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Japanese haiku should probably be the official language of diplomacy

Politicians would be restricted to 17 syllables.

Van rompuy abeEnlarge
EU President Herman Van Rompuy greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 7, 2014, in Brussels. (AFP/Getty Images)

Should Japanese haiku poetry become the new language of diplomacy?

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy probably wouldn’t mind if it did.

The avid composer of traditional Japanese mini-poems greeted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Brussels on Wednesday with a cryptic 17-syllable verse, Agence France-Presse reported. 

“Once come May spring ushers in life everywhere; Laughing blossoms,” said Van Rompuy, who has been composing haiku poems for years and has even published a collection of his work. 

As is so often the case with diplomatic speak, we’ve got no idea what it really means.

Is there a deeper political message within the three lines of verse? 

After all, the two leaders were meeting against a backdrop of growing tensions in Ukraine and negotiations on a free trade agreement.

Whatever the significance of the five-seven-five syllable structure, Abe seemed to get it and he immediately responded in kind.

“Lovely spring evening; How deeply do I appreciate the hospitality at an old castle,” the Japanese leader said through an interpreter.

Abe was clearly referring to a dinner on Tuesday hosted by Van Rompuy at an ancient chateau.

Or was he?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/140508/should-japanese-haiku-become-the-language-of-diplomacy