Tanka glossary


Tanka glossary


We have compiled a list of terms often used in Tanka.

People who like tanka, people who want to make it a hobby, people who want to smoothly conduct tanka classes at school, etc.

If you are interested in tanka, please check it out.



“Autumn” is one of the four seasons, and in tanka poems it is often used to symbolize autumn’s unique scenery and emotions, as well as the changes in the seasons.

It is used to express the feeling of falling leaves, the abundance of fruit, and a feeling of loneliness as autumn deepens.


dawn (Akegata)

“Dawn” refers to the time when night ends and the sun begins to rise. It is sometimes written in tanka poems as a scene that symbolizes a new beginning or the end of a night.

It is also used to express hopes and expectations, and sometimes loneliness and sadness.


Morning dew

“Morning dew” refers to the dew that adheres to plants in the morning, and is used in tanka to symbolize the freshness of the morning and the beauty that fades away.

It is often used to express transience.



“Footsteps” are the sounds made when people walk.

In tanka, it is used to express someone’s arrival or departure, or to express feelings of loneliness and longing.

The sound of footsteps has the effect of hinting at the presence and movement of people.



“Azuki” is a concrete object that is sometimes seen in waka and tanka.

It is sometimes used to express landscapes woven by azuki beans, customs and scenes that use them.

It may symbolize fertility or a scene from daily life.


It’s warm

“Warm” is an adjective that describes a scene or emotion that gives a feeling of warmth and comfort.

It is used to describe heartwarming scenes such as the kindness of people, the arrival of spring, and warmth.



“Arashi” is a word that means storm or strong wind. This scene is sometimes composed in Tanka as a scene that symbolizes the strength of nature, the trials of life, and inner turmoil.

It is also used as a metaphor for change and confusion.



“Awai” refers to a blurred border or ambiguous state.

It is sometimes used to express the delicate sense of distance in human relationships and the ambiguity of emotions. Suitable for capturing minute psychological movements.



“Ichi” means life or living itself.

Tanka poems are used to express deep emotions and philosophical thoughts, such as the preciousness and fragility of life, the meaning of life, joy, and suffering.

In some cases, poems are about the vitality of not only humans, but also animals, plants, and the natural world as a whole.



“Iroha” is a traditional Japanese kana order, and is sometimes used in tanka to symbolize cultural and historical background and education.

It is also sometimes cited to suggest the diversity of life and the expansion of the world.



“Izanagi” is the god of creation in Japanese mythology. In tanka, it is sometimes used as a symbol of creation, beginning, or change.

It is also sometimes used as a reference to Japan’s unique culture and traditions.



“Inishie” means a long time ago, an old era. Tanka is used to express history, tradition, longing for the good old days, and nostalgia for the past.

It is also used to remember lost beauty and values.



“Ibuki” means breath or breathing. It is used in tanka poetry to symbolize the breath of life and the vitality of all living things.

It is also used to express subtle emotional exchanges between people and a sense of unity with nature.



“Ijime” means a commandment or lesson. Tanka poems are sometimes used to warn future generations, return to traditional values, or convey moral messages.

This can be seen in works that contain life lessons or social messages.



“Irodori” means richness of color and color. Tanka poems are used to vividly describe the beauty and diversity of nature and the changing seasons.

It is also used to express the variety of life and the richness of emotions.



“Naughty” means a prank or an innocent act.

Tanka poems are used to express the innocence of children, the lighter side of life, and the simple pleasures of life.

It is also sometimes used to write about a little playfulness in human relationships or small happiness in life.


rain (ame)

“Rain” is one of the natural phenomena frequently mentioned in Tanka poems.

Rain can symbolize sadness, loneliness, and sometimes refinement and new beginnings.

It is often used to express the change of seasons or a change in a person’s feelings.


Plum (ume)

“Plum” is written in tanka poems as a flower that heralds early spring.

Plum blossoms signal the end of winter and symbolize the arrival of spring, as well as expressing strength and beauty in enduring the cold.

It is also used as a symbol of love and emotion.



“Depression” is a word that expresses heaviness and melancholy. Tanka poems are used to express a person’s inner suffering and deep emotions.

Sometimes people’s feelings are delicately depicted by linking them with seasonal changes and natural scenery.



The sea is a natural element that symbolizes its vastness and mystery. Tanka poems cover a wide variety of themes, including scenes of travel, loneliness, the longing for freedom, and the origin of life.

The sea reflects people’s feelings and ways of life through its changing expressions.



“Clouds” appear in tanka poems as a symbol of changes in the sky and weather. The flow and shape of clouds are suitable for expressing the passage of time, changes in life, changes in thoughts, etc.

It is also used to draw fantastical scenery and emotional backgrounds.



“Lie” is a word that expresses a fact that is different from the truth. Tanka poems are sometimes used to express the complexity of human relationships, misunderstandings between oneself and others, and the gaps in one’s heart.

You can also see works that explore the value of truth and the depth of people’s hearts through lies.


Thank you

“Ureshi” is a word that expresses the feeling of being grateful and happy.

Tanka poems are used to express gratitude and happiness, such as small daily happiness, connections with people, and the beauty of nature.

It is also used to express respect for all living things and the preciousness of existence.



“Picture” means a visual image or iconography. Tanka poems are used to describe specific landscapes and scenes, and have the effect of evoking vivid visuals in the reader’s mind.

Also, feelings and emotions are sometimes expressed using pictures.


Smile (Egao)

A smile is a facial expression that expresses emotions such as happiness, joy, and relief.

Tanka poems are used to capture the warmth of human relationships and happy moments in life.

I sometimes write poems about the deep emotions that can be conveyed with a single smile and the stories behind them.



“Edo” is a historical place name that refers to present-day Tokyo. Tanka poems are used to write about the customs, culture, and history of the Edo period, as well as the lives and feelings of the people involved.

Tanka poems set in Edo strongly reflect the atmosphere and cultural background of the times.



A branch is a part of a tree, and is an element that symbolizes growth and expansion.

In Tanka, it often appears when expressing the beauty of nature or the workings of life.

The branches may also explore themes such as the changing seasons, life and death, prosperity and decline.



“Laughing” is an act that expresses joy, enjoyment, and sometimes sarcasm or resignation.

Tanka poems are used not only to directly express “laughter,” but also to express various emotions and the complexity of human relationships that can be conveyed through laughter.

