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What can I learn about Japanese culture by studying haiku?

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Quick Answer

By studying haiku, one can learn a great deal about Japanese culture including its love of nature, its minimalist aesthetics and its philosophies. A haiku is a 17-syllable, three-line poem that features five syllables in the first line, seven in the second and five in the final.

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To showcase the Japanese culture's love of nature, haikus are required to also have a kigo, a word representing one of the four seasons. The haiku form is so condensed that writers cannot get weighed down in explaining emotions or incidents. Instead, they have to succinctly and clearly express their thoughts using highly emotive and descriptive terms.

Since the art was invented in the late fifteenth century, haiku-writing is popular for professional writers and armatures alike. According to The Tokyo Foundation, the structure of John Lennon's song, "Imagine," was inspired by haiku. Today in Japan, it is common for writers to submit haiku poems to newspapers, magazines and other publications daily in hopes to be publicized.

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