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Croatia Haiku Super Power - Vladimir Devide Haiku Award 2012 goes to Kudryavitsky and Maretić
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  05/20/2012 | Poetry , Environment , Education , Culture And Arts | Unrated
Croatia is considered a Haiku "superpower"

Tomislav Maretić, Zagreb, physician and haiku poet

Vladimir Devide Haiku Award 2012 announced by Akito Arima goes to Anthony Kudryavitsky Ireland and Tomislav Maretić Croatia

April 6 2012

The Second Vladimir Devide Haiku Award was announced by Akito Arima, formerly Japanese Minister of both Science and Education, and president of the University of Tokyo, and current president of the Haiku International Association. The award was made as part of the third Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities (ACAH 2012), and the Second Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship (LibrAsia 2012). Dr Arima announced the award after his keynote speech: Symmetry, Art and Nature, the full text of which will be available on the site presently. He is pictured here on the left, with IAFOR IAB Chairman, Professor Stuart Picken.

Vladimir Devide (1925-2010), Croatian mathematician, Japanologist and haiku poet

The 2012 open competition was again judged by its founder, His Excellency Dr Drago Stambuk, Croatian Ambassador to Brazil and poet of international reknown. The award attracted over 200 entries from 28 countries, and this year the prize was jointly awarded to two authors, Anthony Kudryavitsky and Tomislav Maretić, for the following entries:

on the steps
of the Freedom Memorial,
a discarded snake skin
Anthony Kudryavitsky, Ireland

The rocking chair
– a young pregnant woman
swings her big belly
Tomislav Maretić, Croatia

IAFOR would like to express its thanks to Drago Stambuk for his continued efforts on behalf of the haiku award. For their support, IAFOR would like to thank both the Haiku International Association, and president Akito Arima, and the World Haiku Association, and president Ban'ya Natsuishi.

Akito Arima

Akito Arima is a nuclear physicist of international renown who has taught at universities all over the world, including his alma mater, the University of Tokyo, of which he was president from 1989-1993. He has promoted the importance of science through his activities as a researcher, university administrator, and as director of RIKEN, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (1993-1998). He was elected to the upper house of the Japanese Diet in 1998, serving successively as Minister for Education, Science, Sports and Culture (1998-1999), and Minister of State for Science and Technology (1999). On leaving the House of Councillors, he was Chairman of the Japan Science Foundation from 1999 until 2011, and appointed Director of the Science Museum in 2004, a post he still holds.

Professor Arima is not only known for his promotion of science however, and is a haiku master, and President of the Haiku International Association and appears frequently in the media. He is the author of several collections of Haiku that have been widely translated, most notably "Einstein's Century", a collection of his works. Professor Arima will also be announcing the winner of the Second Vladimir Devide Haiku Award, founded and judged by ACAH/LibrAsia 2011 keynote speaker, His Excellency Drago Stambuk.


The Second Annual Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award Organized by the International Academic Forum as part of the Second Annual Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship LibrAsia 2012, Osaka, Japan.

Founder of the Award and Judge: Drago Štambuk, Croatia

Organizer: IAFOR, Librasia (2nd Conference on Literature and Librarianship), Osaka, Japan.

Despite a successful international academic career as a renowned mathematician, with professorships in Australia and the US, as well as his native Croatia at the University of Zagreb, it is primarily as a Japanologist and haiku poet that Vladimir Devide is now remembered.

Devide was not only one of the world's most celebrated haiku poets, but a tireless promoter of Japanese culture. If Croatia is now considered a Haiku "superpower", with more poets practicing the art per capita than any other nation, it is largely thanks to his efforts.

A full member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Vladimir Devide has won a number of awards and honours, including the Le Prix CIDALC (1977), the Prize of the City of Zagreb (1982), and  for his work as a promoter of Japanese culture, the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure (1983).

Vladimir Devide died in August 2010, and this competition pays tribute to his vision and passion for haiku.


