• Kyodo

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The first English-language haiku class to be run in Japan will start at International University of Kagoshima in October, the college said Friday.

David McMurray, an associate professor at the university’s international culture department, will teach the class.

According to McMurray, “international haiku” consist of three lines of an unfixed number of syllables.

While the authors of some international haiku mirror the three-line Japanese haiku format of five, seven and five syllables, there is no need to adhere to the form too stringently, McMurray said.

Haiku are replete with words that reflect the season in which any given poem is set, known in Japanese as “kigo,” according to McMurray.

Verbs, however, are avoided, he said.

International haiku are written and enjoyed not only in the English-speaking world, but in countries that include South Korea, Peru and Pakistan.

McMurray noted that the “Saijiki,” a literary calendar book that explains the origins and significance of kigo, was first translated into French about 100 years ago and has since been translated into 50 languages. Lectures for the haiku program will be held for students in the department on a weekly basis for 13 weeks.

While participants will focus on composing haiku in the classroom, McMurray said he hopes to take his students to outside locations that might inspire them to write.

McMurray also hopes students will gain an understanding of word rhythm through their compositions and become accustomed to English usage.

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