2023 Morioka International Haiku Contest

In the autumn of 2023, for the fifth time, I had the pleasure of judging the Morioka International Haiku Contest, this year with Toshio Kimura. Results were announced 12 November 2022 in Morioka, Japan. Visit the Morioka website for more information or see the results online (PDF), with images of the English text shown below. See a shorter summary (PDF). See also contest results for 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Prize Winners and Poems from Haiku Submissions English Section
盛岡国際俳句大会 事前投句英語部門 受賞作品一覧


Judges: Michael Dylan Welch, Toshio Kimura

Japanese Translation: Toshio Kimura


選者:マイケル・ディラン・ウェルチ、木村 聡雄

邦訳:木村 聡雄



Grand Prize 最優秀作


Selected by Michael Dylan Welch マイケル・ディラン・ウェルチ選


Mircea Moldovan ルーマニア


a suitcase スーツケース

on the nursing home steps 老人ホームの石段に

autumn chill 秋涼し


This poem trusts the image to evoke feeling. That suitcase on the steps, does it mean coming or going? What has happened? The chill of autumn suggests that the story is not a happy one, implying that someone is being moved into the home to live their last days, or perhaps that they’ve passed away, and now their belongings are being taken away. For a moment, one suitcase is left on the steps, as if to say goodbye. Patricia Donegan, a haiku poet who died in 2023, once said that “Every haiku is a piece of a story. It is not a whole story, but a hint of a story that the reader completes in his or her own mind.” We have the opportunity to complete the sad story in this poem. —Michael Dylan Welch





Special Selections 特賞


Selected by Michael Dylan Welch マイケル・ディラン・ウェルチ選


Danny Blackwell スペイン


hailstones 霰降る

the basilica 教会堂の

busier than usual 賑やかさ


“Basilica” is an uncommon word in haiku, but here it works well with its alliteration with “busier,” emphasizing both words. This poem suggests a decline in religious service attendance, but at least the hailstones (sent from God?) are doing their part to help. Or it could be that the hailstorm is not causing people to enter the basilica. Rather, attendance has increased for some other reason, and this is fortunate for those people who have escaped the wrath of hailstones. —Michael Dylan Welch




Stefanie Bucifal ドイツ


spring morning 春の朝

a hint of lilac リラ香る

in the old man’s tune 老人の歌


The lilacs tell us it’s spring, a season of beginning, and the morning marks a beginning too. This contrasts with the man’s age, but surely his tune is jaunty and optimistic, reveling in perpetual beginnings as a life choice. The synesthesia of a tune having the smell of lilacs also comes as a fresh surprise. —Michael Dylan Welch





Special Selections 特賞


Selected by Toshio Kimura 木村聡雄 選

Lakshmi Iyer インド


new moon 新月に

an oyster cuddles 牡蠣が抱き寄せる

the nautical light 航海灯


We do not usually see the new moon. It should be a moonless night. What do oysters in the dark sea rely on instead of moonlight? This haiku makes readers feel that the description might be true. —Toshio Kimura




Meagan Bussert アメリカ合衆国


warbler’s nest 鶯の巣

a bus ticket バス・チケットが

tucked within その奥に


The call of the warblers is a reminder of the arrival of spring. Their nests are made of leaves and twigs. When you quietly looked into their nests during birdwatching, what you found there was. . . . Was it someone’s lost ticket? —Toshio Kimura




Sebastian Chrobak ポーランド


her old diary 彼女の古い日記

open closed open 開き閉じ開き

butterfly’s wings 蝶の羽


The old diary would be full of memories. When she opens it and sweet and sour memories come flooding back, she may close it instinctively. A butterfly with open and closed wings also appears to overlap with her. —Toshio Kimura



Honourable Mentions 選外佳作


Selected by Michael Dylan Welch マイケル・ディラン・ウェルチ選


Boris Nazansky クロアチア


an empty swing 無人のブランコ

first cherry petals 初桜の花びら

come and go 行ったり来たり


Baisali Chatterjee Dutt インド


dusk 夕暮れは

a swing slows to a stop ゆっくりとブランコ止まる

in the empty park 空っぽの公園


Scott Mason アメリカ合衆国


surf’s up 波が立つ

a little boy tries 少年

to move his castle 城を移したくて


Stephen Toft イギリス


mating eagles 鷲つるみ

skywriting the end 空中に文字

of winter 冬終わる


Sebastian Chrobak ポーランド


Hiroshima Day 広島平和記念日

still not enough 未だ足りない

paper cranes 折り鶴


Joshua Gage アメリカ合衆国


fingerprints 指紋の跡

on the carousel horse . . . 回転木馬に...

dusty sunbeams 埃舞う日差し



Honourable Mentions 選外佳作


Selected by Toshio Kimura 木村聡雄 選

Shravani Rao Vydula アメリカ合衆国


blade of grass 草の葉に

snail’s delicate crawl 蝸牛そろり

balancing the universe 天と釣合う


Agnes Eva Savich アメリカ合衆国


tea ceremony 茶の湯すなわち

the forest わが指先の

at my fingertips 森か


Satyanarayana Chittaluri インド


a crow 鴉一羽

cawing and cawing カアカア

what did she lose? 何を失くしたの


Claire Vogel Camargo アメリカ合衆国


children’s laughter 子どもたちにっこり

the choreography 雪ひとひらの

of snowflakes 振付


Sebastian Chrobak ポーランド


whispering secrets 秘密じゃない

a squirrel hides an acorn 栗鼠の隠す団栗

that no one will find もう分からない


Jenny Fraser ニュージーランド


in and out 空間の

of the vastness 内そして外

a blackbird calls クロウタドリの歌