SHAO and “A Haiku Sailing Pilgrimage around Japan” is the vision of Professor Richard Gilbert, Ph.D., Kumamoto University, Faculty of Letters, an international figure in the promotion of Japanese and English-language haiku. Making his home in Kumamoto, Dr. Gilbert has published numerous books and articles on haiku over the last two decades. As an American, he grew up on the Connecticut shore sailing in cruising yachts and participating in small-craft racing on Long Island Sound. He is also a Scuba Divemaster. He currently sails in the Kyushu area with members of the Yatsushiro and Kumamoto Yacht Clubs. “A Haiku Sailing Pilgrimage around Japan” is inspired by the haiku journeys of Bashō and Issa, and also by contemporary figures, such as Santoka, the recent works of Arashiyama-sensei, and those who have sought to discover historical and contemporary cultural treasures through meetings with noted contemporary artists in local settings.
In Japan. Arrived to research haiku in 1998, and began publishing academic articles on Japanese and English-language haiku. Received tenure as an Associate Professor, in the Departments of British and American Literature, Faculty of Letters, and in the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences, Kumamoto University, in 2002.
Awards and Other Honors: (Haiku-related): Grants: Research grants awarded by the Japan Ministry of Education (MEXT): 1) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, MEXT Kakenhi 18520439 (2006-08), supported the creation of research materials found at the Gendai Haiku Website; 2) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, Kakenhi 21520579 (2009-12) supported documentary filming and book publication of the works and life of Kaneko Tohta; 3) MEXT Kakenhi 24520628 (2012-15) supports current research, including the translation of new scholarship related to Basho, additional poet interviews, and the publication of a bilingual textbook presenting topics in Japanese and English-language haiku for Japanese EFL university students.
Professional Activities: Co-judge of the Kusamakura International Haiku Competition, Kumamoto, Japan (2003-present). Founder and Director of the Kon Nichi Haiku Translation Group, Kumamoto University (2002-present). Founding Associate Member of The Haiku Foundation.
Books recently published: In March 2008, publication of Poems of Consciousness: Contemporary Japanese & English-language Haiku in Cross-cultural Perspective (Red Moon Press, 2008, 306 pp.) was awarded the HSA 2009 Mildred Kanterman Award for Haiku Criticism and Theory. In mixed media publication, the Gendai Haiku Website presents subtitled video interviews with notable gendaihaiku (modern Japanese haiku) poets, biographical information and haiku translations. In 2011, publication of Ikimonofûei: Poetic Composition on Living Things (a talk by Kaneko Tohta, with commentary and essays. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 92 pp.), and The Future of Haiku, an Interview with Kaneko Tohta (with commentary and essays. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 138 pp.). In 2012, publication of Selected Haiku of Kaneko Tohta, Part 1, 1937-1960 (with commentary, essays and chronology. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 256 pp.), and Selected Haiku of Kaneko Tohta, Part 2, 1961-2012 (with commentary, chronology and encyclopedic glossary. Gilbert, et al, Red Moon Press, 250 pp.). The two 2012 Selected Haiku of Kaneko Tohta volumes were awarded The Haiku Foundation 2012 Touchstone Distinguished Book Award. In August 2013, publication of The Disjunctive Dragonfly: A New Theory of English-language Haiku (R. Gilbert, Red Moon Press, 132 pp.).