1902, from Japanese haiku, telescoped (supposedly in the late nineteenth century, by the poet Shiki) from haikai no ku "comic verse(s)," originally the name of the opening lines of a type of improvised, witty linked verse. The form developed mid-16c. "Traditionally, there is mention of a season of the year somewhere in a haiku, as a means of establishing the poem's tone, though this may be only the slightest suggestion." [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry," Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1986].
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