Canada)

sakura gave me silence  

the flowers of the soul open

and the sky is bright

“Sakura (Cherry)” had deeply influenced Japanese people’s mentality especially after World War I. For example, a Gunka (regimental song), “Sakura in the Same Season” was a song people liked to sing during World War II. The song likens a military officer dying in a glorious manner to falling cherry blossoms. The first verse states “You and I are Sakura in the same season blossoming in the military school’s garden /as blossomed flowers, we know we are going to fall/ Let’s fall in a glorious way for the shake of our country.” The song aroused the public’s patriotic sentiment and became an accomplice in the country’s totalitarian approach to make their people ready to fight in wars.

In Japan, Somei-Yoshino trees (a specie of cherry trees) whose flowers blossom between at the end of March and at the beginning of May are often planted in schools, parks, and riverbanks. As Somei-Yoshino are cloned from the same origin, every single of them maintains the same (mostly) characteristics; they blossom at the same time and fall at the same time. Because of its short blossoming period and clean, graceful, and splendid way of falling, Somei-Yoshino has impacted development of Japanese people’s sense of beauty.

The phrase in Mykyta Ryzhykh’s poetry, “Sakura gave me silence/the flowers of the soul open” has a connection not only to common Japanese people’s mentality, but also “Bushi-do” which is a mannerism and strong spirit of a samurai who commits his lord fully. The last line, “and the sky is bright” reminds me of the peacefulness I felt when I read Niebuhr’s The Serenity Prayer. The phrase implies nobleness and dignity of human minds which go beyond nations and nationalities. It describes a savor of soul and gives the poetry an end similar to an ending of a masterpiece movie.


O God, give us

serenity to accept what cannot be changed,

courage to change what should be changed,

and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Reinhold Niebuhr

Second best overall (3 winners)     

Radhika De Silva (Sri Lanka)


parade in spring----             

graduation smiles

“Penguins” in the first line is a metaphor of graduates wearing gowns and marching in the graduation ceremony. “Graduation smiles” in the third line is the hint. As you know, penguins move as a herd and are always in search of fish; however, (when they arrive at the edge of the ocean with fish) penguins are hesitant to jump into the water. After a while, a brave penguin jumps into the water, then other penguins follow and they become ruthless. In America, I heard, the brave penguin is called the “First Penguin.” An adventurous risk taker who challenges things nobody tried before is said to be called the first penguin. I interpret the poetry as an expectation and encouragement: some of these graduates will become the First Penguins and contribute to the world.

Monica Kakkar (India)

faraway fragrance

awakens with sleepy moon…

lilac lullaby  

Joshua Gage (USA)

the shade                 

of our flowering hawthorn           

a thrum of bees

Both above poetries’ themes are the peacefulness that authors obtained; for the first poetry by auditory sense and for the second poetry by olfactory sense. In the first poetry, the fragrance of lilacs drifting from faraway is telling the Moon, “it’s your time (to shine)” and inviting people to sweet dreams. About the second poetry, I wonder whether “flowering hawthorn” is May Flower in North America/Britain. Bees are behind those “flowering hawthorn.” I felt like honey bees’ subtle thrumming noise whispers in my ear. The hovering wings’ noise is also an invitation to drowsing. Both of these poetries are very lyrical.

Brightest Young Poet (Under 16 years old)

Scotia Rusnak (Canada)

bees dancing across       

flowers so bright under the    

peacefulness of the night 

I wonder if these “bees” had been doing “Waggle Dance” during the daytime to tell their colleagues locations of honey, pollen, water and potential sites for a new nest. “Waggle Dance” is said to show directions by the angle towards the sun and the length of the time that a bee shakes its bottom. The dance activity makes bees wear out in a pleasant way and the “peacefulness of the night” comes to them.

The poetry written by a young poet (under 16 years of age) reminds us of our old age, people who “danced across” our lives and “flowers so bright.”


