Kawana TsugioKawana Tsugio (川名つぎお)

Born 1935 in Tokyo, Japan

Currently, Secretary of the Modern Haiku Association (Gendaihaikukyôkai), and General Manager of the Yearbook Department. He is a professional screenwriter and playwright. He is the winner of the Okinawa Memorial Day Haiku Prize, 2004. In 1957, he entered Kokugakuin University, and founded the Film Club. That same year he produced the short film, Chîsana gen'ei [The Little Mirage: An Urban Boy’s Dream, 20 min.], the first independent movie produced by a student in Japan (excepting those of the Fine Arts program at Nihon University).

In 1958, he focused on the problem of education in rural areas, producing the short film, Yama ni ikiru ko ra [The Children Live in a Mountain; 27 min.]. This was his first professional work. In 1965, he founded the Partisan Style Poetry Book Club [Paruchizan shiki shishu no kai], and gathered donations for the publication of his own book of poetry. As a result, Hatachi no gûwa [The Fables of Twenty] was published.

In 1968, he became deeply involved in significant social movements of the era — anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-establishment, etc. He published his book of poetry, Seishun no kigen [The Origin of Adolescence], then made a film featuring night-school students in poverty, Dakkan soshite kaihô [Get Back and Liberate It; 87 min.]. This film created newfound enthusiasm among student-movement activists to produce their own works, especially via Zengakuren [the All-Japan Federation of Student Self-Governing Associations]. Moreover, he edited a poetic anthology of a group of young activist-authors, Eikyû kakumei no koiuta [Love Song of Permanent Revolution], published in 1969. His major haiku collections are Tei [Degree] (Modern Haiku Association Press, 1992), Jin [Questions] (Modern Haiku Association Press, 2005), and Ani [However] (Modern Haiku Association Press, 2014).

Translations into English by Richard Gilbert & Ito Yuki (Gendaihaiku, 2014)


boku no ki ya itsumade mo shômeidan no roji

anniversary of my death – forever a narrow alley of flare bombs


Hiroshima no ujigami wa nani o shiteita no ka

What was the Hiroshima god doing?

(Note. The kami (deity) of Hiroshima is ujigami)


karada no fûkei o taka ga matteiru

within the scene of a body
a hawk
dancing in air


Okinawa wa zutto tachioyogi no mama da

always remains
            — treading water


arechi ari getsuyôbi ga todokerareru

a wasteland here –
Monday is delivered


kesa no aki kinô no ore ga mada tsukanu

autumn has come –
the me of yesterday
not yet arrived

(Note. The traditional kigo kesa no aki, “first day of autumn,” occurs on August 7, a day between the two atomic bomb attacks. Thus “me of August 6” is the day of the Hiroshima bombing.)


nariyuki ga ikutsuka eki ni oite ari

in the course of events
items left at a train station


shôdo irai zutto hashitte iru yume

since the burned ground forever run in dreams

(Note. “burned ground”: war devastation)


kutsu oto ga shôwa gareki o dete inai

footfalls sound
from Shôwa wreckage
without exit

(Note. Shôwa era: 1926–86)


tobu hoshi no kazu hodo haha o uri ni keri

as abundant as shooting stars
I sold my mother