Wikimedia Commons. Japanese poetry, with its demands on intuition and strict discipline of structure, content, restraint, and subtlety, can sometimes confound a Western audience. Difficulty lies in translating the concept of the on , or Japanese sound unit. Japanese forms often demand a specific number of on , characters or sound units, which Westerners erroneously equate to syllables. The evolution of the structures of Japanese make them complex, and Western audiences, accustomed to meter, rhythm, and form, prefer to reduce poetry to its simplest terms. This unit on the Japanese tanka encourages students to explore the structure and content of the form and to arrive at a definition of the structure in English.
How to write a tanka poem | Penny's poetry pages Wiki | Fandom
The short Japanese forms are some of the best ways to capture image, feeling, and a sense of what is fleeting in human life. The tanka is the original Japanese poetry form, older than the haiku. Like all poetic forms that migrant from one culture and language to others, tanka has changed in its history. Here is the basic grid for the tanka:. Line 1—5 syllables or less Line 2—7 or less Line 3—5 or less Line 4—7 or less Line 5—7 or less.
How to write a tanka poem
In Japan , written poetry can be traced back to the era of the Chinese Tang Dynasty — , and for centuries was the sole prerogative of courtiers and nobles. From then, it evolved into a diverse range of unique styles, invented and standardized throughout the next hundreds of years. Haiku is the quintessential form of Japanese poetry. Haiku was originally referred to as hokku , and was used as the opening stanza of a poem. Eventually, these hokku began to appear as poems in their own right, and were renamed haiku by Masaoka Shiki — a man widely regarded as one of the four great haiku masters — in the late 19th century.
The original Japanese form of tanka had only one line of poetry containing 31 speech sounds—what we would call syllables. However, most tanka poems that are written in English today are broken into five poetic lines with a certain number of syllables in each line. The basic structure of a tanka poem is 5 — 7 — 5 — 7 — 7. In other words, there are 5 syllables in line 1, 7 syllables in line 2, 5 syllables in line 3, and 7 syllables in lines 4 and 5.