How George Nelson Fell in Love with Haiku
It was Haiku Day on 19 August in Japan, and just like many of Japan’s kinenbi or “faux holidays”, the designation stems entirely from wordplay. Haiku Day (haiku no hi) is on 19 August because the numbers 8-1-9 can be read as “ha-i-ku”. Such playfulness of the Japanese language has captivated George Nelson, a New Zealander who through his life in Japan found himself become a poet and illustrator, Miruka Adachi writes for English-language publication, Japan Forward.
At a little cafe in Koenji, Tokyo, Adachi asked Nelson why he had chosen the 5-7-5 syllable format as a medium for his storytelling.
Nelson, who is originally from Napier, and who goes by the pen name “Haiku joji”, composes the majority of his poems in Japanese.
“While I’m not always a fan of rules, I do feel like some forms of limitation provoke creativity. Limitations force you to think laterally, dive deeper. You soon realise you can paint a big picture with just a few words,” Nelson explains.
Original article by Miruka Adachi, Japan Forward, August 19, 2023.