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Haiku

More is not always better

 

 

A few words in ink

Written with much care and thought.

Thinking minds respond

Haiku kanji

An interest in Japanese arts is incomplete without some understanding of the originators of these art forms. One of the most difficult Japanese concepts to come to terms with is that of austerity. Artists will often say "It is not what one puts into a picture, but what one leaves out, that makes it a good artwork".

For example, bonsai is an art of subtle illusion; making a miniature tree with the intention of having it appear immense. In order not to confuse the illusion in the small space available, it is necessary to imply certain things in this creation, leaving some aspects to the imagination of the viewer. What this means is that sometimes truly appreciating bonsai can take as much if  not more understanding than creating them.

 

Enduring Patience

 

Haiku

The same is also said of that stunted form of Japanese poetry called Haiku. Haiku are typically 17 syllables in length in 5, 7, 5 format. In these 17 syllables, one expresses an emotion, philosophical concept, view of nature, or event in the making. This is usually done in the form of an observation, and a contrasting thought.

For serious students of oriental arts, it would be time well spent trying to write haiku. It helps to demonstrate how often we overstate the obvious, perhaps because we are always concerned that others will not notice that which we can see so clearly ourselves. Think about this: if one is too descriptive in the telling, the listener has no room to think or add some "own" interpretation to the story. In haiku form one may say:

 

 

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Last updated 2010-12-23 09:12