Floating Stone

2 Persimmons

kozo-kotoshi tsuranuku boh no gotoki mono

yester-year, this year
like a continuous
long staffHaiku by Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959)
English version and haiga by Susumu Takiguchi

Susumu Takiguchi is a Japanese artist, poet and essayist. He has been resident in England since 1971.Painting is where his heart lies. Born in 1944, Takiguchi was first introduced to Western-style painting in Kyushu, Japan, when he was a small boy under the tutelage of a local artist Shinichiro Murakami, the father of the novelist Ryu Murakami. He was also influenced by his uncle Yoshitada, who is a banker/artist. Landscape paintings were his most favourite genre then and have become his main area of expertise. He received further training in painting from various artists who taught at different art clubs and private schools to which he belonged.

After coming to England to study economics at Oxford, Takiguchi spent a year at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in the 1970’s. He now paints not only in the Western style, but also in the traditional Japanese style. Also, by combining the two styles, he is trying to create new style of haiga. He believes that in his pictorial language, all paintings are reduced to three factors be they figurative, abstract or anything else: colour, form and composition. Music and poetry also play a part in his painting. His works are generally held to be colourful, merry and uplifting.

In the field of haiku, Takiguchi’s great uncle, Naoh Kataoka, was a close pupil of Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959). Born into a family versed in haiku and other Japanese literary tradition, he dabbled in haiku as a young boy and has enjoyed the art ever since – nearly fifty years. He became more serious about the haiku art when he delved, in primary and secondary school days, into the literature of Koyo, Soseki, Shiki, Meisetsu, Ogai and other Meiji writers.

However, it was while doing his research into Basho as Lecturer in Japanese Language and Civilisation at the University of Aston in Birmingham, UK, that he started to write haiku as a  fully-fledged haiku poet. His haigo (haiku nom de plume) is Ryuseki, which means “stream and stone” (or more mysteriously “floating stone”). This has led him to become involved with many haiku practitioners and scholars both in Japan and other countries. He has held numerous public lectures on haiku. He is a member of the Japan Classical Haiku Association, Haiku Society of America and of other haiku organisations. He served as Vice-President of the British Haiku Society, in charge of dealing with Japan and liaison with the academic world.

In 1998 he founded the World Haiku Club in order to run the World Haiku Festival 2000, a five-year project aimed at making a contribution to the development of the world haiku movement. As Chairman of this thriving world-wide haiku network, he wishes to work together with the like-minded haiku lovers to help develop what has become a world literary asset, which has great scope and potential still to be developed as a new literary form in the 21st century. Currently, the club operates 21 mailing lists including WHChaikuforum, its flagship haiku list. In May 2001, WHC launched its online magazine publication, World Haiku Review. In May 2001, WHC also launched  eigohaiku, web-based lessons for Japanese wishing to learn to write English-language haiku.

Takiguchi has experienced many different careers, including financial correspondent with the Nikkei Economic Journal; Editor-in-Chief, The Art Market Report; art critic and part-time instructor at Oxford University; lecturer at Aston University in Birmingham; Executive Director of Strategic Planning & Research, Nomura International PLC. He is currently Director of Ami-Net Oxford International.  He has written numerous technical articles in various fields and also has produced many translation works. He was educated at Waseda University in Tokyo and the University of Oxford.

Publications include “Kyoshi – A Haiku Master”, Ami-Net International Press, England, 1997; “Ushizu no Zaregoto” (an anthology of haiku) ;”The Twaddle Of An Oxonian – Haiku Poems & Essays”, Ami-Net International Press, England, 2000. He has also translated into Japanese: “The Fake’s Progress” by Tom Keating, Geraldine Norman, Frank Norman, Shincho-sha, Japan; “Naked Came I” (the life of August Rodin) by David Weiss, Futami-shobo, Japan; “Towards The Tamarind Trees” by Anthony Trew, Hayakawa-shobo, Japan; “Modesty Blaise” by Peter O’Donnell.


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