A Floating World…poetic history of tanka

REvised with more historical detail.

Genie Nakano

genie Nakano

Photo by Genie Nakano, Kyoto Japan, 2018

Before Japan

could read or write,

tanka was called waka

performed as short songs in five lines

short long short long long

Heian imperial court

was well versed in waka

after a love affair

erotic exchanges of waka

was expected proper etiquette


photo: Genie, Kyoto, 2018

were the best of tanka’s golden era

yearning, soaring

tales of love, nature, war

passion prevailed

750 AD the emperor decreed

waka to be recorded for history

4,000 love poems

brushed into exquisite scrolls

Manyoshu completed in 900

five lines, waka

burning, tales of love

nature, war, erotica

themes of long ago Japan

treasured in Manyoshu

waka flourished

for hundred of years

then suddenly jaded

grew out of touch

unconnected to society

pre-world war 1

the poetry bureau censored

and controlled tanka

Asaka-Sha, brotherhood

led by Tekkan Yosan, renamed it tanka


into a…

View original post 173 more words

Published by genienakano

I love writing--It's my joy, my therapy--my confession. I'm a performer, dancer, yoga and meditation instructor, write a poetry column for Rafu Shimpo. Growth and love of life is a key to my happiness.

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