Moon Viewing

tonight’s moon—

will there be anyone

not taking up his pen?


When I first moved to the Seattle area in November of 2002, I quickly became involved with the Seattle Japanese Garden. This first manifested itself in the monthly Haiku Garden Poetry Readings series that I ran each summer from 2004 through 2007, plus haiku and related poetry components at other garden events during these years and in 2008 and 2009. In addition to the summer haiku readings, these activities included haiku workshops, tanka performances, and craft activity tables. Monthly haiku also appeared in a display case by the garden entrance in certain years, one year featuring my translations with Emiko Miyashita from “A Year of Bashō.” In 2009 I recorded two pieces for the garden’s audio tour, also available as essays: “Haiku and the Japanese Garden” (with music by Elizabeth and John Falconer) and “Even in Seattle: An Introduction to Haiku Poetry.” These recordings were both available on iTunes for a while. A highlight of this time was the 2006 Moon Viewing Poetry Contest, which I had arranged in conjunction with the Washington Poets Association, of which I had been a board member since 2004. I and Chris Jarmick selected 20 longer poems read by the poets for that year’s moon viewing festival. For the 2010 festival, I proposed adding a haiku contest, which has been held every year since then, except when the festival did not happen in 2020 during the pandemic and in 2022 when the garden was being remodeled. Another delightful highlight from 2012 is documented in A Modest Proposal.” The following is a list of all the moon viewing festival dates that had haiku contests. In more recent years, the festival has been held for two nights instead of just one, due to the demand for tickets. Where available in the following list, I also include links to the results of each haiku contest, and links to relevant Japanese Garden blog posts. I served as the judge for each of these haiku contests, sometimes with a cojudge I had invited, most often Tanya McDonald, who also helped staff the haiku table we had at each festival. Links to the following contest results are also available on the Reports page.


Moon Viewing Festival Haiku Contests

21 August 2010

(no record of contest results)

13 August 2011

(no record of contest results)

1 September 2012

2012 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

A Modest Proposal

Moon Viewing (o-tsukimi)” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

O-tsukimi Haiku” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

17 August 2013

(no record of contest results)

Moon Viewing Event” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

6 September 2014

2014 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

2014 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest Winners (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

29 August 2015

2015 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

お月見 • Otsukimi • Moon Viewing Festival 2015 (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

Five Things That Make Otsukimi, Moon Viewing, a Special Evening” (Seattle Japanese Garden Blog)

17 September 2016

2016 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

お月見 (Otsukimi) 2016 & Moon Viewing Haiku Winners” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

9 September 2017

2017 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

Congratulations Moon Viewing Haiku Winners 2017!” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

25 August 2018

2018 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

“お月見 (Otsukimi) • 2018 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

Moon Viewing 2018: A Magical Night at the Garden” (Seattle Japanese Garden Blog)

13–14 September 2019

2019 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

2019 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest Winners (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

Moon Viewing 2019: A Special Celebration of Tradition, Arts and Culture (Seattle Japanese Garden Blog)

28–29 August 2020

(cancelled due to the Covid pandemic)

10–11 September 2021

In retrospect, I don’t know how we managed to pull off this year’s moon viewing event amid the pandemic, but attendance was limited and masks were required.

2021 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

2021 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest, Friday, September 10, 2021” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

2021 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest, Saturday, September 11, 2021” (Seattle Japanese Garden Community Blog)

“The Performances and Poetry of Moon Viewing 2021 (Seattle Japanese Garden Blog)


(not scheduled due to garden construction)

1–2 September 2023

2023 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

2023 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest Results (Seattle Japanese Garden Blog)

Moon viewing video by Ilya Butkenko of the 2 September 2023 moon viewing (I make a short appearance at the 27:54 mark).