The International Academic Forum would like to thank the founder and judge, His Excellency Dr Drago Štambuk, for his continued work on behalf of the award. We would also like to extend our thanks to the Haiku Interational Association, and in particular to its  president, Akito Arima, who will be making the announcement and reading the winning entries. Our thanks to the World Haiku Association for its support, and to its president, Ban'ya Natsuishi for his promotion of the award. Also thanks to Ms Emiko Miyashita for her help in promoting  haiku through  the organization of a workshop as part of the  conference, and to Ms Hana Fujimoto for her work on behalf of the HIA and the Award.

Tomislav Maretić 

Born in Zagreb in 1951, Tomislav Maretic works in Zagreb as an infectologist on the HIV Ward of the "University Hospital for Infectious diseases".

He has been writing haiku for the past 25 years and the majority of his haiku was published in "Marulic" - The Magazine of Croatian Literary Society "Saint Jerome". His haiku was published in several national and international periodicals and electronic haiku magazines. He won several awards and honourable mentions on the international haiku contests and his haiku was presented in several international and national haiku anthologies and almanachs.

In 1988, together with Vladimir Devidé and Zvonko Petrovic, he wrote the first
renga in Croatian language and in 1995 the book "Renge"(Sipar, Zagreb) was
published. He is one among the authors of common, billingual (Croatian/English) haiku
collection "Seven Ways" (Zagreb, 2000). In 2002 he published the collection of free verse poetry "Naplavine".

He lives in Vrapce, a little village near Zagreb on the foot of Zagrebacka gora, with his wife Ana, four children and a tomcat.


Haiku poetry of Tomislav Maretić

Tomislav Maretić - Three Questions

Tomislav Maretić lives in Zagreb with his wife Ana and four children. He has written haiku for the past 30 years. They have been nationally and internationally published in a number of haiku journals, magazines, anthologies and almanacs, as well as awarded in many international haiku competitions.

Poetry Collections:
The Boat in the Reeds (haiku, 1990)
Alluvium (free verse, 2002)
Butterfly Over the Open Sea (haiku, 2011)

1) Why do you write haiku?

I write haiku because it is the world's shortest poetry form and because I don't have much time for longer poetry. In addition, I find haiku to almost not be poetry at all, but instead touching of reality and poetry in reality. What I like with haiku is that is is poetry in Nature, and not in words.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I'm open to all poetry forms, and I generally and particularly like various styles of imagistic poetry, either rhymed or free verse, as well as poetry by Croatian poets:  A.B. Šimić, Tin Ujević, Viktor Vida and Danijel Dragojević.

3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits)

a child shakes off
the first snow from the swing –
quiet morning   

 (Ito en, 1991)

guests are coming –
are the petals to be swept
away from the paths?

(Sakura Award, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, 2006)

hot tea-pot
on the garden table –
camellias in haze       


Prim.MSc. Tomislav Maretić: Akademik Vladimir Devidé - japanolog, književnik i prevoditelj [MP3]

Prim.MSc. Tomislav Maretić speaking about Professor Vladimir Devide(1925-2010)
at the commemorative meeting organized by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2011.

LibrAsia 2011
The Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship 2011, Osaka, Japan

Keynote Address, May 28 2011, Dr Drago Štambuk

Mina-sama konnichiwa,

Dear friends,

I would like to say a few words before beginning my speech.

It is a great privilege and a solemn pleasure to be back.

I returned from Japan to my home country of Croatia just before Christmas of last year. I have found myself missing this country profoundly ever since.

But that sentiment was nothing compared to what I experienced when the great earthquake hit Japan: I became ill. It was my inability to be here that made me unwell, the inability to share with people I love and respect the burden of these terrible times. I felt guilty for not being among them, for not sharing their pain and suffering.

In the past few weeks, it has dawned on me that my emotional reaction was due to the same sense of unjust privilege and exemption felt by all survivors of great disasters. A feeling of deep shame and culpability for having been absent at a time of great need—for having been on safe ground, in the faraway country of Croatia.

