Haiku is the most popular form of poetry in Japan. A haiku poem has five syllables in the first and last lines, and seven in the second. Generally, the topic reflects the author's feelings about the seasons or nature.
A quality haiku provides the reader with an image while reading the poem. Some haikus also give a twist at the end. Here is one of the most famous haikus. It was written by Matsuo Basho
a frog leaps in
the sound of water
Basho lived in the 1600s. Originally he wrote a form of poetry called hokku. Hokku was the first part of a longer poem called Renga. Renga was first used in the 9th to 12th centuries. People wrote poems as contest entries. The first author begin with a hokku, which was the 5, 7, 5 syllable section, and the next author would add 2 lines of 7 syllables, then someone else would add 5, 7, 5 syllable section and lastly, two lines of seven syllables each. The Renga poems could be as long as short as the authors wanted them to be.
In modern times, the 5, 7, 5 syllable hokku poems. became a stand-alone poem. Eventually it was called Haiku poems. This was so people could tell the difference from the standalone poem and the Renga.