Connecting haiku & Space

For many of us, haiku may have been something we learnt at school or heard of growing up.  The technique of Haiku is rather simple, forming syllables of 5-7-5 to encapsulate a present moment, emotion, feeling or image to your audience or reader.



When studied haiku as a child, I did not anticipate that it would become something I am actually quite passionate about.  Perhaps it is like painting or being a photographer, there is something quite magical when one uses minimal words to capture the imagination of the reader.

I am by no means an expert in haiku, but one that uses it as a form of expression, in the same one sings or dance.

For many years I have written haiku, in the same way one writes a diary, I had no intention to share or express to the world.  It was my private world, and it was one from time to time I felt like sharing.

universe today v1

source: Universe Today


It was not until I started thinking of running a competition in the context of EU- Japan Collaboration as part of my MINERVA fellow at the EU- Japan Centre that I thought perhaps it is time I could express my passion for Haiku and connect it with space.

The word ‘Space’ could be defined as 2-3 dimensional space, or it could mean outer space.  It is the latter that I am referring to, but equally it does not exclude the former.

The beauty I feel about haiku is that as much as the writer/poet expresses their thoughts into language, the process and images conjured by the person reading it is just, if not more important.

And because the person interpreting the haiku is given, really minimal sketch of what the poet is saying, there is much room for interpretation.  And it is this room, where one’s imagination can go as far as it wishes to explore.

It has taken a good month or so to come down to the final wording of the competition, which is now recently renamed EU- Japan NewSpace International Illustrated Haiku competition 2019.


source: Out Of Africa wordpress


In doing this competition, I have learnt much along the way, particularly how language plays a role when interpreting or translating the above text.  For instance, we originally had Manga as a theme, and the feedback I had was, it was good, relevant to Japan but rather complicated and difficult.  It made me think, yes Mangaka are revered in Japan and that there are in fact very few and far between.

We initially discussed whether to put poetry or haiku.  Where poetry is a broad brush approach; haiku is very specific in form which 5-7-5 syllables.  One colleague mentioned, Japanese people understand haiku, however with poetry it is harder to understand what you mean.  That I could understand.



Running a competition like this, is inviting people to share something personal to them.  In the past I kept most of my poems to myself, however because of wishing to reach out to people and particularly in context of discussing space, I wanted to instead share my work and what I do, to engage people and their ideas.

Why is this important?

In many of my talks, particularly the more recent on ROBOTEX in Tallinn, I spoke about how we can’t leave going to space just to the scientists and that we need to engage everyone.

How can I engage everyone?

I feel one way to do it, is to do something that everyone can relate to.  Illustrated haiku, means someone can draw something to go with their poem.  They don’t have to be an artists, though they may well be.  It could be minimalist, it could be colourful, it could be black and white.  Whatever takes their fancy.

The purpose?

To inspire those that take part in EU- Japan NewSpace2060 International Illustrated Haiku competition 2019 and to bring out the inner child who would gaze up into the sky and dream of going to space.  With that feeling and engaging with children, adults, entrepreneurs, artists and scientists – basically all walks of life; my vision: NewSpace2060, is by 2060 we would be interplanetary species and travelling between planets.

In the meantime, I am using haiku and art as a method and process to engage my audience.

The competition runs till 30 March 2019 and winners will be announced 12 April 2019 on Yuri’s Night so look forward to your entries.

More details of the competition here.

#NewSpace2060 @EUJapanCentre



spacehaikublogspot v1

source: space haiku blogspot




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