〇 俳句部門(16歳以上・日本語)

 正賞 (該当作品無し)

 副賞 「北の春せわしき蜂の花暦」なかや せつお Canada




〇 三行詩部門(16歳以上・英語部門)

正賞 Mykyta Ryzhykh Canada

  sakura gave me silence 日本語訳 さくらは 沈黙を与えた

  the flowers of the soul open 魂の花々が咲き

  and the sky is bright そうして 空は明るかった

〔評〕俳句殊に第一次世界大戦頃より「桜」には日本人の精神構造に深く立ち入っていく樹木となりました。例えば軍歌「同期の桜」は太平洋戦争(大東亜戦争)時、好んで歌われた歌で、軍人が華々しく散って行く姿を、桜花に喩えた歌です。1番の歌詞には「貴様と俺とは 同期の桜 同じ兵学校の 庭に咲く 咲いた花なら 散るのは覚悟 みごと散りましょ 国のため」とありますが、愛国精神を鼓舞し、挙国一致の臨戦体制に加担しました。


 正賞のMykyta Ryzhykhさんの詩にある「さくらは 沈黙を与えた 魂の花々が咲き」のフレーズは、広く日本人の精神だけでなく、古くから主君にために尽くす侍の居住まいや気概という「武士道」にまで通じるものがあります。

最後の「そうして 空は明るかった」には、


O God, give us

serenity to accept what cannot be changed,

courage to change what should be changed,

and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Reinhold Niebuhr









識別する知恵を与えたまえ。   ラインホールド・ニーバー(大木英夫 訳)

の「祈り」の後の心の平安さを想わせてくれる1行で、国家や国民性を越えた人間の精神の格調や気高さを暗示してくれています。魂の救いを詠んでくれていて、大作映画のending(エンディング)のような「and the sky is bright(そうして 空は明るかった)」なのです。


副賞 Radhika De Silva Sri Lanka

   Penguins             日本語訳 ペンギンたち

parade in spring---- 春の行進

graduation smiles 卒業のほほえみ

〔評〕1行目の「ぺンギン」とは卒業式でのgown(ガウン)を纏い、行進する卒業生の暗示です。3行目のgraduation smiles(卒業のほほえみ)がそうであることを教えています。

ご存知の通りペンギンたちは集団で行動しますが、餌のいる海へ魚を求めていますが、皆はためらい、誰も飛び込みません。そのうち、勇敢ある一匹のペンギンが飛び込むと、群れのペンギンたちは我先にと次々飛び込んで行きます。それをアメリカではFirst Penguin(ファーストペンギン)と呼ぶと聞いたことがあります。

初めてのことにリスクを恐れず挑戦するベンチャー精神の持ち主を敬意を込めてそう云うのだそうですが、、本詩は、この卒業生の中から誰がFirst Penguinとなって世の中に貢献する人物となってくれるだろう、との期待と声援の詩です。

副賞 Monica Kakkar India

faraway fragrance 日本語訳 遠くからする香り

awakens with sleepy moon… 眠たげな月を起こす

lilac lullaby   ライラックの子守唄

副賞 Joshua Gage    United States of America

the shade 日本語訳 我が家の花咲くサンザシ

of our flowering hawthorn その陰に

a thrum of bees 蜂の唸り



また、米英国ではMay Flowerと呼ばれる「西洋サンザシ」であろうか。その花に寄る蜜蜂の微かな羽音が耳元で話しかけてくるようなhoveringホバリングする羽ばたきの音はまどろみへの誘いでもある。


〇 16歳以下の部門(英語・日本語部門)

 正賞 Scotia Rusnak    Canada

Bees dancing across   日本語訳 蜂たちが 横切って踊る

Flowers so bright under the とても眩しい花々の向こう

Peacefulness of the night 夜の平穏 -----


16歳以下の部門の若い世代による本詩は私たちold ageに、わが人生を「横切って」行った人のあることを思い出させ、「眩しい花」の時代を想起させてくれた。

note: among 92 submissions that we received, we excluded 27 submissions that did not follow the competition rules to maintain fairness. (review the rules above).

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 and follow other cues or key words that we have indicated in the rules section above!

What you should keep in mind (continued):

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Is your poem in the present tense? To make your haiku feel like it’s happening right now, use the present tense.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

(adapted from Michael Dylan Welch's excellent blog:


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