By delving into the feelings and circumstances behind laughter, readers are encouraged to deeply empathize and reflect.



In modern tanka, “emoji” are sometimes referred to as a form of digital communication.

The use of “emoticons” in tanka reflects changes in the way modern society communicates and expresses emotions.

It is attracting attention as a new poetic method that captures the subtle changes in people’s daily lives and emotions.



Okiji refers to the small letters written above or next to the original letters in tanka and waka poems to emphasize certain words or to clarify the reading.

Okiji influence the interpretation of the rhythm, sound, and meaning of a song, enhancing its beauty and richness of expression.


Ogura Hyakunin Isshu

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu is a collection of waka poems selected from one hundred poets from the Heian period to the Kamakura period.

It was selected by Fujiwara Teika and contains many poems about love, nature, and the sense of the seasons.

Hyakunin Isshu is an important resource for widely conveying the beauty and depth of tanka, and is still familiar to many people today.


Remember (memories)

“Memories” refers to past memories and experiences.

Tanka poems are used to write about deep emotions that remain in people’s hearts, important moments, lost times, and love.

Through memories, we express the beauty, fragility, and lessons of life.


From orikara (origara)

“Origara” is a word that refers to that exact moment.

Tanka poems are used to emphasize the importance of a particular moment, the change of seasons, or special events.

It helps deepen the emotions and meanings brought about by the passage of time and coincidences.


Omomuki (interest)

“Queue” means the atmosphere or taste that something has.

Tanka is used to express the unique charm and emotion of scenery, people, stories, etc.

It is also used to describe subtle emotions and emotional backgrounds.


Otozure (visit)

“Visiting” refers to someone coming or something happening.

In tanka, it is used to mark the beginning of an important event, such as a reunion, the change of seasons, or a fateful moment.

What comes often includes joy, sadness, and a premonition of change.


Woman (woman)

“Onna” is a word that refers to gender, but in tanka it is used to write about various themes related to women, such as women’s lives, love and sadness, strength and fragility.

It expresses the world as seen from a woman’s perspective, the relationships between women, and their interactions with men.


Man (male)

“Otoko” is also a word that refers to gender, and is used in tanka poems when composing themes such as men’s feelings, way of life, and masculinity.

It explores a wide range of themes related to men, such as love and suffering, social roles and internal conflicts from a man’s perspective.


Oka (hill)

“Hill” is a word that refers to natural landforms.

Tanka poems are used to describe the beauty and expansiveness of nature, people’s feelings, and the changing seasons through scenes with hills in the background or the views from the hills.

Hills symbolize good views and a sense of oneness with nature.


End (end)

“End” means that something ends. Tanka poems deal with various themes related to endings, such as the end of seasons, turning points in life, and the end of love.

Through endings, we express new beginnings, feelings about time that has passed, and the fragility of life.




Kana spelling is a way of writing words used in tanka and waka.

Since the Heian period, kana characters have been used to write waka, and the notation method may differ depending on the era or school.

Even in modern times, knowledge of kana usage is considered important when writing tanka.



Taitei is the act of composing tanka based on a specific theme.

At tanka study sessions and competitions, participants are given a common theme and are asked to compose tanka based on that theme.

You can learn various viewpoints and emotional expressions through the poems.


Haikai Renga

Haikai renga is a traditional Japanese poetry form, similar to tanka and haiku, in which multiple participants create poems in succession.

However, unlike tanka and haiku, it is characterized by a more free form and humor.

Although it is not directly related to tanka, it occupies an important place in the Japanese poetic tradition.


Flowers, birds, wind and moon

Kachofuugetsu (flowers, birds, wind, and moon) refers to the seasonal features used to describe the beauty of nature.

By incorporating these elements, tanka poetically expresses the changing seasons and the beauty of nature.



Volcano refers to landforms and phenomena where magma reaches the earth’s surface.

Tanka poems often describe the spectacular natural phenomena of volcanoes and the emotional movements caused by them.


poet (kajin)

A poet is a person who writes tanka or waka.

Historically, from the Heian period to the present day, many poets have left behind works that reflect the sensibilities and aesthetic sense of their times.

Poets express their own experiences and insights into nature and society in the form of Tanka.


Collection of poems

A collection of poems is a collection of tanka by a single poet or multiple poets.

A collection of poems reflects the poet’s style, historical background, and thoughts, and is a valuable resource for learning tanka.

Historically famous collections of poetry include “Manyoshu” and “Kokin Wakashu.”


Lyrics (kashi)

Lyrics refer to the content of poetry in tanka and waka.

Generally, it consists of 31 characters (57, 5, 77) and is a poem about nature, the four seasons, human emotions, etc.

Through the lyrics, the singer’s emotions and scenery are delicately expressed.



Kaze means the flow of air, and in tanka poems it is used to describe the various scenes and emotions brought about by the wind.

The way the wind blows, the plants and trees swaying in the wind, the moment you feel the wind, etc. express the changes of the seasons and people’s feelings through the wind.


road (kayoiji)

Although the term “tōsōro” is not a specific term in tanka, it is sometimes used as a path that a poet takes on a daily basis, or a place that symbolizes the feelings of a person with whom one can communicate.

By composing the journey in tanka, a scene from the poet’s inner life and daily life is expressed, giving the reader a sense of intimacy.



Lightning (lightning) is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the sky and is accompanied by sound and light produced by a strong electrical discharge.

In Tanka, it is used to express the powerful appearance of thunder, the accompanying fear and awe, and the power of nature.

It is sometimes used to symbolize the tension brought by thunder and the feeling of the summer season.



Kiku refers to the opening part of renga, haikai, and tanka.

Particularly in renga and haikai, it plays an important role in determining the overall atmosphere and theme.

This is also the part of tanka poems where efforts are made to attract the reader’s attention.


Seasonal words (kigo)

Seasonal words are words used in tanka and haiku to symbolize specific seasons.

The use of seasonal words gives tanka a sense of the season and evokes in the reader the scenes and emotions specific to that time of year.

Although the use of seasonal words is not mandatory in tanka, they are important elements when writing about the changing seasons.


Elegance (Kihin)

Elegance refers to the elegance and elegance of expression in tanka and waka.

The words used in the song, the way the theme is chosen, and the way the emotion is expressed are factors that will be evaluated comprehensively.