It is thus with mingled pleasure and grief that I return to Japan now, conveying the great sorrow that I and my countrymen feel at the tragedy which has befallen this beloved country, as well as our enduring respect for the dignity and humanity with which it is being borne. Let me now proceed to the opening speech for this joint session of the Asian Conference on Literature & Librarianship and The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities:

Haiku Consciousness, a Homecoming

The images beamed around the world in the aftermath of the March 11th earthquake were nothing short of apocalyptic. For me, they brought to mind, and horribly crystallized, all the calamities with which our earth is presently afflicted: the warming of the planet and drastic climate change, poverty and hunger, pollution and the menace of nuclear disaster, conflicts for dwindling resources and about world supremacy. The population of the earth is threatened beyond words.

Obliviously and obviously, we seem to march down a path of self-destruction that could be symbolically presented in the image of Ouroboros – the snake that eats its own tail. The world, our only world, as an Ouroboros! Isn't our planet, along with mankind which populates it, on the verge of perishing? Yet we must strive to understand the condition of world in this time of looming and catastrophic downfall, to diagnose the disease in time and to prescribe the cure. We must fight with conviction, determination, and the will to survive. The pressing task of our day is the very continuation of human life on this beautiful God-given blue planet. You may think my depiction exceedingly bleak, but for all that, mine is a message of hope: I retain the conviction that mankind is capable of thinking, feeling and acting more harmoniously and responsibly than we do at present. And I want to use the haiku as a way of thinking about an improved humanity.

The haiku is a way of accessing and representing, an agenda for the common good, for the common betterment. By definition, the haiku is brief; even tiny. Yet in three short lines, a vast metaphysical expanse opens up: this is the paradox, the shock and the achievement of the haiku. A minimal amount of text charged with infinite space and time. I call this open space, this arena of metaphysics, the haiku consciousness. It is a way of being in harmony with nature, and with one’s own nature. It’s a way of connecting between the world inside and the world outside; of joining our own internal light with the exterior illumination. Imagine what it could mean for our world if haiku consciousness and composition could be globalised, could be generalised, universalised. Haiku acts as a harmonising force on man’s relation with nature, with the outside world. Especially in an era where disjuncture between man and nature is so pronounced, we should inculcate the noble concepts of haiku, and disseminate the practice as widely as possible. To encourage the global practice of haiku, I think it is crucial to set aside strict rules and limitations of prosody that are not crucial to its composition or aesthetic.

When I proposed the creation of a Haiku Award in memory of Professor Vladimir Devidé, the pioneer of haiku in Croatia and in the region as a whole, I suggested that modern and traditional haiku should be treated as equals. This is especially crucial for international haiku composition and competition, since not all languages can reflect Japanese syllabic patterns, nor do all climates mirror the four clear seasons which find expression in classical haiku. Insistence on narrow limitations won’t give the haiku room to breathe in other languages, climates, cultures. Haiku is something more universal than its mere formal rules: it is a state of mind and an approach to thought, and as such it cannot be confined to a certain amount of syllables or morae.

Let me explain what I think haiku can do for the spirit. I believe that all the great sacred traditions show that consciousness began with only inner light, in a time when humanity was in union with the Supreme Being and Creator. Corruption originated when people began tasting of the earth and of the outer light. The external world is thus the creation of otherness, which by the same token diminished the essence of our creation by diverting us from God and breaking our union with Him. This is the tension that creates the need for a metaphysical resolution. The haiku woman or man (rather than the poet) is a person who stands inside that chaotic darkness and waits. This is not an idle way of waiting; it is alert, conscious and focused. What do they wait for? They wait for the lightning to strike – that lightning which illuminates the world around them. To look at the world boldly, in the sudden light of haiku consciousness is to commit an act of love and complete understanding. Looking becomes presence – the gift of seeing, in depth, and with the power of discernment. It is a kind of satori beyond the critical mind and devoid of criticism. Compassion permeates this kind of mindfulness and attentiveness. Haiku leads us in the right direction, homewards, in a process of rediscovery and reassimilation of our compelling and inherent universal values.

