Ghibli Inspired Haiku

By Kevin Martinez

[Feel Free To Skip The Poetics Statement If You Want to Get Straight To The Poetry]

I was inspired by my trip to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and a love of Miyazaki’s films to try and write poetry inspired by his films, which are known both for their vivid imagery and complex themes interplaying between concepts of ecology, family, commercialism, and technology.

As an additional challenge, I attempted to write all my poetry in the form of haiku, a traditional Japanese form of poetry that I have very little experience in, in an attempt to get a more sheer and honest interpretation of Miyazaki’s work and in turn seek a better appreciation for his films.

I attempted to capture some of the themes present in Miyzaki’s films in the haikus, with each individual poem being accompanied by a background still of the specific film that inspired it and an emphasis on some of the themes of the same work. I challenge potential readers to see if they can guess the film from the poem and the corresponding frame, and undoubtedly some will be a lot easier to identify than others. I took a single still from most of Miyazaki’s directed films, all of them being: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Feel free to comment down below which poems you like, or alternatively, feel free to disagree with some of my thematic interpretations or share what your thoughts are on Miyazaki’s art.

7 thoughts on “Ghibli Inspired Haiku”

  1. Thanks, Kevin! This project seems to fit our course like a hand in glove.

    Another haiku resource I have found helpful (from a small bookshelf of haiku-related books at home, mostly assembled by my daughter) is Cor van den Heuvel’s The Haiku Anthology (first ed., 1974; revised third ed., 2000):

    One of the venerable Norton anthologies: a big gift in a small package. I often find myself rereading poems from it.

  2. Hi Kevin, I love the idea you had and you definitely captured the feel of each film with a fantastic picture and succint statement. I’d have never thought of a project such as this one and I applaud you.

  3. Kevin, these poems stunned me! I think, overall, you give readers a good idea of what each film is about, presenting each film’s voice with a high degree of accuracy. The fourth one, which has to be about Ponyo, honestly moved me. It captures the agency of the child-protagonists while maintaining Nature’s obliging personality. Which was important because although a “Natural disaster” is the main conflict, it is brought about by the rage of a human (the Liam Neeson sea-wizard guy, he was human right?).

    Great work!

  4. HI Kevin,

    I loved this project it’s so unique and a Haiku is the perfect way to express Miyazaki’s work. I really liked, “Nature provides us, sustains our childhood wonder, plants hope in our hearts”. That is Miyazaki’s work in a nutshell. I used to write Haiku’s as a kid and even got published once so this is making me want to start writing Haiku’s again because they’re such a beautifully simple way to express your words. I also liked the first one for Princess Mononoke it is very spot on!

  5. Hey Kevin,
    Glad to see another poet. You definitely put so much thought in your haikus. I especially liked “A child’s wonderous gaze preserves the Ocean’s mercy, quelling human rage.” This haiku does encapsulate the way Ponyo was shown. It has been quite a while since I wrote haikus, like literally my early years in elementary. After revisiting a childhood activity, I’m glad to have that capacity to dig deep into a core memory to try haikus again.

Leave a Reply