When composing tanka, it is important not only to adhere to the format, but also to respect the elegance of the content.


Travel song (Kikouka)

Travel poems are tanka poems that write about experiences and impressions from traveling or visiting specific places.

By describing specific scenes based on actually visiting the place, and writing about events and changes in feelings during the journey, the poem vividly conveys the experience to the reader.


Instrumental music song (Kigakuka)

Instrumental songs are a form of tanka performed with music.

By composing tanka to the accompaniment of a specific musical instrument, a work of art is created that combines poetry and music.

In this format, emphasis is placed on the rhythm and melody of the song, and the sensibilities and acting skills of the singer are put to the test.


recitation (kusho)

Kuchikan refers to reciting Tanka or Waka poems out loud.

It is used as a way to appreciate the beauty of tanka, or as a way to memorize it.

By singing the tanka out loud, you can feel the rhythm and resonance more clearly and deepen your understanding of the tanka.


Nine characters (lottery)

Kuji sometimes refers to nine particularly important characters in tanka, but it is not a general term.

In understanding the structure of tanka, certain characters or phrases may have important meanings, and are sometimes referred to as such.

However, this is not widely recognized as a traditional term for tanka, so caution should be taken when interpreting it.


hard work (kushin)

Toukin refers to the difficulty in choosing words and devising expressions when creating tanka.

Tanka poems must express deep meaning and beautiful scenes within a limited number of characters, and great effort is required to achieve this.

This painstaking process is an important part of the creation process for those who compose tanka.



In tanka, space refers to the imaginary place or scene created by words.

Tanka delicately depicts the beauty of nature, the changing seasons, and human emotions, and these elements evoke a specific “space” in the reader’s mind.

This abstract space is considered to be one of the charms of tanka.


punctuation mark

Punctuation marks refer to commas (,) and full stops (.) in tanka, and are used to clarify sentence breaks and rhythm.

In modern tanka, the use of punctuation marks can reflect a personal style and can add unique nuance to the reading of the tanka.



The “keku” refers to the last part of a tanka or waka poem, and corresponds to the last seven characters of the 57,577.

It serves as the conclusion of the entire tanka, and often contains the poet’s strong emotions and impressive images.

The conclusion is considered to be an important part because it leaves a deep impression on the reader.



Keiei refers to tanka poems that depict natural scenery and the changing seasons.

The scenery covered in the poems is wide-ranging, including mountains, rivers, flowers, and snow, and attempts are made to capture the characteristics of each season.

Keiei gives tanka a rich depiction of scenes and a sense of the seasons.



Keishaku is one of the 24 solar terms and marks the time of year that heralds the arrival of spring.

The tanka poems that are composed during this period depict scenes in which creatures that have been confined in the winter begin to appear on the ground, and scenes in which one can feel the breath of the natural world.

The tanka poems about Keisei give new hope to readers as works that symbolize the rebirth of life and the beginning of activities.


formal beauty

Formal beauty refers to the beauty in the form and structure of tanka.

Tanka is based on a strict format of 31 characters (57, 5, 77), and the beauty of the form is created by the skill of selecting and arranging the words, the sonorous sound, and the sense of rhythm.

Formal beauty provides a perspective that evaluates not only the meaning of words, but also the artistry of their sound and structure.



Career refers to the path an individual has taken in life, as well as the experiences and accomplishments that have been achieved along the way.

In tanka, the word “career” may not be used directly, but when writing about a person, it is sometimes used to hint at the person’s background or life trajectory.

It is used to give a sense of the depth and history of a person.



Koi (koi) means the strong love and admiration one has for another person.

In tanka, there are many poems that center on love, and they write about the joy, pain, sadness, and transience of love.

Poetry about love allows us to express the depth and complexity of human emotions.


Collection of ancient and modern Japanese poetry

The Kokin Wakashu is Japan’s first imperially selected anthology of waka, compiled in the early Heian period.

It contains approximately 1,000 waka poems, and includes songs on a wide variety of themes, including songs about seasonal events, love, and melancholy.

The Kokin Wakashu provided a collection of works that became the basis of tanka, and had a great influence on later waka and tanka works.


Exchange song (Koukanka)

Kokanka is a form of tanka in which two or more poets compose songs for each other.

In this format, each person expresses their own viewpoints and feelings about a single theme or topic, and responds to each other to foster deep interaction.

Kyoanka is enjoyed both as a means of communication through tanka and as a place to compete in poetic skill.



Kotaika refers to the ancient style of singing, as typified by the Manyoshu.

Although it is based on the fixed form of 57577, it has the characteristic of allowing free length and format.

Kotaika is a style that can be said to be the origin of Japanese poetry, and is characterized by its use of simple yet powerful words to address a wide range of themes such as nature, life, and love.



The wording in tanka is an important element that influences the impression of the song and the depth of its expression.

The worldview of the poem changes greatly depending on the choice of words, such as ancient languages, modern languages, and dialects.

Also, by using elegant Japanese and slang, you can enrich the atmosphere of the song and evoke different emotions in the reader.


Imaged landscape

A mental landscape is a tanka poem that expresses the poet’s inner feelings and thoughts as a landscape.

It is a technique that does not depict the actual landscape, but rather expresses the artist’s psychological state and emotions by entrusting the landscape to the landscape.

By using mental imagery, tanka can have a more abstract and deeper meaning.




A saijiki is a record of seasonal changes and the accompanying nature, events, customs, etc., and is an important reference material when writing tanka and haiku.

The Saijiki contains seasonal words, which are useful for expressing the sense of the season when composing Tanka.


Left note

A left annotation is an annotation that describes the interpretation of a tanka or waka poem, and is so named because it is written on the left side of the poem.

It is used in song collections to explain the background of the song, the poet’s intention, the historical background, the meaning of the words, etc.

By reading the left notes, you can deepen your understanding of the song.



Assessment is the evaluation of tanka and waka, and its evaluation.

At tanka gatherings and other events, we evaluate and criticize submitted songs and judge their quality. Through assessment, poets reflect on their own work and aim to further improve their technique.


prose song (sanbunka)

A prose song is a tanka that incorporates the form of a tanka, but also includes prose-like expressions.

While regular tanka are fixed poems, prose poems are characterized by a high degree of freedom in their form and content.

This form is sometimes experimented with by poets seeking new expression.



Sangyōka is a style in which the 575 and 77 tanka are divided into three lines.

