Mayumi Kawaharada, winner of the local prize

Mayumi Kawaharada (photo by Micah Gempel)

Mayumi Kawaharada grew up, lives and works in Kyoto.  She started writing English haiku in 2004, as a member of the Hailstone Haiku Circle led by Stephen Henry Gill.  Many of her works appear on their blog and in their books.  Recently she self-published her first bilingual haiku and photo booklet, Three and half years passed in Fukushima (Shimauma Print, 2015). She also maintains a bilingual blog “Veggie life in Kyoto” about vegetarian friendly restaurants in and around the city.

The judges were taken with the concept of a series of haiku to highlight the changing seasons of the Kyoto year.  The execution is effective, giving rise to different emotions, and the ending links back to the beginning to give the sense of an unending cycle.


In the spring, summer, autumn, and winter – Colors in Kyoto


Beside the bamboo forest –

Nobody near, but

A scent of paper-whites


Alighting on my black shirt,

A firefly pauses, waits –

My first gold medal!


Unexpected bathing —

Rain drops dancing

With winds and thunder


Dot stripes

Drawing on a bus window –

Morning typhoon


In the dusk

A dog barks and chases

The shadow of a dragonfly


An orange color

Rises in the moonlight –

Ripe persimmons


Red maple leaves

Arrayed around the stone fox –

Lingering autumn


Fragile white lace

Drifts into a faint halo –



Green dots shoot

Up through the snow –

A breath of life