Matsuo Basho's Lasting Influence (02:53)
Haiku poet Matsuo Basho recorded his experience of his northern travels in Japan over 300 years ago in "The Narrow Road to the Deep North." Influenced by his work, 14 haiku poets from five countries gather in Japan to retrace Basho's steps.
Judit Vihar's Haiku Moment (05:20)
In 2002, Judit Vihar from Hungary joins others to follow Basho's footsteps to see the sites that influenced Basho's work. A "haiku moment" expresses the poet's feelings at the instant he or she experiences a special moment in nature.
Visnja McMaster's Haiku Moment (06:36)
Visnja McMaster, who has experienced the Balkan wars, is inspired by the Buddhist statues in Sesshoseki in Tochigi Prefecture. In Croatia Visnja teaches children haiku, a means for them to deal with war, death, and loss.
David Barsky's Haiku Moment (06:22)
Basho compares the passage of time to a voyage and regarded each moment of life as important. David Barsky, an American television director, is moved by Basho's sublime sensitivity to nature. He finds poetry amongst the trees at the Risshaku-ji Temple.
Nature and Healing (03:42)
Visnja and David hope to find peace and healing at Basho's next stop, Matsushima in the Miyagi Prefecture. Barsky wants to translate Japanese nature onto film for Westerners. He hopes they see the need to return to the basics of life.
David Barsky's Second Haiku Moment (02:51)
In Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, David creates a film to expose Americans to the essence of Haiku. Haiku moments for David are times when he feels emotion for a tiny speck of nature or when many aspects of nature come together in a single meaning.
Finding Connections in Yamagata Prefecture (02:57)
The group visits Basho's lodgings in Yamagata Prefecture, where Judit discovers similarities in the way wood is cut here and in Hungary. Hungarians originally came from Asia. Visnja feels Basho's presence very strongly in the house.
Visnja's Haiku Card Game (03:20)
During the journey Visnja teaches the others a card game she invented to teach haiku to Croatian children. "Haiku cards" helps the children imagine the haiku moment of the poet and allows the children to unlock their feelings caused by the war.
Haiku Moments Along the Mogami River (02:32)
Basho visited the Mogami River in Yamaguchi Prefecture during the rainy season. Judit is inspired by the river and her haiku moment comes as the group travels down the river in the mist.
Journey's End and Haiku's Power (02:39)
The journey ends in Kisakata, Akita Prefecture. In Basho's day, this was an inlet with 99 islands, but an earthquake caused the land to rise and turned the islands into hills. Haiku's power brings people together since haiku speaks directly and concretely from the heart.
Impacts of Basho's Journey (02:07)
David believes that haiku is a global form of poetry since it translates easily. He appreciates this beautiful Japanese contribution to the world. Judit now has a stronger desire to translate "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" into Hungarian.
Basho's Legacy and Influence (02:23)
At the end of the journey the 14 participants celebrate under a full autumn moon. Even though so many years have passed and the land has changed, through Basho's haiku, 14 kindred spirits were able to find him.
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