This notation makes it easier to visually capture Tanka, and provides readers with a new sense of rhythm.

Additionally, the breaks between each line act as pauses, creating the effect of fragmenting and emphasizing meaning.


Songwriting (Sakka)

Composition refers to the act and process of creating tanka.

When composing tanka, various themes are taken up, such as nature, human emotions, and the changes of the four seasons.

Songwriting is the process of honing your poetic sensibilities and expressing your feelings through words.


Rust color

Rust-iro does not refer to a specific color in tanka, but refers to the hue and emotion associated with the traditional Japanese aesthetic sense of wabi-sabi.

In tanka, such deep and atmospheric expressions are sometimes used to express the changing seasons or people’s feelings.


Songwriting practice

Composition practice refers to practice to develop the skills and expressiveness needed to compose better tanka.

The purpose is to explore new ways of using words and expressing emotions, while still adhering to a fixed format, and to improve tanka skills.

In this process, reading the works of others is also an important learning experience.



Jiguchi is a type of word play and refers to the technique of using words with the same sound with different meanings.

In tanka, the use of jiguchi can add playfulness and humor to the song.

In addition, the text has the effect of giving the reader a sense of surprise and entertaining the sound of the words.


poetic spirit

Poetry refers to the depth of poetic sensitivity and emotion required when creating poems and tanka.

It refers to a poet’s or poet’s inner sense of beauty and the ability to give form to their emotions, and is considered the source of great works.

Poetry is the ability to discover a world of beauty that transcends everyday life and put it into words.


View of life and death

View of life and death is a word that expresses the way of thinking and ideas about life and death, and is often treated as a fundamental theme of life in tanka.

When poets express their own views on life and death in tanka, they create works that demonstrate deep human understanding, such as the fragility of life, acceptance of death, and the preciousness of life.


private lady

To be private means to personally respect and learn from someone’s thoughts, techniques, and style, even if there is no formal relationship between master and student.

In tanka, it sometimes refers to a poet learning the works and spirit of famous poets of the past and applying them to their own creative activities.

Through Shishu, the tradition and innovation of Tanka will be inherited.



Poetry refers to the emotion and atmosphere expressed in literary works such as poems and tanka.

It is a delicate and rich emotion conveyed through a specific scene or experience, and it is an element that gives the reader deep empathy and emotion.

Poetry has the power to make you feel the movement of the heart beyond words.



The term refers to the order or stages in which things progress.

In tanka, it is sometimes used to indicate the structure of a song, the development of a scene, or the flow of emotions.

It is also used to determine the order of tanka to be recited at specific ceremonies and events.


poetic tolerance

Poetic tolerance refers to allowing expressions and imaginations that differ from reality in poems and tanka.

This concept recognizes the space in which literary works are not bound by reality and can maximize the imagination and expressive power of their creators.

Poetic latitude allows tanka to convey richer meanings and emotions.


four seasons

The four seasons refer to the seasonal changes of spring, summer, fall, and winter, and are one of the most important themes in tanka.

By composing the unique scenery and emotions of each season, tanka has a rich range and depth of expression.

Throughout the four seasons, poems are written about the relationship between nature and humans and the cycle of life.


Primitive poetry

Primordial poetry refers to the instinctive and fundamental poetry that is said to have been uttered by humans for the first time.

In tanka, by pursuing such primitive expressions, we sometimes explore the primitive power and beauty of words.

Primitive poetry is an attempt to touch the deepest part of verbal expression.



Abyss (Abyssal) refers to a very deep hole or depth of water, and is used in tanka to symbolize the deepest parts of a person’s heart or complex emotions that are difficult to understand.

By using this term, we can poetically express the inner world that cannot be seen on the surface.



Truth means an actual state of affairs based on fact or without falsehood.

Tanka poems are sometimes used to honestly express inner feelings or perceived facts.

It helps you create works that evoke deep empathy in your readers through human emotions and lived experiences.



Suki originally meant chance or fate, but in traditional Japanese culture, it is sometimes used to express special tastes or spirituality, such as the aesthetics of wabi-sabi or the spirit of tea ceremony.

Although the term suki is not directly used in tanka, the deep aesthetic sense of tanka and the delicate feelings expressed through words have something in common with the spirit of suki.


Expanding at the end (Suehirogari)

Although it is not a term directly used in tanka, it is a word that expresses how things are developing in a positive direction towards the future.

Tanka works have a structure in which the content expands and deepens toward the conclusion, which has the effect of arousing hope and expectations for a bright future in the reader.



Juka refers to tanka with content that is celebratory or wishes for longevity.

It is often composed at weddings, birthdays, and events celebrating longevity, and is a work that conveys feelings of celebration and words of blessing.

Juka is used to write down milestones in life and feelings for loved ones.


Discarded characters (Suteji)

Sakeji is a technique used in tanka and waka poetry in which characters with no actual meaning are added to the lyrics in order to adjust the number of tones.

Using throwaway characters helps to set the rhythm and sound of the poem, making it easier to read, but you need to be creative in how you use them.



Shojin refers to the attitude of continually refining one’s technique and sensibility in tanka creation.

When creating tanka poems, students are required to continually improve their observation skills, word choice, and expression methods on a daily basis.

Devotion is the basic attitude for producing excellent work.



Production refers to the entire process of creating tanka.

It involves a series of activities to complete a tanka, such as choosing a theme, choosing words, organizing the scenes and emotions that should be written, and repeating trial and error.

The production process is a valuable experience for poets that enhances their creativity and expressiveness.



Tranquility refers to a state of being quiet and peaceful.

In tanka, the scenes and emotions depicted are tinged with tranquility, which can give the reader peace of mind and a deep impression.

Tranquil tanka promote peace of mind by composing a peaceful time and space away from the hustle and bustle.


Live song (seika)

Live poetry refers to tanka poems that are recited improvised, and by expressing the emotions and ideas of the moment directly into words, raw emotions and fresh expressions are created.

Live singing is a way for participants to experience the joy and depth of creative writing at tanka gatherings and sing-a-longs, where participants instantly recite each other while being inspired by each other.



Positivity refers to the attitude of approaching things in a positive manner, and is an important mindset when creating tanka.

It is important to actively challenge various themes and try new ways of expression in order to enrich and grow your tanka.


