Haiku: An Online Treasure Hunt for Second Year High
Authored by L. Gilo and P. Arinto
Poetry is a means of “seeing” life. This is especially true of the haiku, a
traditional Japanese poetic form that has gained popularity all over the world.
You will find out why the haiku is well loved in this activity.
Specifically, you will explore the meaning of the haiku and how it has been used
historically and in modern times, view examples of haiku written by master
Japanese poets as well as young people like yourselves, and write your own
To do all these, go over the questions below. Then locate the answers to the
questions in the websites given. Be sure to read the websites carefully as you
will apply all of the information they provide in answering the Big Question.
To make the activity even more fun, you will work in groups of three. Be sure to
Write down your answers and be ready to discuss them with the rest of the class
when everyone has finished doing the treasure hunt.
- Which is the more important feature or characteristic of a haiku—the
number of syllables or the number of images? Explain your answer.
- In what way is a good haiku like a good joke?
- How is the haiku related to the hokku and haika?
- Why is Basho considered a great haiku poet?
- Traditional Haiku subject matter includes places, natural phenomena,
wildlife, and common everyday experiences. Other poetic forms use the same
subject matter. What makes the haiku different is how it treats or talks about
them. Describe the haiku treatment of subject matter.
- Is there a lot of detail in haiku poetry? Discuss your answer using one of
the children’s haiku as an example (or non-example).
A short guide to the haiku
History of haiku (Basho)
How to write haiku
Examples of haiku
Haiku for kids
The Big Question
Now that you know what a haiku is, try writing your own haiku. Pick a scene from
nature or any scene around you and focus on it. Follow the format for writing a
You will not do this part of the treasure hunt in class. Instead you will do
this as homework. And you will each write a haiku of your own, rather than do a