Winners of the 9th World Children’s Haiku Contest organized by the JAL Foundation have been invited to participate in this year’s World Children’s Haiku Camp 2006 to be held in Matsuyama, Japan from July 26 to July 31. Haiku is a traditional form of classic Japanese poetry using only 17 syllables, through which writers express their deepest emotions by describing, for example, nature in a simple but beautiful language. From October 2005 to this March, the JAL Foundation supported by Japan Airlines and many educational centers worldwide, promoted the 9 th World Children’s Haiku Contest in elementary and junior high schools. Over 22,000 children in 25 countries entered the competition by writing haiku to express their thoughts on the word ‘home’. Prizes and certificates of merit were awarded to the top entries from each country, and from the winners twenty-three children were selected to join the World Children’s Haiku Camp 2006.
Children from 17 countries will attend this year’s camp to be held in Matsuyama city from July 26 to July 31. Joining winners from Japan will be children from Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, the UK and USA. Located in Ehime Prefecture Shikoku, Matsuyama was the hometown of the famous haiku poet, Matsuoka Shiki (1867-1902), the founding father of modern haiku, and is considered by many to be the world capital of haiku. During their stay, the children will be able to get to know each other, as well as meet children from the local area. They will also go sightseeing, experience traditional Japanese culture, and attend a summer festival and fireworks display. The highlight of the camp is the World Children’s Haiku Summit where children present the haiku they will have created during their stay.