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Haiga - Haiku with Imagery

Updated on July 16, 2014
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Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.

Poetry and Art


I love the union of images and poetry. The magic of a beautiful poem set against the backdrop of beautiful art is a double joy for those who appreciate such creative endeavors.

Last year, I wrote some Haikus for Valentine's day and decided as an exercise to set them on various images that added value to the words. I really loved the end result, and so did many of the readers.

At that time, I had little realisation that the combination of Haiku and painting/art is a genre of its own and goes way back in time. Records show that it existed as far back in the 16th century Japan. As most Haiku creators wrote in calligraphy, juxtaposing an image, a scene or an emblem to their Haiku must have a been a natural progression with those flowing brushstrokes of ink.

This wonderful juxtaposition of art and Haiku is called Haiga.

 A little cuckoo across the Hydrangea : Haiga by Yosa Buson(1716 - 1784)
A little cuckoo across the Hydrangea : Haiga by Yosa Buson(1716 - 1784) | Source
An old pond. Snow Falling on birds. Evening falls. Shiki
An old pond. Snow Falling on birds. Evening falls. Shiki | Source

Haiga by Shiki

An old pond.

Snow Falling on birds.

Evening falls.


Shiki

A Short History of Haiga


Nonoguchi Ryūho (1595-1669) is credited to have initiated the form of Haiga but there are plenty of older examples of art and poetry juxtaposed on a canvas. Ryūho perhaps was the first to do this consistently and received great acclaim for it.The paintings were simple, elegant and comprised of few brush strokes that conveyed great depth and understanding of the subject being painted. Much like how the Haiku captures more from less, so did the accompanying painting.

The Haiga is attributed to have mainly originated around the Edo period (1603 - 1868) in Japan. The artforms of traditional 5-7-5 Haiku is combined with Nihonga (Japanese colour painting) or Suiboku-ga (Japanese ink painting) to create a Haiga.


I love the idea of 'reading' the image and the poem together. The Japanese masters created simple brushstrokes of elegance and eloquence that stand the test of time. Traditional Haiga are restrained efforts with the brush strokes that illustrate the painting and the words minimalistic and unpretentious. It submits to Matsuo Basho's ( the master of Japanese Haiku) call the 'Return to nature and submit to nature'

Like most art forms, the Haiga has been adapted and assimilated. My use of photographs to illustrate my Haiku came before I learnt of the art form, but as I scour the internet I can see that many have done similar work either to illustrate traditional Haiku's or other poems.

My Haiga

I feel the combination of photographs and Haiku adds a spin to the traditional Haiga. Here's some of my own creations. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them:

Haiga 1: Sail Away

Haiga I: Sail Away (I took this photo off the Turkish Coast while sailing.)
Haiga I: Sail Away (I took this photo off the Turkish Coast while sailing.) | Source

Haiga 1:


Sail away with me

Open ocean, distant ports

Love guides, like the stars


Haiga II: Summer Love (This picture was taken in a eco-resort called Dune in Pondicherry, South India)
Haiga II: Summer Love (This picture was taken in a eco-resort called Dune in Pondicherry, South India) | Source

Haiga II: Summer Love


Dusk paints sky and pool

golden shimmers, palm trees sigh

sun kissed summer love




Haiga III: Cloud Wisps
Haiga III: Cloud Wisps | Source

Haiga III: Cloud Wisps



Mist over mountains

Distant haze hides majesty

Closer, just cloud wisps..



Haiga IV: Jouney ( I took this through the car window on the road to Pondicherry)
Haiga IV: Jouney ( I took this through the car window on the road to Pondicherry) | Source

Haiga IV: Journey


Roads blur past in rushed

journey towards horizon

Trees watch, wait for you



Haiga V: Deeper ( Greek coastline near one of the cycladic islands)
Haiga V: Deeper ( Greek coastline near one of the cycladic islands) | Source

Haiga V: Deeper


We swim in shallows

Safe feet touching the sand bank

Dare you dive deeper



Instead of home– the cool moonlight’s straw mat
Instead of home– the cool moonlight’s straw mat | Source

Haiga - an experience

I find this exercise of creating a Haiga truly inspiring. Sometimes the poem inspires the photograph in others the photo inspires the words. In many other occasions I just find the two to unite in harmony. I find the whole experience exhilarating. When I posted Haiga on my Facebook page, the response from many friends shows they too, enjoy this experience.

