Why are the rules of Haiku not as strictly enforced when written in English?

Jump to Last Post 1-7 of 7 discussions (8 posts)
  1. music equals life profile image60
    music equals lifeposted 9 years ago

    Why are the rules of Haiku not as strictly enforced when written in English?

    When written in English, the rules of Haiku generally dictate "17 syllables or less" rather than three lines syllabized 5-7-5. Why is this so and what other rules are relaxed when Haiku is written in English?

  2. profile image0
    sbeakrposted 9 years ago

    I've never heard of the '17 syllables or less' rule for English Haiku.  I was taught strictly to adhere to 5-7-5 and believe it best that way, anyway.

    1. Wondering SLO profile image60
      Wondering SLOposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, I was always taught the lines not the overall. What do you think about stacking haiku to tell a story, Is it still haiku or a different poem?

  3. dabeaner profile image59
    dabeanerposted 9 years ago

    I haven't heard of that 17 or less, either.  AFAIK, it's 5-7-5.  Period.
    Perhaps the reason the rule is (maybe) bent in English is that most English/Americans are sloppy writers, and 5-7-5 is "too hard" (sob, sniffle).

  4. Shelly Bryant profile image72
    Shelly Bryantposted 9 years ago

    The 5-7-5 structure is not a "rule" for English haiku, and is not even the preference in serious haiku circles, as the syllable structure of the English language is completely different from Japanese.  The 17 syllables of traditional Japanese haiku is equivalent of something more like 12 syllables in English.

    I've had a lot of haiku published, and can say that the 5-7-5 structure is actually easier to achieve than is the real essence of haiku.  Haiku is more about the moment, and a twist, and perhaps a seasonal reference, than it is about a specific syllable count.

  5. Rayalternately profile image61
    Rayalternatelyposted 9 years ago

    The form originated with not only a different language, but an entirely different style of expressing that on the page. As a result translation of the form is more open to interpretation.

  6. haikutec profile image60
    haikutecposted 8 years ago

    As we know, haiku originated from Japan.  It's actually quite a new type of poetry as it came from the starting verse of renku (linked verses written by different poets).

    Haiku was first officially coined by Shiki at the outbreak of the 20th Century and he included some Western techiques such as sketching direct from nature which he called Shasei in Japanese.

    The starting verse of renga (and renku) is hokku, but as they became very collectible in their own right, they slowly evolved into poems independent of renga or renku.

    Haiku (and hokku) in Japan is written in more than one Japanese language system, none of which contain alphabets or syllables.

    Also, Japanese punctuation is written in characters, a bit similar to us saying "full stop" or "period" instead of "." or "comma" or "semi-colon"; "colon" or "dash" etc...

    These punctuation "words" are part of the 17 sound unit structure of haiku and hokku, whereas in English we don't count punctuation as syllables because they are symbols. ;-)

    I've observed that most Japanese women haiku writers, and Westerners etc... read out a haiku in six seconds, and a Japanese male haiku writer will often read them out in three seconds.  Plus quite a lot of Japanese traffic signs are in 17 sound units (shorter than "at" which would be two sound units in their language) and I can assure you that they wouldn't call them haiku .;-) 

    Strangely enough, in the West, we call almost anything in 17 English-language syllables a "haiku". ;-)

    For a simple overview of haiku, check out this webpage which has been praised by Japanese, British, and American haiku writers: http://www.withwords.org.uk/what.html

    all my best,

    Alan, With Words

  7. Sheila Wilson profile image80
    Sheila Wilsonposted 7 years ago

    This hub is written to answer the question: "When written in English, the rules of Haiku generally dictate '17 syllables or less' rather than three lines syllabized 5-7-5. Why is this so and what other rules are relaxed when Haiku is written in... read more


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)