General song (I see)

Soka is a collection of tanka composed by many poets based on a specific theme or topic.

This often includes tanka poems composed at poetry gatherings and poetry gatherings, and through works that reflect a variety of perspectives and sensibilities, you can enjoy the multifaceted nature of the theme.



Somonka is a tanka poem about the love between lovers, and has been an important genre of Japanese waka poetry since ancient times.

By incorporating your feelings for the other person and the relationship between the two, you can give the reader deep emotion and empathy.

Sobunka is considered an important means of expressing the delicacy and depth of human emotions.



A draft refers to the original draft or draft that is written down at the beginning of the process of creating a tanka.

By writing multiple drafts, we refine our word choices and expressions, and create the final tanka.

Valuing the draft leads to valuing the creativity and thinking process involved in creating tanka.



Materials refer to objects, scenes, emotions, etc. that serve as themes or motifs when creating tanka.

There is an infinite amount of material for tanka, and they can be drawn from natural scenery, the changing seasons, human relationships, social phenomena, and any other phenomenon that interests or moves the poet.

Selection of materials is an important process that determines the depth and appeal of tanka.


Sogokoro (Sogokoro)

Soshin refers to the simple and pure feelings and sensibilities that are inherent in a person’s heart. In tanka, valuing the natural emotions and intuition that spring from the heart brings sincerity and vitality to the work.

Valuing one’s true feelings leads to digging deeper into one’s inner self through tanka.


Kumiuta (I see)

Kumiuta refers to a form in which multiple tanka poems are strung together according to a certain theme or story to form a group of works.

While each song has an independent meaning, the whole depicts one big story or scene.

Kumiuta is a method of expressing more complex emotions and stories in the form of Tanka.



Footprints literally refer to the traces of walking, but in tanka, they can also be used to symbolically represent the trajectory of a poet’s life, the experiences gained during the song-writing process, and the feelings put into the song. may be shown.

By composing footprints, the poet’s own outlook on life and philosophy can be reflected.


Sogokoro (Sogokoro)

Soshin refers to the simple and pure feelings and sensibilities that are inherent in a person’s heart.

In tanka, valuing the natural emotions and intuition that spring from the heart brings sincerity and vitality to the work.

Valuing one’s true feelings leads to digging deeper into one’s inner self through tanka.


Kumiuta (I see)

Kumiuta refers to a form in which multiple tanka poems are strung together according to a certain theme or story to form a group of works.

While each song has an independent meaning, the whole depicts one big story or scene.

Kumiuta is a method of expressing more complex emotions and stories in the form of Tanka.



Long-awaited refers to the state of looking forward to something desired.

In tanka, it is used to express a feeling of longing for something or a deep desire for its fulfillment.

It can be used in a variety of situations, such as the change of seasons and important milestones in life.



Othering (Taka)

Othering means transforming yourself into something different or someone else, or seeing things from a different perspective.

In tanka, by incorporating different perspectives, the writer can make new discoveries and expand the range of expression.

Through the process of otherization, tanka becomes able to convey richer content and emotions.


Sensitive (Takan)

Sensitiveness refers to the ability to have a rich variety of emotions and sensations, and to be able to sense minute movements of the mind.

For those who compose tanka, being sensitive is considered to be an important quality because it allows them to be deeply moved by the events around them and the beauty of nature.

Sensitive people can receive inspiration from even the smallest things in everyday life and reflect it in tanka.


multiple meanings (tagi)

Polysemy means that one word or expression has multiple meanings.

Tanka poems often use ambiguous word choices in order to convey deep meaning within the limited number of characters.

This creates different interpretations for different readers and adds to the depth and appeal of the song.



Travel refers to the act of moving from one place to another, and tanka poems describe the scenery, encounters, and changes in feelings experienced during a journey.

It is used to symbolize inner growth and change, such as the beauty of nature seen through travel, the emotions experienced while traveling, and self-discovery.



Other-power means relying on other people or some external power rather than relying on one’s own strength.

Although this term is rarely used directly in tanka, it sometimes suggests the importance of relying on external inspiration, such as the works of past poets or nature, when writing songs.



Tango refers to the festival on May 5th, and is used in tanka poems to describe events, customs, and natural beauty related to this day.

This is useful when creating landscapes related to Boy’s Festival or works that reflect the sense of the season.


knowledge (chishiki)

Knowledge refers to a wide range of information and understanding about history, literature, nature, society, etc. that is required to create tanka.

When creating tanka poems, a wealth of knowledge is important in choosing the theme, choosing the words, and adding depth to the depiction of the scene.

Also, by understanding classical literature and historical background, you can inherit the tradition and culture of tanka and utilize it in new expressions.


Chinobun (text of the earth)

Ji-no-bun is not used directly in tanka, but refers to sentences used in stories and essays to describe the background or explain the person’s feelings rather than direct conversation or explanation.

The text of the land in tanka influences the choice of words and expressions used to portray the background, scene, and emotion of the song, creating the atmosphere and depth of the song as a whole.



Wisdom means insight, judgment, and creativity when composing tanka.

Creating tanka requires a high level of wisdom in order to effectively express the emotions and thoughts felt in daily life within a limited number of characters.

By utilizing wisdom, tanka can have a deeper meaning and leave a strong impression on the reader.


Popular (Tsuzoku)

Popularity refers to content or expressions that are generally widely known or widely accepted.

In tanka, using popular expressions is effective in conveying the content of the song to as many people as possible in an easy-to-understand manner.

However, on the other hand, in the process of pursuing the depth and uniqueness of tanka, expressions that go beyond the commonplace may be required.


Addition (Tsuketashi)

Additions are the act of modifying a tanka by adding more words to it during the tanka creation process.

This makes it possible to deepen the meaning of the song and enrich its expression, but in order to maintain the standard tanka format, care must be taken when choosing the words to add.



A model refers to a collection of outstanding works or works by poets that can be used as reference when creating tanka.

It is very important for beginners to study model works when learning the basics of tanka and learning various expressive techniques.

Through examples, students can learn techniques such as song structure, word selection, and scene description.



Although offering is not a term directly used in tanka, it means that a poet makes his or her own tanka publicly available at tanka gatherings, poetry collections, etc.

Also, the act of dedicating tanka to others or a specific theme can also be considered offering.

The tanka provided will bring new excitement and discoveries to readers and listeners, contributing to the development of tanka culture.


