2 min readApr 17


A Book For International Haiku Poetry Day

One hundred poems from the Japanese mini Book review

Photo by Yoav Aziz on Unsplash

It’s April it’s international poetry day. I am sharing with you a beautiful poetry book called “One hundred poems from the Japanese” by Kenneth Rexroth.

The poems in the book are drawn from Manyoshu, Kokinshu and Hyakunin Isshu collections. Manyoushu (Collection of ten thousand leaves) which is a collection of over 4,000 poems written towards the end of the Nara period (710–794 CE) by Emperors, court ladies and nobility. Hyakunin Isshu collections from a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred poems.

The introduction writes about how Japanese poetry differs from the western types of poetry. The best thing about this book is that they have the English version with the Japanese version. Which is valuable for anyone studying Japanese language. It is the kind of book to take with you when out at the park or to read at night. It gives the names of the person who wrote the poem and at the back of the book there are notes on the individuals with a mini biography.

Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

It is interesting to see how Japanese poetry is written and not all the poems are about the seasons or nature. Here are three poems from the book which I personally like.

On the shingle,

beaten by waves

He sleeps with his head

Amongst the rocks

~By Hitomaro~

Will he always love me?

I cannot read his heart.

This morning my thoughts

Are as disordered

As my black hair

~by Lady Horikawa~

The hanging raindrops

Have not dried from the needles

Of the fir forest

Before the evening mist

Of Autumn rises.

~by The Monk Jakuren~

There are so many poems to choose from in this book and I cannot share them all. If like me you find Haiku poetry fascinating then it is definitely well worth the read.

Happy International Haiku poetry day!

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