Hoshinaga Fumio - Sacred Language in Haiku 1: "Kotodama Shink˘"

Hoshinaga Fumio - Sacred Language in Haiku 2: "Becoming Divine"
Personal History

Personal History

Hoshinaga Fumio (b. 1933, Kumamoto Prefecture). Graduated Kumamoto University, 1956 with a degree in Japanese Literature. Became a High School teacher at Dai-Ichi H.S. in Kumamoto. Began his haiku career in 1967, joining Kaneko Tohta's Kaitei. In 1983, founded his own haiku circle and the journal HIHI. Hoshinaga is a member of the Modern Haiku Association.


Poetical Works 100/67 (1968); 68' Natsu [Summer, 68'] (1969); Onibi [Devil Fire] (1970); ďkami matsuri [Wolf Festival] (1973); Higo kiga-k˘ [Great Starvation in Old Kumamoto] (1975); Genjitsukan [Parhelic Halo] (1986); Shikijin [Color Dust] (1998); Kumaso-Ha [Kumaso Tribe] (2003). Also, numerous essays in HIHI Journal and elsewhere, published plays, poetry in various genres, public lectures, etc.


Online materials: author attribution

Richard Gilbert, “Cross-cultural Studies in Gendai Haiku: Hoshinaga Fumio” Gendai Haiku Online Archive (2007), Kumamoto University, Japan <gendai-haiku.com>.  

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Hoshinaga Fumio

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Selected haiku

2004 Interview

Page in German  

Hoshinaga Fumio has developed a unique approach to haiku. As a native of Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, he is especially concerned with local tribal history and culture, and has discussed the possibility of ressurecting both nature and culture through poetic language. Hoshinaga was recently selected as one of 12 outstanding national gendai haijin.

Sacred Language in Haiku 1 — Hoshinaga begins his discussion of kotodama shink˘, the 'miraculous or sacred power of language,' his primary approach to haiku composition, by describing a recent trip to a local village ceremonial festival (matsuri) in the Amakusa Islands, Kumamoto Prefecture. Reading aloud several of his most recently penned haiku, we learn how insects too may “become divine.” Hoshinaga introduces an ancient word of the Hayato Tribe of Central Kyushu, kamuagaru (to rise to heaven / become or unite with kami), as a key critical concept of this haiku series. Through decades of historical research into the animistic and indigenous roots of his locale, Hoshinaga has developed an approach to haiku which weds the lifeways and spirituality of prehistory to contemporary language and style, in order to resurrect or revive the heart-sense of his culture — and by extension our own as well.

Sacred Language in Haiku 2 — Characteristics of location, in time, space, era and “person” are discussed in relation to inherent powers of nature, including creativity, originality, uniqueness, and healing. The discussion broadens to the meaning and description of kami and the relation between kami, the natural world, and “the aura or environment of mind.” Hoshinaga next discusses the possibility of representig kami (the divine, sacred) via language, particularly in the haiku genre. Within the sacred locale of matsuri, all beings (a frog, a dragonfly, etc.) “have the opportunity to unite themselves with the sacred cosmos.” Hoshinaga suggests such an ethic may constitute a primary taproot for haiku composition and practice.