Japan Air Lines National Haiku Contest (1964)
Japan Air Lines sponsored a haiku contest for poets in the United States in 1964. This was the first and by far the largest competition outside Japan; some 41,000 entries were received in 17 contests arranged by local radio stations. Prominent Zen specialist Alan Watts was the contest judge. Watts selected one National Winner and eighty-three semifinalists, whose winning haiku were published by JAL in a booklet, Haiku ’64. The 1964 JAL contest is commonly believed to have been the catalytic event in American haiku.