Matsuyama is famous amongst Japanese haiku poets as the birthplace of Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), the poet who gave haiku its name. The three great masters who came before Shiki-- Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa--wrote what they called hokku, the three lines which traditionally were the opening stanza of linked verse. Shiki cut the poem free from its past, designating the three-line poem as its own distinct literary genre and sharpened its guidelines. In doing this, he revived a form in danger of being lost or trivialized. In honor of Shiki's contribution to literature, and celebrating the Japanese tradition of linking visual and literary arts, Matsuyama established this photo haiku contest in 2010. The stunning beauty of Matsuyama City, its magnificent castle and temples, and the surrounding Seto Uchi Inland Sea Region offer poetic inspiration we hope you visit to enjoy.
Ruth Vergin, Contest Supervisor