Report from Tokyo 6: The Radioactive Kika Hotta

by on Oct.06, 2011

Kika Hotta is a warm, funny, nice, humble, superpolyglottal genius and probably also the ‘Future’ of Haiku, in the sense that radioactivity is (but does not have?) a future at once accumulating and dispersing, stretching into infinity while infinitesimally subdividing, almost nothing and eventually everywhere. In this precarious, contaminated and contaminating hotscape  Hotta’s haiku both doubles and splits, subtly changing the tissue of the present through which it rifles while on its way simultaneously to a past and future which, more and more addled, become more and more like each other.

From Kika Hotta’s Radioactive Haiku (his own translation), written in the ongoing aftermath of the 3/11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophe:

A eunuch stands/as cabinet secretary/sweating

A scarecrow stands/ in Fukushima/castrated


Nuclear meltdown/along/with my ice cream

Nuclear meltodwn/snail mail/faster than email

The earth filled with salt/here I am/a snail

I am all wet/in my radiation-proof/swimsuit

Watch Kika Hotta read his Radioactive Haiku in English and Japanese on 9/11/11 at the Tokyo International Poetry Festival:

3 comments for this entry:
  1. Johannes

    Actually Joyelle I think he wrote these in English first and translated them into Japanese.

    Also, American readers/listeners may not be aware that at Haiku readings one is supposed to read the poem twice. That’s part of the convention.


  2. Al Min

    Is the book available anywhere?

  3. Kika


    Yes, most of the 25 haiku were written in English first. Some were written in Japanese first or in two languages simultaneously, but I forgot which ones they were… (^^;

    >Al Min

    The anthology of the poetry festival, “The 2nd TPF & the 6th WHAC2011 Anthology,” is on sale — $17. You can find works by Joyelle, Johannes, and me (Kika). =)


    I still have to comment on your “The Necropastoral”! Please be patient. What I can say so far is that I love your King Prion poem.