January 24, 2019

2019 Tokutomi Haiku Contest

The 2019 Kiyoshi & Kiyoko Tokutomi

Memorial Haiku Contest

The oldest USA-based international haiku contest honoring traditional Japanese haiku!

In-hand Deadline: Friday May 31, 2019

Prizes: $100 $50 $25 to the top three haiku

Contest Rules

  • Haiku must be in English.
  • Haiku must each have 17 syllables in a 5-7-5 pattern. The contest standard for determining a syllable is The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition.
  • Each haiku must use only one kigo which must be from the contest list.
  • Haiku with more than one recognized kigo will be disqualified.

2019 Contest Kigo List

  New Year: first wind in the pines; New Year’s tea/good luck tea/lucky tea*
  Spring: skylark/soaring skylark; snowmelt/melting snow; thistle
  Summer: sunburn
  Autumn: autumn dusk; acorn
  Winter: wolf; hot chocolate

* You can find added information on the New Year’s kigo here.

Contest Entry Details

  Email Entries

To:        Christine Horner at 2019TokutomiContest@gmail.com
Subject Line: Your Name, Contest

Please single space your haiku in the body of the email

Fee:      $8.00 per three haiku with PayPal. Go to PayPal;  at “Send money to” type: YukiTeikei@msn.com  In the “Note” box of PayPal, type: YTContest, your name, and the number of haiku.

 Paper Entries

Mail to:

  • YTHS Tokutomi Contest
  • Christine Horner, Contest Chair
  • 3435 La Caminita
  • Lafayette,  CA 94549

Fee: $7.00 per page of three haiku. Include check made out to Yuki Teikei Haiku Society. Place three poems per 8 ½ x 11 page and three copies of each page with your name and address on one copy only. Overseas entrants use International Postal Money Order in US currency only.

Entry Details

  • Entries must be original, unpublished, and not under consideration elsewhere. Previous winning haiku are not eligible.  No limit on number of entries.
  • Entries will not be returned and no refunds will be given.
  • The contest is open to anyone, except for the YTHS President and Contest Chair.
  • Final selection will be made by one or more distinguished haiku poets.
  • YTHS may print winning poems and commentary in its newsletter, website, annual anthology, and brochures. The judges and contest results will be announced at the November 2019 YTHS Annual Haiku Retreat in Asilomar. Soon afterward they will appear on the YTHS website: http://youngleaves.org/
  • For a paper copy of the contest results send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) marked “Contest Winners.” Those abroad please enclose a self-addressed envelope (SAE) plus enough postage in international reply coupons for air mail return.

Previous Contest Winners

The year 2019 marks the 36th year of this esteemed contest, since there were no contests in five of the early years, around the passing of Kiyoshi Tokutomi. To honor the winners through the years, YTHS has created a document of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place haiku with the author’s name for every year a contest was held. Contestants may wish to study these winning haiku. Here is the link. Many of the contests put out brochures with both the winners and the honorable mentions, along with the comments of the judge(s) on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place haiku. Here is the link.

Contest Kigo Caution

In past Tokutomi contests, a significant number of submitted haiku have had to be removed from consideration. This was primarily because they failed to meet the last of the four rules: “Haiku with more than one recognized kigo will be disqualified.”

The Tokutomi Contest coordinator for the 2013 and 2014 contests, Joan Zimmerman, has written a thoughtful essay on this topic. Here is the link.  All poets considering entering the 2019 Tokutomi Haiku Contest are encouraged to read this essay and to adhere to one kigo from the list above for each submitted haiku.