Library Talk: Hammarskjöld’s Life in Haiku and Photographs

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  • DATE / TIME:
    2016•11•08    18:00 - 19:30

    Commemorating the 60th anniversary of Japan’s membership to the United Nations, the 22nd UNU Library Talk event will feature haiku and photographs of Dag Hammarskjöld. Swedish-born Hammarskjöld was the second UN Secretary-General, and held the position at the time Japan joined the UN on 18 December 1956. He was a devoted haiku poet, although that became known only after his death in a plane crash in 1961, at the age of 56 and in the midst of his second term as UN Secretary-General.

    In this event Kaj Falkman, Founder and Honorary President of the Swedish Haiku Society, a former diplomat and the author of A String Untouched: Dag Hammarskjöld’s Life in Haiku and Photographs, will explore the world of Hammarskjöld’s haiku and photographs. He will be joined by Akito Arima, former president of University of Tokyo and Minister of Education, Science and Culture, Japan, and the president of the Haiku International Association, and Kit Pancoast Nagamura, a photographer, editor, and haiku poet, to discuss the attraction of haiku beyond borders, haiku and photography as an art form, and the spirituality of haiku.

    This Library Talk event is organized by UNU and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), co-organized by the Swedish Embassy in Japan and the Haiku International Association, and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and NHK.

    The event will be held in English and Japanese, with simultaneous translation provided.


    This event is open to the public, but advance registration is required (by 5 pm on 7 November). To register, please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page.


    Kaj Falkman
    Ambassador Kaj Falkman is the founder and Honorary President of the Swedish Haiku Society. He has held diplomatic posts in Tokyo, as well as in Lisbon, Luanda, London, Geneva, Hanoi, and Istanbul, among others. The author of A String Untouched: Dag Hammarskjöld’s Life in Haiku and Photographs (2005), he has also written several other books focusing on Japan and haiku poems, most recently Poetry of Surprise: Experiences of Haiku (2010). Ambassador Falkman also produced the documentary film “Japan Dream, Japan Reality” (1987), which explored ideas and patterns in Japanese art and literature. He is a recipient of the Swedish Academy Award (2005 and 2010). Ambassador Falkman is married with one son.

    Akito Arima
    Akito Arima was born in Osaka, Japan in 1930. He studied at the University of Tokyo, where he received his doctorate in Science. His past positions include President of the University of Tokyo and Minister of Education, Science and Culture, Japan. He is currently the Chancellor of Musashi Academy of the Nezu Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shizuoka University of Art and Culture, and the President of the Haiku International Association.

    His awards include the Tom W. Bonner Nuclear Physics Prize by the American Physical Society, the Order of Culture, Knight Commander of the British Empire, and the Order of Legion d’Honneur.

    Kit Pancoast Nagamura
    Born in the United States, Kit has lived in Japan for more than 25 years. She arrived on a fellowship from Brown University and fell in love with the country. A photographer, editor, and author of six books, Kit pens several columns, including “The Backstreet Stories” for The Japan Times, and has won various fiction and poetry awards, including a Major Hopwood Award, and a recent prize in the ITO EN Oi Ocha haiku contest. The great-granddaughter of famous plant explorer David G. Fairchild, who introduced Japanese cherry trees to Washington D.C., Kit grew up surrounded by green plants, and began reading haiku from an early age. She currently appears regularly on NHK World’s “HAIKU MASTERS”.


    United Nations University
    Elizabeth Rose Conference Hall (5F)
    5-53-70 Jingumae
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925