I have since found there is an online magazine dedicated to Haiga. The pages here contain some wonderful examples of this art from, both traditional and modern.

See for yourselves at Haigaonline.

Thank you!

Thank you for reading hub and hope you've enjoyed this work. Please do leave some comments and feedback below. Please do vote as appropriate!

If you like what you read share it with friends and family on Facebook/ Twitter/ Pinterest or similar.

Appreciate your time and interest, dear reader.

Do come again.

Docmo

© Mohan Kumar 2012

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    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I have returned to read your beautiful article another time. (I have lost track of how many times I have read it.)

      If you had not published this Hub, I would not have begun combining my haiku with photographs. Haiga is an art form I truly love. Thank you, my friend.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

      First thank you vocalcoach. The discovery of Docmo's work is awesominity at its best seeking stellar with a high five. Thank you for presenting to me of least a break from this and that Docmo. A fan of Haiga, Hakui, Tanka, and more I appreciate the splendid beauty presenting the abstract succinctly. Very well done of a humble view.

      I relish how Haiga are at times life saving in a sense providing much more for those who may not have means. The expressions of complexity through two forms of art becoming a greater than while equal too is astounding. These presented here offer so many perspectives more than a moment may turn into blessings of very much.

      Well, I'm going to climb this little rise and revisit seeking difference of the first and more than.

      tim

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      It's been 8 months since I last came here and so glad to find it again. I'm even more inspired this time. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift. Voted across, up and sharing.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      Wonderful! You have inspired me! And not only that, I learned something new. Thank you!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Beautiful Mohan!!

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I've come back to one of my favorite Hub yet another time. It's brilliant, polymath!

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Fantastic hub! I love this Japanese drawings and i tend to think that graphic designers nowadays they love it as well :)

      Great source of inspiration if you ask me...

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

      Hi Docmo - I finally published my hub on haiga and included a link to this one, as promised. I'm sure people will enjoy it.

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I've been doing this without knowing there was a name for it. How about that! Haiga for haiku on photos or images. I just called it Haiku on photos. Guess I'll have to call them haiga from now on. Thanks for the info - great article.

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

      Thanks for this hub! I'm working on a hub on haiga from a slightly different perspective, and I will definitely both learn from and showcase yours.

      (voted beautiful and shared).

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 5 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Docmo for these beautiful Haikus and an introduction into Haiga. I was not familiar but after your hub I am very interested in more. Jamie

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Beautiful and informative--mind if I share this?

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Beautiful hub with great pictures and useful information about the history of Haiga. Enjoyed reading it and shared and tweeted too. Cheers, Rema.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      Docmo, this is so beautiful. I really like the combination of beautiful pictures and beautiful words. You are doing a wonderful job. Keep writing Haiga! I really enjoy them. :)

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I came back to enjoy your wonderfully creative Haiga a second time. You never fail to deliver excellence, polymath.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Audrey .. what a wonderful comment and compliment. I'm glad you liked the video and the music. I always want to share what I've learnt. perhaps the best way to remember it for posterity!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Dear Docmo - This is so very beautiful. The video brought a tear of sublimity to me. The piano background is one of Chopin's most stunning Etudes. I love your hub. Very healing. Thank you for teaching me about haiga. I felt very much at home and completely comfortable as I read through this. Up, awesome, beautiful and interesting!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Chef- I do love the haiku for the same reasons- the subtle simplicity in just so many words yet an elaborate emotional and visual eloquence that takes one's breath away... thank you for your visit and comment.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Vinaya- appreciate your visit/comment and share. Thank you!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Kim, thank you so much for your wonderful comments. That's one of my favorites - actually I stole from myself because I wrote a longer poem called 'The Deep' on the same theme!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Derdriu- thank you so much for visiting and picking your favorites. Appreciate it!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Ruchira- do give it a shot. I love the simple yet elegant format of Haiku!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Lightshare- thank you!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Lightshare- thank you!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      drbj- always delighted when you visit and appreciate my work. I'm glad you like this collection!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      snakeslane : thank you for your visit and comments. I did try different fonts first as text over images caused a readability concern and eventually settled on a font that didn't look too 'formal' but readable at the same time.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      The invention of haiku by those Japanese masters was truly inspired. To capture an emotion or sentiment in three lines, and with the added philosophical twist or snapshot of nature - it's still a wondrous poetical form, so versatile and not out of place in this modern fast moving age.

