Haiga is the Japanese term for a combination of haiku poems and visual images — hai comes from haiku, and ga is the Japanese word for painting (as in Zenga etc.). All the great Japanese haiku masters, including Bashō, Buson, Issa, and Shiki, occasionally added paintings to their poems, almost always in a simplified style that did not overwhelm the haiku. Buson’s haiga are very skillfully done, while Issa’s are almost childlike, but they all contribute to the total experience. In other words, the images are not just illustrations to the poem, and the poems are not merely verbal explanations of the poems, but they add resonance to each other, creating something new.
Haiga have been slow to develop outside Japan, but in recent years more and more poets, and some painters, have experimented with the form. The haiga punctuating this first issue of Juxtapositions reflect a variety of approaches and styles, testifying to the increasing interest in this fascinating combination of visual and verbal. What these eight haiga have in common is finding ways to combine words and images in creative ways.
— Stephen Addiss, Haiga Editor