Based on Zen Buddhism (Purves), the genre of haiku as a means of poetic expression emerged as far back as in the 14th century, originally being a subgenre of traditional Japanese Waka poetry inspired by Chinese models of versification. At that time, this poetic form was referred to as hokku, yet later, in the 16th century, it acquired the shape of a separate genre and got its modern name from the poet Masaoka Shiki in the 19th century. One of the earliest remarkable haiku poets is Sogi, who lived between 1421 and 1502 and was a Zen monk from Kioto (Fig. 1).
The poet writing haiku is commonly referred to as haijin, and Matsuo Basho is considered the most famous haijin in Japanese poetic history. The word “hokku” initially meant the first stanza of another poetic form, renga, or the first stanza of tanka poetry. However, feudal Edo period lasting from 1615 to 1868 brought huge popularity to it and made it a self-sufficient genre (Sher), which was later renamed by Masaoka Shiki.
Gilbert and Yoneoka provide a quotation of R. H. Blyth describing the peculiar qualities of Haiku that – according to his statement – made this poetic form unique and so popular: “It is not merely the brevity by which [the haiku] isolates a particular group of phenomena from all the rest; nor its suggestiveness, through which it reveals a whole world of experience. It is not only in its remarkable use of the season word, by which it gives us a feeling of a quarter of the year; nor its faint all-pervading humour. Its peculiar quality is its self-effacing, self-annihilative nature, by which it enables us, more than any other form of literature, to grasp the thing-in-itself”. Therefore, it could be stated that the main peculiarity of haiku lies in its succinct nature and intense effect produced on the reader.
Haiku as a rather free and expressive poetic form contributed to democratization of Japanese poetry and