Standard form

The fixed form refers to the basic form of tanka, which consists of 31 tones: 5, 7, 5, 7, 7.

Stylized forms serve as a framework for creating the rhythm and beauty of tanka, allowing for poetic expression.

A characteristic of tanka is that by following a fixed form, it is possible to incorporate deep meaning and emotion into the poem’s short length.



Temae refers to offerings or sacrifices made to the deceased or to gods and Buddha, but in tanka it can also refer to songs that are recited in memory of the deceased or songs that express longing for something.

Tanka written for the hands are used as a means of expressing the poet’s feelings of sadness, respect, and gratitude.


haiku (phrase)

Haiku submission refers to the act of submitting works to tanka and haiku meetings, contests, etc.

By receiving feedback from other participants and evaluators through haiku submissions, participants can objectively review their own poetry and improve their technique.



Although it is different from tanka or haiku, it is a traditional Japanese song form and consists of a total of 26 tones (7775).

It originally developed as a popular entertainment for the people during the Edo period, and is characterized by its rich emotional and humorous content.

Like tanka and haiku, it can be seen as part of Japan’s poetic tradition.



Toryumon is also not a common term in Tanka, but it is sometimes used to refer to an important barrier to achieving a certain level of status or success in a certain field.

In tanka, there may be challenges that become a gateway to success for poets, such as trying out new expressions or publishing a collection of poems.



Sudden means something that happens suddenly without any warning, and is sometimes used in tanka to express unexpected events or changes in emotion.

By using suddenness in tanka, you can make a strong impression on the reader and effectively create a turning point in the song.


On the way

En route means on the way from one place to another, or while doing something.

In tanka poems, it is sometimes used not only to describe the literal journey, but also to symbolize the journey of life and the changes in one’s feelings.

By composing a poem in the middle, you can express the beauty of unfinishedness, transition, and the uncertainty of life.


Nakabi (Chunichi)

In the structure of tanka, it refers to the central part of the 31 tones of 57577, especially between the 14th and 15th tones.

This part is a turning point in the tanka, and plays an important role in indicating changes in content and feelings.


Nagauta (long song)

Originally, “nagauta” referred to songs that were longer than 31 notes.

However, in modern times it is sometimes used to refer to a particularly long form of tanka or a long form of poetry that is different from tanka.


Nageki (lament)

In tanka, words and emotions are used to express sadness and anguish over heartbreak, bereavement, social injustice, etc.

By delicately expressing deep emotions, you can make a strong impression on your readers.


Pear (none)

Pears are a type of fruit that are often harvested in the fall.

In tanka poems, it is used to express the deep flavor of pears and the seasonal feeling of autumn.

Tanka about pears not only convey a sense of the changing seasons, but also appear in scenes that express gratitude for the richness of nature and praise food.


analogy (pseudo)

In tanka and waka poetry, it is a technique of expressing one event or emotion by comparing it to another event or image.

The use of figurative expressions enriches the meaning of the song and stimulates the reader’s imagination.



Waves refer to waves that appear on the surface of water such as the ocean or lake.

In Tanka, it is used to express the movement of waves, their sounds, and the scenes and emotions they bring.

The image of waves can also symbolize the ups and downs of a person’s emotions and the way they live their lives.


Narachi (formation)

It refers to the history and background of tanka creation, its history, and the process of its birth.

In order to deepen the interpretation of Tanka, it is very important to know the background of its creation.


Two-line song (Nigyoka)

A couplet is a type of tanka composed of two lines.

Traditional tanka consists of five lines, but this form is one of modern attempts to create a more concise expression.


Nijikusho (Nijikkusho)

Nijukusho refers to a small collection of tanka poems.

Traditionally, a collection of poems contains over 100 poems, but in this format only 20 selected poems are included.


Duet (Nijuso)

A duet is a tanka creation method in which two poets take turns composing a piece to complete a single work.

In this format, the songs interact and complement each other, creating a unique sound.


Cart (Niguruma)

Wagon is one of the seasonal words (words that symbolize a specific season) used in tanka to express the sense of the season.

In particular, it is often positioned as a seasonal word for spring.


Caricature (Nigaoe)

Caricature is one of the techniques used to depict people in tanka.

The aim of this technique is to concisely but clearly depict the characteristics and inner world of a specific person.


cloth (nuno)

The word nuno (cloth) is rarely used as a direct term in tanka, but it is sometimes used as a symbol or metaphor in tanka.

For example, it can be seen as a fabric that weaves together people’s lives, history, and emotions.



Nuru literally means “spreading something on a surface,” but in tanka it is sometimes used to express rich emotions and colors.

For example, expressions such as “coloring one’s heart” can be used to describe inner changes or scenes.


pull out (nuku)

The verb nuku is used in tanka in various contexts.

For example, “cutting out words” can be seen as a technique that emphasizes meaning or creates beauty in blank spaces by omitting specific words or phrases from a song.

It is also used to highlight the beauty and meaning of a particular landscape or symbol from nature by “extracting” it.


get wet (get wet)

“Nureru” directly means that an object becomes wet when it comes into contact with a liquid, but in tanka it is sometimes used to express emotional depth or feel.

For example, the expression “wet heart” may symbolize a state of being in touch with deep emotions or a sentimental state of mind.


Nukido (unsheathed sword)

Nukido directly refers to the act of pulling out a sword or katana from its sheath, but in tanka it is sometimes used as an expression to symbolize preparation for a decision or action, or mental preparation. .

It is also sometimes used as a symbol of courage and determination.



“Ne” literally refers to the root of a plant, but it is sometimes used figuratively in tanka.

For example, it is used when exploring the “deep-rooted” aspects of human relationships or events. This term is sometimes used to imply the depth or essence of something invisible.


Waking up (Nezame)

Nezame is a word that refers to the moment when you wake up from sleep.

In tanka, this can symbolize the transience and new awareness of this moment.

By composing the emotions and thoughts you feel the moment you wake up, you can give deep meaning to everyday moments.



Sound (ne) is a word that refers to audible vibrations.

Tanka poems are often composed of various sounds that can be heard, such as sounds from the natural world or sounds caused by human activities.

By describing scenes and expressing emotions through sound, you can leave a strong impression on your readers.


Negi (green onion)

Negi (negi) is not a very common term in tanka, but it is known as a word related to festivals and rituals in Shinto.

