Reviving Haiga: Interpreting and Painting the Haiku of Matsuo Basho


Haiku is a poem that embodies qualities of Japanese art: precision, economy and delicacy; and, Matsuo Bashō fathers this literary art by showing his superb poetic skills made him Japan’s significant contribution in World literature.This study aimed to interpret haiku, to revive the use of haiga as a creative method of interpreting a haiku and to justify its use as visual interpretation as congruent with the oral interpretation. The researcher analyzed and painted fifteen haiku of Bashō, translated by Akmakjian and Barnhill, by employing haiga (a haiku combine with a painting) – a technique going back to the old poetic style of presenting a haiku. Alongside with the haiga, the study used formalism of poetry and structure of haiku (kigo and kireji) and the specific uses of the imagery. The visual interpretation and the formalist interpretation were used to formulate theme and apparently the recurring. The oral interpretation is found related to the visual interpretation; thus, the oral harmonizes with the visual and vice-versa. Indeed, the imagery helped to paint the haiku – as it gives life to the words. The recurring themes found in the haiku of Bashō dealt with reality: seven haiku belonged to the theme “solitude makes man sensitive”; four haiku in “resiliency enables man to survive”; and four haiku in “nothing is permanent.” Here, the study instilled that a work of literature is always a work of art; thus a haiga is a creative and effective method of interpreting haiku and poems.

Author Information
Norman Ralph Isla, Mindanao State University, The Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2017
Stream: Arts - Literary Arts Practices

This paper is part of the ACAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
Full Paper
View / Download the full paper in a new tab/window

Comments & Feedback

Place a comment using your LinkedIn profile


Share on activity feed

Powered by WP LinkPress

Share this Research

Posted by James Alexander Gordon