“Sakura,” Friend, Feb. 1975, 22


    Haiku (hi-koo) is a Japanese poem of three lines. The first and third lines have five syllables and the middle line has seven. Most haiku poetry is written about nature.

    As you read the two haikus below, count the syllables and try to write your own haiku:

    Softly the sun sets

    Bringing the quiet promise

    Of new tomorrows.

    The cherry blossoms

    Ornamenting green hillsides

    Are whispering spring.

    The simple form of the haiku is like the delicate lines of a Japanese painting and the single-line melodies of music. In this picture you can see the delicate and thin lines and the soft and pale colors.

    “Sakura” is one of the most beloved of all Japanese folk melodies. Sakura means cherry blossoms. Japanese children sing this song to the accompaniment of a koto (resembling a long, narrow autoharp).

    Japanese music is written with a scale that has only five tones. You can play many melodies on just the black keys of the piano to make it sound like a Japanese song.