The aim of this project is to investigate how the shasei concept is discussed in contemporary writing by active haiku poets. Most of the writing published about contemporary haiku takes the form of handbooks about the composition of haiku or essay-like lyrical commentaries to haiku written by poets. A study of such material may give us a direct picture of how haiku is understood and read today and which aims lie behind the composition of this kind of poetry.
The basic assumption followed is that haiku poetry has not been static, but is constantly developing and changing, and that even traditionalists do not follow a tradition obediently, but make it move forwards in new directions.
In the first part of the investigation, the volume of the collected material that consists of handbooks and theoretical essays will be used to identify how shasei is defined by the different authors. Disagreements between authors will be analysed to see if they are due to incoherent definitions or if they are due to real differences in ideology.
After setting up a theoretical framework in this way, the next step will be to apply this on the part of the material which consist of commentaries and interpretations made by different poets. The aim is to deepen the understanding for the different concepts used by confronting them with the actual readings.