Hasegawa Kai - "Introduction to Realism & Basho"

Hasegawa Kai - "Cutting Through Time and Space"
Personal History

Hasegawa Kai (b. 1954, Kumamoto Prefecture). Graduated from Tokyo University with a Degree in Law, 1976. Became a reporter for the Yomiuri Newspaper and in 1993 founded his own haiku circle and journal, Koshi. Currently also has a Professorship at Tokai University, and is a judge of the Asahi Newspaper Haiku Corner. Hasegawa is a member of the Haiku Poets Association.


Haiku: Koshi [Old Will] (1985); Kokû [Empty Space](2002); Hatsukari [The First Wild Goose](2006), and others. Literary criticism: Haiku no uchû [Haiku Universe] (1989); Furuike ni kaeru wa tobikondaka [Did the Frog Jump in the Old Pond?] (2005); (more than 20 books published).


Online materials: author attribution

Richard Gilbert, “Cross-cultural Studies in Gendai Haiku: Hasegawa Kai” Gendai Haiku Online Archive (2007), Kumamoto University, Japan <gendai-haiku.com>.  

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Hasegawa Kai

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Selected haiku

Page in German  

Professor Hasegawa Kai is the author of over 20 books of haiku criticism and is an award-winning poet. He currently holds a post at the Yomiuri Newspaper as a reviewer of haiku and other literary and cultural works. He frequently serves as a judge of national haiku contests.

Haiku Cosmos 1 — Hasegawa provides introductory remarks prior to a further detailed discussion of Bashô's 'old pond' haiku (to be presented here at a later date), based on his recent research and book furuike ni kawazu tobikanda ka [Did the Frog Jump Into the Old Pond?, 2005]. In particular, placing great significance on the arising of “mind” (the psychology of ‘creative imagination’) in haiku experience, Hasegawa discusses why he considers haiku based upon objective realism to be garakuta-haiku, that is, “junk haiku.”

Haiku Cosmos 2 — Venturing into the heart of what constitutes haiku as a literary genre, Hasegawa discusses kire (‘cutting’), and ma. One way of thinking about kire is that it cuts through space and time — a primary, defining feature of haiku, intrinsic to its composition. Hasegawa draws significantly on the philosophy of Bashô, for whom kire was of vital importance. Also discussed is zengo no kire (‘before’ and ‘after’ kire), a type of cutting which ‘cuts’ the haiku from normative reality, just before the beginning and after the ending word or sound.
    Unfortunately, ma resists easy translation. Hasegawa discusses several culturally familiar types of ma, before pursuing the topic of psychological ma as instrumental to excellent haiku. We have translated ma severally as: “interval of betweeness,” “psychological interval (of time/space),” “between dimensions,” “the arising of psychological space,” and “creative imagination” (cf. James Hillman's monograph, The Thought of the Heart and Soul of the World).