      Thank you for you images and haiku.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Thanks for this comprehensive hub on haiga. I enjoyed reading your compositions.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      Good Morning Docmo

      This video and all your beautiful poetry placed within the lovely pictures with music really touches the soul. I have enjoyed them on Facebook and so happy you have shared them here. Thank you so much.

      I love this one! Makes one want to try a bit harder, take some risks..almost a dare..:)

      "swim in shallows

      Safe feet touching the sand bank

      Dare you dive deeper"

    • profile image

      Derdriu 5 years ago

      Docmo, Bravo! In particular, I like the first ("Sail away"), third ("Cloud wisps"), and fifth ("Deeper") haiga.

      Shared.

      Respectfully, and with many thanks, Derdriu

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Always a delight to see a new genre of poem. Will give it a shot!

      you sure have created fantastic and creative pieces...cheers!

    • Lightshare profile image

      Lightshare 5 years ago

      Wouh! what a beauty.. Thank you Docmo

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

      Hey Docmo, I just noticed I spelled the Haiga wrong. Sorry!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Docmo, for this entertaining and enlightening introduction to Haiga. Your beautiful Haiga video is mezmerizing and inspirational. I kid you not. As far as I'm concerned, you are the new Master of Haiga. Trust me.

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

      Docmo your Haigu are gorgeous, I love that you usd really vivid images and sharp lettering. In contrast the classical pen and ink Haigu are so flowing and understated. It is interesting to see them together. I enjoyed that you pay tribute to the original art form and the poets who created it. Hub pages is a great venue for this style of poetry. Thank you. Regards, snakeslane

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Ha ha! that is a gem, indeed. I love the gentle parody and poking fun at a sometimes pretentious genre. Reminds me of Ogden Nash's work.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Minnentonka- good to see you. Really appreciate your visit and comments. thank you!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Gypsy rose- much appreciated. I'm glad you like this effort.

    • benisan85745 profile image

      Ka'imi'loa 5 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

      A lonely figure in a non-existent line I wait for hours Oh, banks closed on Saturday.

      -Rap Reiplinger

      (1950-1984)

      Bruddah James Kawika, one of Hawaiis comedic sons gone to soon. This particular haiku is one that has always made me giggle.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow, your hub has everything and is very creative. Loved the pictures and colors and Haiku and the information you provided. Very good work.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. Love the words, music and images. Passing this on.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Mary- I am glad the juxtaposition works for you. I had done them last year too a collection of 20 or so love poems with photos. I never knew then they could be classed as Haiga. I have gone and revised those hubs as Haiga now. thank you so much.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Daisy- thank you very much for your wonderful comments. I am glad you find this hub useful and interesting. Appreciate it!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      ignugent- Thank you!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Julie- I am glad you like them. There's already a trend of pictures and poems. the original Haiga are so much magical. I am hoping to paint some if I can. Thank you!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Nithya- so sweet - thank you very much!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Annie- it was all your wonderful comments on FB that spurred me to create this hub. Thank you very much!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Lesley- much appreciated! thanks.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Martie- I am delighted my effort has inspired you to write some of your own. I am glad to have inspired you, Liefling. (;-) Thank you so much.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      MHatter- thank you very much.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Mary- I'm often rendered speechless by these warm and wonderful comments myself. Thank you very much.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Dotti- I am glad to learn and share something new. I'm glad you think this sweeps the board. Appreciate it much.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Mar- your poetic comment warms my soul much. Thank you so much, you know I am putty in your words.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Janine- its good to have a few fellow teachers ( like you, Dianna and others) appreciate the lesson element. Thanks for visiting.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Dianna- Glad you enjoyed these. Thank you!

