Five Seven Five - book review

by Ernie Yap, Nov 25, 2007 | Destinations: Japan

Title: Five Seven Five

Author: Celeste Heiter

Photography: Robert George


Five Seven Five describes the number of syllables in each line of the much-loved Japanese haiku. Haiku is a unique literary art form that is more than 400 years old and cherished by all circles in Japanese society.


Be it a building with a shady tree in the foreground, traditionally -clad children carrying a shrine during a Shinto festival, sumo wrestlers having a blissful stroll, a Zen Buddhist monk in full garb or cherry blossoms flickering in the wind; photographer Robert George skillfully captured these snippets of life in Japan in artistic detail.


One would agree that the Japanese culture which seems so esoteric is one that deserves portrayal. Conversely, Five Seven Five is a deserving book to convey such a fascinating society to the rest of the world. It is an adequate snapshot of the deep and profound world of haiku and the various colors of Japan. I admire the apt haikus Ms Heiter presented. They resonate with appreciation of nature and people; and in itself is truly a timeless form of art.


Numbering more than thirty poignant photographs of life in Japan accompanied by reflective haiku, Five Seven Five serves as an excellent gift for the Japan-curious and an inspiration to those poised to explore the Land of the Rising Sun someday/


I suspect the average Japanese might find this book quite amusing; putting on a pedestal what seems to be everyday life to them. I also suspect he might be secretly proud as well.