When this word is used in tanka, it is sometimes used to express respect for sacred things or traditional values.


sleep (sleep)

Sleeping refers to entering a state of unconsciousness in order to rest.

In Tanka, this act may symbolize peace and tranquility, or escape and forgetfulness.

By composing poems about the moment you fall asleep or the feeling you get when you wake up from sleep, you can explore the subtleties of a person’s inner life and emotions.


Annual events (Nenju Gyoji)

Annual events are events and festivals that take place throughout the year, and tanka poems express a deep understanding and love for Japan’s four seasons, culture, and people’s lives by composing about these events that occur with the changing seasons. Masu.

Tanka poems based on annual events create a sense of the seasons and the traditional beauty of Japan.




No (No) refers to unspoiled land or countryside, meaning a place in its natural state, unaltered by human intervention.

In tanka poems, it is used to express the openness and freedom of the fields, and a sense of unity with nature, and appears in scenes that express the sense of the seasons and the workings of life.



Nowaki refers to the strong wind that blows in autumn. In Tanka, this word is used to express the autumn scenery and the emotional changes brought about by the wind.

By superimposing emotions on the movement of plants and the sound of the wind, you can create a deep sense of the autumn season.


wild bird

Wild birds refer to birds that live in nature.

Tanka expresses the changing seasons and the beauty of nature through the appearance and sounds of wild birds.

By including specific types of wild birds in your poems, you can more clearly convey the scenes and emotions unique to that time of year.



The term Norikoshi may not be used directly in tanka, but it may be used as a symbol of transcending or passing something.

For example, this concept is sometimes used when composing poems about the change of time and seasons, or milestones in life.


Nodoka (Nodoka)

Nodoka is an adjective that describes a peaceful and calm situation.

Tanka poems use these words to depict pleasant natural scenes and scenes of peaceful daily life.

It is used in situations that evoke the beauty of the season, such as a peaceful spring day or a calm summer afternoon.


field (nohara)

Nohara refers to open grassland in nature.

Tanka poems express the beauty of nature spread out against the backdrop of fields and the changing seasons felt there.

By composing the feelings of people walking in the fields and their interactions with the various creatures they encounter there, they add depth to the poems.




Hakaku refers to the technique of attempting new expressions by intentionally breaking the standard tanka format.

By departing from the traditional tanka format and rules, you can expand your range of creativity and expression.



Basho refers to Matsuo Basho, who is said to be the founder of Japanese haiku, and his influence on tanka is also great, and he is often referenced when writing about the relationship between nature and humans.

In addition, expressions and seasonal feelings that bear Basho’s name are sometimes incorporated into tanka.



Hatsuyume refers to the first dream of a new year, and is used in tanka as an expression to symbolize new beginnings, hopes, and wishes.

Tanka poems based on the first dream are often chosen to reflect on the outlook for the new year.



Background refers to the background behind the creation of a tanka, the situation in which it was written, and the poet’s feelings, all of which are necessary to understand a tanka.

By knowing the background of a tanka, you will be able to better understand its meaning and beauty.

The context may include historical events, the natural environment, or personal experiences.



Hiyori refers to a day with good weather and pleasant weather.

Tanka poems use these words to describe the peaceful scenes of calm days and the special emotions felt on such days.


metaphor (hiyu)

A metaphor is a way of expressing one thing by comparing it to another thing.

In tanka, this technique is used to convey emotions and scenes that are difficult to express directly to the reader in an easy-to-understand manner.


Sorrow (Hiai)

Hiai is a word that expresses feelings of deep sadness and pity.

In tanka poems, it is sometimes used to express feelings about life’s suffering and what has been lost.



Higure refers to the time of dusk, when the sun is about to set.

Tanka poems are used to describe the tranquility of this time and the emotions felt at the end of the day.



Secret means something hidden that should not be known to others.

Tanka poems are sometimes used to express people’s hidden emotions and untold stories.


Extraordinary (hinichijo)

Extraordinary life refers to special experiences and situations that are different from everyday life.

Tanka poems are used to express new discoveries and changes in emotions through extraordinary experiences.



Fuzei is a word that expresses the unique flavor and taste of a place or thing.

Tanka poems are used to convey the delicate atmosphere and feel of natural landscapes, human relationships, and everyday events.



Furu refers to something that has become old over time, or something that happened in the past.

In Tanka, it is sometimes used to express longing for old things or nostalgia for a bygone era.

It is also suitable for expressing the beauty and melancholy of old times.



The flute is one of the musical instruments, and in tanka poems it is used to symbolize loneliness and loneliness felt through the sound of the flute, or to symbolize harmony with nature.

The clear sound of a flute is suitable for depicting thoughts of someone far away or a moment of silence.



A boat is a vehicle for moving on water.

Tanka poems are used to describe scenes of traveling by boat, the atmosphere felt from a boat floating on the water, and the loneliness and sadness of travel.

A boat trip can also symbolize a person’s journey through life and changes in their feelings.



Hen refers to the boundary or edge of a certain area or space.

In tanka, it is used not only to express the “edge” of a physical place, but also to express the “edge” of feelings and emotions.

For example, this word is sometimes used when composing poems about the change of seasons or changes in mood.


Close your mouth

Heikou means being at a loss for words or having trouble dealing with a difficult or troublesome situation.

In tanka, this term is sometimes used to express difficult situations in life or complicated feelings.

It is used when composing feelings that are difficult to put into words, such as human relationships or inner conflicts.



Heimei refers to words and expressions that are clear and easy to understand.

By using this technique in tanka, universal beauty and emotion can be conveyed directly and simply.

It is emphasized in tanka when trying to avoid complicated decorations and aim for poems that are simple yet deeply moving.


remoteness (henpi)

A remote place refers to a remote place or a remote place that is not visited by many people.

In tanka, this word is often used to express the silence and solitude of nature, or the impressions and emotions that come from it.

It is sometimes used when composing poems about the relationship between humans and nature, or about inner exploration.


Ear (ho)

A panicle refers to the seed or fruit part that grows at the tip of a plant.

In tanka poems, ears of flowers are sometimes used to symbolically express the richness of nature, the joy of harvest, and the cycle of life.

In particular, Tanka that uses ears of rice as its theme evokes a sense of fertility and the autumn season.



Ho refers to walking, the actions related to walking, and the distance involved.

