News and Announcements

It is with profound sadness we report that Teruo Yamagata, born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1932, the President of the Yukuharu Haiku Society of Japan, and a long-time member of Yuki Teikei Haiku Society passed away on February 16, 2015 in Tokyo. As an engineer for IHI, Yamagata often traveled to the Bay Area where he meet with Kiyoko and Kiyoshi Tokutomi, founders of YTHS. He had the privilege of studying English under R. H. Blythe in 1948. He was awarded the Yukuharu SOSHUN Prize in 1977. He touched many lives in the haiku world, both in Japan and America. An article about Mr. Yamagata, that appeared in the twenty-fifth anniversary of Young Leaves, written by Patricia Macmiller, can be found here, YTHS has also honored Mr. Yamagata with his own Haiku Poets’ Page.


This year, 2015, marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society (YTHS).  There will be many celebrations and events honoring this occasion.  Patricia Machmiller has created a one-page calendar of the currently planned special events, beautifully illustrated with one of her pen-and-ink drawings.   Here is a link to it.


A special exhibit, Shining Wind: Forty Years of English Haiku, will be on display April 3rd to April 19th at the Japanese American Museum,  535 N. 5th St., San Jose, CA. Thursdays – Sundays 12 – 4 PM (see the 2015 Society Events page for more details). This exhibit will be a lively look at the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society teaching English speakers a traditional Japanese poetry form:  haiku. A 1975 Japantown start-up by the husband and wife team, Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi, YTHS has blossomed into a vigorous society centered in San Jose, but with outreach to many other states, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Today members celebrate a long list of accomplishments including: a bi-monthly newsletter, an annual members’ anthology, a regional saijiki, an annual haiku contest, and an annual Haiku Retreat. At the 2012 Retreat YTHS hosted the great physicist and haiku poet, Dr. Akito Arima from Tokyo. In each season throughout the year, YTHS members gather to write and exchange haiku: in May—a Teahouse Reading in San Jose’s Japanese Friendship Garden; in July—on the seventh day of the seventh month, Tanabata; in Fall— a moon-viewing party; and  in December—a Winter Holiday Party. Come enjoy the merger of a graceful tradition with modern Silicon Valley life, as evidenced in the historical photos, artifacts, memorabilia, and haiku on display.


One of our members, June Hymas, has undertaken the authoring of a pictorial daily blog to celebrate each day of this year in pictures and poetry of YTHS.  You can link to her blog here.


In late November or early December YT Members will be receiving their free copy of the 40th Anniversary Members’ Anthology, The Plover and the Moonstone. If you wish to purchase additional copies for the pre-publication price of $11 per book plus $5 for postage (domestic) or $25 (international), please send requests with a check on an American bank to:

Patricia Machmiller
6116 Dunn Avenue
San Jose, CA 95123

You may also send your request through PayPal at If you are planning on attending the Haiku Retreat in November, there is no need to pay postage as you will be able to pick up your extra copies at that time.

Recent YTHS Events


It was an evening of haiku friendship. The holiday dinner was at the home of Alison Woolpert, our YTHS President. As she expressed through her words:

Luminarias outside, holiday lights inside, and a living room filled with the lively talk among friends (Patricia & Al Machmiller, Judith & Lou Schallberger, Joan Zimmerman and friends from Japan Miki and Shun Kamata, Eleanor Carolyn, Carol Steele, Carolyn Fitz, Jean Mahoney, Patrick Gallagher, Sandy Vrooman, Roger Abe, Ann Bendixen, Kae Bendixen, Amy Ostenso Kennedy, Phillip Kennedy, and Alan Leavitt).  Candles and Carol’s Ikebana centerpiece decorated the dining room table, a table laden with delicious potluck offerings.  We feasted, and then shared our haiku/haiga cards.

To sum it all up in J. Zimmerman’s words:  “It was filled with Joy.” Write-up by Mimi Ahern.


“It was for the birds!”… and for all the 33 birder haiku poets (new and veteran) who gathered for the YTHS Retreat at Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA.  Mimi Ahern took some wonderful photos during the retreat, which can be seen here.  Mimi also chronicled this 4-day event, and her write-up can be found here.



For this new feature of the website, each member of the Society can provide up to ten haiku, and/or seven haiga for presentation. The presence of the poems and photos/art will allow viewers to understand the tenor and range of YTHS haiku and haiga.

Each member is invited to submit, by email or snail mail, haiku and haiga for posting on the website under the poet’s name. Poets may choose from their whole corpus, works that they would be happy to share with YTHS members and web viewers. For more guidelines and details, see the Haiku Poets’ Pages and the Haiga Poets’ Pages.


One of the tenets of haiku aesthetics that the Yuki Teikei Society honors, is the importance of the use kigo, or season words in English language haiku. Robert Wilson, a prominent editor and critic of haiku and allied forms has recently published a treatise strongly supporting the use of season words in all haiku. See it the on-line journal, Simply Haiku, at this link. (See our publication that elaborates on San Francisco Bay area season words at this link.)



The Yuki Teikei Haiku Society (YTHS) was founded in San Jose, California, in 1975 by Mr. Kiyoshi Tokutomi and Mrs. Kiyoko Tokutomi. The purpose of the founders was to nourish and foster the art of writing haiku in English using the traditional guidelines developed by haiku poets in Japan. As explained by Mrs. Tokutomi, in Japanese “Yu” means ‘having’, “Ki” means ‘season’, “Tei” means ‘formal’, and “Kei” means ‘pattern’. Therefore in the founders’ view, “yuki teikei” haiku, with a season word and utilizing the three-line 5-7-5 pattern of syllables, are the proper rendering of the haiku form in English. Under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Tokutomi the Society took root in San Jose, and presently has grown to an international organization of about 90 poets.

It is one of the most active English language haiku societies. The Society meets monthly for haiku writing and study; it publishes a bi-monthly work/study journal, GEPPO, an annual anthology, and other publications including the highly regarded book Young Leaves. The Society celebrates traditional Japanese haiku-writing holidays including Tanabata, moon-viewing, and cherry blossom viewing.

A notable achievement of the Society has been the establishment of an annual haiku retreat at the lovely and historic Asilomar Seashore and Conference Center on the Pacific shore of the Monterey Peninsula. The Society continues to value the principles of the founders and their insights into how haiku should be written in English, while continuing to receive guidance from historical and evolving Japanese practices.

A number of the members use the 5-7-5 syllables as their preferred form of the English haiku, and it is the required form for submissions to the Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest. Others provide “good form” in haiku through a variety of line lengths, and such poems constitute the bulk of submissions to the GEPPO and other Society publications. The proper use of season words in English-language haiku is encouraged in all the activities of the Society.