Our inherent and perpetual longing for our real homeland, for the Golden Age, for union with the divine, is an attempt to counteract the chaotic differentiation which has defined our behaviour from time immemorial. Thus, haiku consciousness is a deceptively modest and indirect way of animating our memory of the long-gone Golden Era. In today’s prevailing atmosphere of chaos and disorder, haiku consciousness brings into focus the ambient disruption and cacophony, while highlighting the need for serenity, for the homecoming. We have lost sight of our own nature in the whirl of the day-to-day, in the fog of petty concerns. The quotidian overwhelms the crucial values of our existence; myopic greed and consumerism have put us at odds with our environment, with our only planet.

This is not a new development; from the beginning of the earth, the human ego has created an existential disorder and broken our joint vessel; now it has initiated, brought on the epoch of apocalypses. The haiku is a minute and piecemeal, but inestimable and hopeful corrective. Through it we can inch closer to a reconstruction of the lost harmony between ourselves and nature, ourselves and God. In a world overcrowded with people, objects and concrete, it is through small acts that we can enlarge our metaphysical space, that we expand our capacity for love, charity and compassion, that we must look to our salvation. There are many words for what we have lost; our Tao, our way, our union with the gods, our fullness, our wholeness, our completeness. There can be no other remedy but a return to older ways of thinking and feeling. Haiku creates a new old completeness of Earth and Heaven, Man and God, visible and invisible. Through it we can train ourselves to regain our old consciousness.

This is my agenda for haiku consciousness; to awaken our metaphysical sensitivity, open our eyes wide, and—in a flash of understanding of all our blind decisions and wrong turns—finally choose the only tenable option, a soothing spiritual path to heal and recuperate, path for which we can use the same name as ancient traditions did – Tao, the Way, Eternal Home. We must learn or relearn how to give love and how to receive love.

Therefore I welcome all of you who are involved in haiku writing, and also all of you who read and cherish haiku and contribute to the forces of good - what I like to call survivalist band. I invite you to join hands in encouraging the globalisation of the forces of good, of everything that I have been trying to underline: the haiku forces of beauty and homecoming. All those of you who through the ancient Japanese traditions of Shintoism and Buddhism understand the meaning and value of jodo – the pure land concept of the sacredness of earth, which views nature as an ally, an inescapable friend and a nurturer of humanity; I repeat the call for you to work towards haiku's regenerative influence on ecology and green thinking, to proselytise the religious love of nature, i.e. its assistance and contribution to our survival.

Therefore: Vivat haiku! – let's live in, of and by haiku consciousness and writing. Let's celebrate its ethical purity, its metaphysical austerity, let's become the priests and followers of religion called poetry.

With the concerted efforts of all who are gathered here today and of our friends elsewhere, let's clear away the corruption and decay, the suffocating materialism, the strangling vines about our spirits, let's scrape the mould from our souls. The values of life, love, peace, compassion and harmony must prevail on our earth; otherwise our existence will be cut short. Anyone who wants to govern mankind and nations must become its servant. Thus, let us all become servants dedicated to serving the good, initiating the change in our own hearts, bringing out the living existence of the great heart, the great soul, the Mahatma of humanity. I wish to close with an example of linguistic sophistication in Japanese, its stunning capacity to denote, to name the grades and hues of existence. So, for example, in discerning degrees of moisture. There are many, but I'd like to cite one example - SHIMERU, which denotes the grade of moisture in the air, too great for a person to strike a match. We can use it as an allegory. Against the creeping damp of our world, we must exert our own burning and warming hearts to lessen SHIMERU. That way, we can ignite our matches, make a fire in our hearth again, a fire on which we can warm our hands. We need to return to warmth and compassion. We should be warm to others, so that we can ourselvews feel warm again. We should love to be loved again. The haiku is a minute and precise, a precious tool in this endeavour. It is a tool of our salvation; therefore I'll finish this presentation by reading in three versions (Japanese, English and Croatian) one of the greatest and exceptionally majestic, perhaps the most spacious, allencompassing haiku of all times, which prompted my piligrimage to Japanese Sado island in 2009. You already know where this is heading:

Matsuo BASHO

Ara-umi ya
Sado ni yokoto

Stormy sea.
Milky way
reaches Sado island.

Uzburkano more.
Kumovska slama
seže do Sada.

Domo arrigato gozaimashita.

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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