D’s Poetry : Haiku 72 : Matsuyama Declaration

D’s Poetry is a living archive of all poetry penned by me, Divvya Nirula. Join me on this journey today as we discuss the contents of the Matsuyama Declaration.

Jump, scratch, taste and sing
the woodpecker arrives , think!
Tip, Tap, touch, L’etranger?

Divvya Nirula

The Matsuyama Declaration came into existence in September 1999. It was drafted by the Coordination Council of Matsuyama in July. And was officially declared at the Shimanami Kaido on 12th September.

What is the Matsuyama Declaration?

As we know, Haiku spread to the Western world in the 19th century. This saw an increase in the popularization of the Japanese short verse, as poets across the world engaged with it in their own writing. Resultantly, the structure of haiku was modernized And some poets began to move away from the 17 syllable format.

The Matsuyama Declaration was a document intended to review the form that haiku would take in the 21st century.

The following is an except from the Declaration, that allows for flexibility in the haiku structure. “A common issue that always comes up in discussions of international haiku is how to deal other languages and cultures with the fixed form, of 5-7-5 syllables, and kigo.

First of all, the 5-7-5 rhythm is unique to the Japanese language, and even if other languages were to use this rhythm, it is obvious that it would not guarantee the same effect. Teikei is not about syllable count or accent, but the matter of the way poetic expression could be heightened through tension when the writer wants it.”

Matsuyama Declaration, Part 4

You are invited along on this journey of discovery and writing. For more poetry and verse by Divvya Nirula, please visit the archive for D’s Poetry.