On October 19, 2022, Paul Atkins, professor of classical Japanese language, literature, and culture, gave a lecture titled "What is Haiku?" This event was organized and sponsored by Washin Kai, Friends of Classical Japanese at UW. As one of the department's first large-scale, public-facing hybrid events, the lecture was well-attended; about sixty people turned out in person, braving the very smoky weather, and approximately two hundred people tuned in to the event live online over Zoom.
Professor Atkins discussed the origins of haiku in the renga linked verse of medieval Japan, introduced the major classic poets, and explored the ways in which haiku is linked to other forms of Japanese literature and art, emphasizing the importance of contexts, especially social contexts, in writing and reading haiku.
The talk was followed by a lively roundtable discussion between Professor Atkins and haiku poets Mitsuko Miller of Rainier Ginsha and Scott Oki. It was moderated by Bruce Rutledge.
Recordings of the event are available on the Asian L&L YouTube Channel:
Recording (Version 1): PowerPoint View
Recording (Version 2): Audience View
The next Washin Kai event will be held Wednesday, April 19th, 2023, and will be a lecture by Professor Ken Oshima of the University of Washington’s Department of Architecture, with participation by Professor Paul Atkins (Department of Asian Languages and Literature) and Washin Kai member and architect Hiroshi Matsubara. The topic is the Katsura Detached Palace (Katsura Rikyū). Located outside Kyoto, it is one of the most celebrated examples of traditional Japanese architecture. More details will be announced on the Washin Kai website when available.