The deadline for this year’s WiK Short Shorts Competition will be on March 1, and just a reminder that this year we are offering a top prize of ¥30,000 plus several other smaller prizes. The top three winners will be included in the next Writers in Kyoto Anthology, and details about how to purchase a copy can be found in the righthand column. In addition winners are published here on the website, serving as examples for anyone thinking of entering the competition. For the 2017 winner, click here. For the 2016 winner, click here. For runners-up, click here or here. (For details of how to enter this year’s competition, see here.)

The following entry which won the approval of the judges was submitted by Kate Garnett of the USA. It shows how much can be done within the limit of 300 words.


Maps of Kyoto’s Water:

Eastward, rivers inked

with sakura flow throughout

time. For centuries


they move through ancient

city streets, cleaning deep wounds

of war, dousing shrines


that are asunder,

while tea water, equally

as vital, is poured


into younomi.

This simple act will never

change. Whether whisked by


geisha’s elegant

hands or encapsulated

in vending machines,


even one hurrying

out will always stop to drink—

just as one is stopped


by autumn’s first snow

as it laces the ponds where

koi fish liquesce, just


as spring’s warm rainfall

dissolves into garden lakes

of imperial


castles where even

ancient samurai take brief

reprieve to quench throats


because that same vein

of water, reflecting glass-

faced towers, scarlet


torii, and sky , are

both the surface and the rain

that inspires it.