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Dana- I know you've seen these on my FB page. It was nice to get them all together on a hub with a bit of history too. Glad you enjoyed this.

    • Docmo profile image
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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Cyndi10- thank you for your visit and comment!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Mohan, your talent is amazing. That's not the right word, I just can't find it right now. Everything you create has such soul and spirit, beauty, intrigue. And you're a doctor on top of it all! What a beautiful, giving soul you are.

      Now, I have to chastise you a bit. I just heard you spent some time very recently in Orlando. I work in Orlando and live 14 miles NE of there. I absolutely would have loved to have met you and gotten to know the amazing man with the pen name of Docmo!

      Please, the next time you come this way, let me know!

      Voted Up, Beautiful and Awesome, by the way!!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Haiku is not my strong point but it certainly is yours! The photos and haiku go together like peaches and cream.

      I've used poems with photography but never superimposed like this, so along with the beauty of this hub thanks for creativity tips!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting...I had to leave out funny.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I especially enjoy reading articles in which I learn something new. I have read Haiku combined with images, but I never knew there was a name for this art form. ..Haiga.

      Juxtaposing your words and your images has enhanced both. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me.

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      ignugent17 5 years ago

      Excellent Haiku!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Mohan - I love these. Like you, I love images and poetry together and with music, it is even better. Wonderful hub...you might start a trend I think :o)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Wonderful!! Your Haiga is awesome. Pictures are great and enjoyed reading your hub.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      I love your Haiga, Docmo and your facebook haiga posts never cease to delight and inspire me!!! Thank you for this background on haiga traditions and thank you for more Docmo magic. Checking out the Haigaonline link now. Votes, best wishes and sharing!!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      These haiku's and pictures are truly beautiful, I loved your video!

      Wonderful hub thank you and voted up.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      So good to see these haiku's of yours in a hub, Docmo - where they can come to their better right. I would so much like to copy you, and I am going to, because this kind of presentation - with Haiga - or how we imitate the original idea - is also my idea of haiku presentations.

      Please let me give the 'devil its due' - Eventually, at last, you have inspired me to write - to try to write - haiku. I am sure your presentation - with picture background - must have crumbled my resistance.

      These haiku's are truly impressive, as well as the info you've provided about Haiga.

      Thanks!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Impressive haiku and an equally impressive presentation

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      This work just leaves me speechless, Docmo. Beautiful from start to finish. I was not familiar with the Haiga, so this was a learning experience for me.

      I stand in awe of you, Mary

    • D.Juris Stetser profile image

      D.Juris Stetser 5 years ago from South Dakota

      Well you have just swept the board...almost. Interesting Awesome, Beautiful. useful voting Up, not much left.. This is Amazing! I love all the information you've covered, and the extra perks, the paintings, the magazine....absolutely, you and this little goodie are being tucked away into my "favorites". Love it. Thank you so much for this wonderful hub.

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      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Healing

      Artistic

      Imaginative

      Generative

      Awe- inspiring

      Mohan, Each exquisite in their own right. UP & ABI. Hugs, Maria

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      First off your Haikus are beautiful. Second, the pictures you drew to go along with them are amazing. Loved the history lesson also (the teacher in me couldn't resist!). Seriously you are so talented and am a bit awe right now. Have of course voted, shared and tweeted too!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Thank you for the history lesson on this beautiful art form. The photos are so lovely and I can see the artist's enjoyment within the drawings and expression. Your poems are also beautiful and I always enjoy reading them.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      I am so glad you wrote this. It's about time! I always enjoy the works you post. Such a perfect match of words and image. They play off each other beautifully. I enjoyed learning about the art form.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      This is awesomely beautiful!! Voted up, beautiful and sharing.