Salaryman Senryu contest in Japan

salaryman senryu contest


Definition of Senryu

According to wikipedia Senryu [川柳] (called human haiku) is defined

Senryū (川柳?, literally ‘river willow’) is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer total morae (or “on”, often translated as syllables, but see the article on onji for distinctions). Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a kireji (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or season word.

The differences between Senryu and Haiku are the “focus” of meaning. Senryu focuses on human nature, but Haiku does nature.  As wikipedia defines, the structure of Senryu and Haiku is same.

Salaryman Senryu contest in Japan

About Salaryman Senryu contest

The Salaryman Senryu contest started in 1987 by The DAI-ICHI Life insurance company, limited. The contest is held annually. This year 2016 is the 29th contest. The top 100 Senryu will be announced in Feb, and top 10 in May. There are varieties of prizes for the nominated Senryu. (next year 2017 is a 50,000 yen travel voucher). The Entry usually ends in November. Interesting part of this contest is that the Senryu represents the economics, news, and events of the year. It speaks for other salarymen’s struggling in the societies, companies, and families with humor and irony. For example, Drone is on the news everyday, the winner Senryu (in the list below) used the word “drone” which also means “escape”, “run away” in Japanese slang. (pronunciations are different ドローン: drone, ドロン: doron ).

More about Salaryman Senryu contest
Official website:

5 nominated Salaryman Senryu in 2016.

The list below I picked up 5 interesting Salaryman Senryu nominated in Top 20. Japanese original Senryu following kana, word to word translation, and translation.

1.  退職金 もらった瞬間 妻ドローン

Taishokukin morat-ta shunkan tsuma drone
/Severance pay receive immediately wife drone(slang for escape)/
“Wife leaves immediately after receiving saverance pay”

2.  君だけは、俺のものだよ マイナンバー

Kimi dake-wa Ore-no mono-dayo mai nanba
/You only  mine  my number/
“My number, you are only mine”

3.  決めるのは いつも現場に いない人

Kimeru-nowa itumo genba-ni inai-hito
/decisions always field not people/
“Decisions are always made by the people not in the field”

4. ラインより 心に響く 置き手紙

Line-yori kokoro-ni hibiku okitegami
/line more heart reach a written message/
“A written message reaches heart more than Line”

5.  どうなった? 「確認します」は やってません

Dounatta kakuninshimasu-wa yattemasen
/what become I will check didn’t do/
“Asked ‘how does it go?’ and response ‘I will check it out’ is same as didn’t do”

If you are working in Japan and Japanese companies, you should try out this Salaryman Senryu contest next year. I will pick up more in the next year!!

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