NEW YORK — This month I was judge of the Japanese division of the haiku contest sponsored by the United Nations International School (UNIS). John Stevenson, editor of Frogpond, the magazine of the Haiku Society of America, judged the haiku written in English.

I don’t know how many decades ago Japan-related entities began to sponsor haiku contests outside Japan, but when I became aware of such things, Japan Airlines was the lead player in that endeavor. More than a dozen years ago, though, Japan’s economic difficulties and toughening global competition forced the airline to abandon its haiku sponsorship overseas. Here, in New York, luckily, the Japan Society picked up the slack by sponsoring a contest for high school students in this city, but it, too, gave up several years ago. So, the UNIS stepped in.

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