Japanese Poetry

You’ve probably heard of a haiku, but have you heard of a style of poetry called the tanka? The following is an introduction to haikus and tankas by Joseph Ficor.

Starship Chi-Rho Studio

Japanese poetry is very unique. It does not depend on rhyming as much as Western poetry forms. I enjoy this because I am not very good at rhyming to begin with.

The two styles that I like experimenting with are the haiku and the tanka. The haiku is composed of three lines with a syllable count of 5-7-5 for a total of 17 syllables. It must contain a seasonal word. Otherwise, it is called a senryu. I have used it as a tool to write science fiction haiku, aka scifaiku.

Here is an example of one that I wrote several years ago:

Black haired girls
Riding on red black hoverbikes
Travel New Tokaido

Tanka is similar except that it has a longer syllable count: 5-7-5-7-7.

Here is an example that I composed just for this blog (don’t you just feel so special inside?):

I feel bitter now
Circling a black…

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