May 15th, 2012


2012 Tokutomi Haiku Contest - deadline May 31st

For the second year in a row, I am coordinating the Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest for the Yuki Teikei Society.

The Tokutomis founded the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society in San Jose, California, in 1975. Their vision was to nourish and foster the art of writing haiku in English using the traditional guidelines developed by haiku poets in Japan. As explained by Mrs. Tokutomi, in Japanese "Yu" means "having", "Ki" means "season", "Tei" means formal", and "Kei" means "pattern".

Therefore in the founders' view, "yuki teikei" haiku contains a season word and utilizes a three-line 5-7-5 pattern of syllables. In today's world, literary English language haiku is rarely written in 5-7-5 syllable patterns, even by members of the Yuki Teikei Society, however this contest continues to honor the vision of the founders of the society.

So, even though I generally encourage friends to forget about syllables when writing haiku, please think about writing a few 5-7-5 haiku with the following kigo in honor of the Tokutomis. You could win $100!

New Year: first reading, year of the dragon
Spring: swallows return, lengthening days
Summer: ants, summer’s end
Autumn: harvest moon, autumn sea
Winter: frost, bean soup

Contest haiku should be 5-7-5, containing one, and only one, kigo from the above contest kigo list. Prizes are $100 for First Place, $50 for Second Place, and $25 for Third Place.

The entry fee is $7 for three haiku. If you are submitting your haiku via us mail, put three haiku on a page. If you are submitting your haiku via e-mail to, your entire submission may be placed in the body of the e-mail.

Entry payment (checks made out to "Yuki Teikei Haiku Society") may be mailed to the contest chair, Deborah P Kolodji, 10529 Olive Street, Temple City, CA 91780 along with your paper submission, or can be made directly to the Yuki Teikei paypal account: yukiteikei(at)

The deadline is May 31st. This is a postmark deadline, as well as an e-mail deadline.