In Tanka, it is used to describe the meditative aspect of walking itself, and the changes in scenery and emotions experienced while walking.

This term often plays a central role in tanka about travel and walks.



A sail refers to a piece of cloth or a device that catches the wind to help a ship move.

In tanka, ships with sails and their voyages are often used as symbols to express the longing for life’s journeys, adventures, freedom, and dreams.




Maintenance means continuing to protect tradition and existing values.

In tanka, it may refer to an attitude of valuing classical forms and themes.

This term sometimes refers to an attempt to respect the traditional techniques and expressions of tanka and pass them on to modern times.



Hototogisu (Hototogisu) refers to the Hototogisu, and in Tanka poems, the song of this bird is used as a symbol of the seasons, especially as it evokes the feeling of early summer.

The voice of the Japanese squirrel can evoke feelings of sadness and nostalgia, and is used to describe poetic scenes.



Honoo refers to the strong glow of fire or light.

Tanka poems express passionate emotions and images of change by incorporating the multifaceted qualities of fire, such as its intensity, beauty, warmth, and destructive power.



Homare is a word that means praise or honor. In tanka, it is used to express respect and respect for individuals or things.

It is also used when composing works that praise past achievements and virtues.




Masaoka Shiki

Masaoka Shiki was an innovator in tanka and haiku during the Meiji period, and promoted the “new Taishi” movement in tanka.

Based on the philosophy that “poetry is a sketch of life,” Shiki argued that we should compose even the smallest events in daily life, and expanded the range of expression in tanka.

Shiki had a great influence on modern tanka, and his style of composing in natural language has been inherited by many poets.



Slumber describes a vague state between sleep and wakefulness.

Tanka poems are used to capture the emotions and impressions felt at random moments through this ambiguous state of consciousness.

It is often used to describe a specific time of day or scene, such as a quiet afternoon or a quiet night.


midsummer (manatsu)

Manatsu means the height of summer, the hottest period.

In tanka, it is used to describe scenes and emotions specific to this season.

It is used to express experiences and sensations that can only be experienced in midsummer, such as activities under the scorching sun, cool nights, and summer festivals.




Eyelids (eyelids) refer to the skin that covers the eyes.

In tanka poems, closing the eyelids symbolizes immersion into one’s inner self, and opening the lids symbolizes becoming aware of a new reality.

It is also sometimes used to show the depth of emotion when writing poems about love or intimate relationships.



Maboroshi means an illusion or illusion that does not actually exist, but appears as if it were there.

Tanka poems are used to symbolically express longing for something lost, unattainable dreams, or fleeting beauty.

Suitable for abstractly depicting mental landscapes and inner feelings.


Manyoshu (Manyoshu)

The Manyoshu is Japan’s oldest collection of waka poems, containing waka poems from ancient times to the Nara period.

When creating tanka, this collection of classical poems is used as inspiration, or as a reference when composing songs that pay homage to or respond to classical songs.


fruit (mi)

Mi (mi) refers to the fruits produced by plants, and is used in tanka as a symbol of fruitfulness and fertility.

It can also be used figuratively to express the fruits of effort and time.

This word also appears when composing poems about the change of seasons or milestones in life.


See and hide (Miegakure)

Miegagaku (miegagaku) ​​refers to the way things appear clearly or hidden.

In Tanka, it is used to describe the moments when feelings and truths are revealed and hidden, and is an expression technique that allows the reader to feel the subtle changes in the story and emotions.


return (mikaeri)

Return (reward) refers to looking back and what it looks like.

Tanka poems are used to capture the emotions of a specific moment, such as looking back on the past or parting ways.

It is also used to express love or sadness by composing a beautiful figure in return.


Mitate (mitate)

Mitate (mitate) is to compare one thing or event to another.

Tanka poems are used to express natural scenery and everyday events by superimposing them on human emotions and situations.

This technique can add depth and layers of meaning to your poems.


Water surface (Minamo)

Water surface (water surface) refers to the surface where water spreads out quietly.

Tanka poems depict scenes of peace and introspection by depicting the stillness of water and the beauty of the scenery and objects reflected there.

It is also used as a poetic expression to explore the boundary between reality and unreality through what is reflected on the surface of the water.



Pick up (pick up) refers to the act of welcoming people or things.

Tanka poems are used to describe the feelings and scenes of welcoming something, such as the change of seasons or a new beginning in life.

Also, in human relationships, it is sometimes used to celebrate new encounters and reunions.


Silence (mugon)

Mugen (mute) means not speaking, silence.

Tanka poems express deep emotions that cannot be put into words, the sense of distance between people, and the difficulty of communication through a state of silence.

You can capture the tension in silence and the depth of unspoken emotions.


Mujo (impermanence)

Impermanence (impermanence) is the Buddhist teaching that everything in this world is constantly changing and that nothing is permanent.

In tanka, it is used to express the transience of life and the beauty of passing.

Through this concept, works are created that provoke deep emotion and philosophical contemplation in the reader.


waste (waste)

Waste (waste) refers to something that is of no use or necessity.

In tanka, it is sometimes used to express the emptiness of life and the feeling that efforts are not rewarded.

It is also possible to create unique poetic expressions from the perspective of finding beauty and value in useless things.



Watching (watching) means paying attention to one’s surroundings and the feelings of others.

In tanka, this word is used to describe the subtleties of human relationships and subtle changes in interpersonal feelings.

It is also sometimes used when composing detailed observations about nature and society.



Awakening (awakening) refers to the state of awakening from sleep, but in tanka it can also symbolize the beginning of new awareness or recognition.

It is used not only to specifically describe waking up in the morning, but also to describe changes in one’s feelings or mental state.


sprouting (mebae)

Budding (budding) refers to the beginning of new life or things.

Tanka poems are suitable for expressing moments when new emotions, consciousness, and hope are born in the heart.

It is sometimes used as a symbol of beginnings, such as the change of seasons or turning points in life.


imitation (mohou)

Imitation is the imitation of other works, natural forms, styles, etc.

In tanka, this term is used to show respect by imitating the style of a classical work, or to explore new expressions.

Through imitation, works are created that attempt to bridge tradition and modernity.


sadness (mono aware)

Moso, also written as mono no aware, refers to an aesthetic sense that gives a sense of elegance or sadness.

It is a concept deeply rooted in Japanese poetry from the Manyoshu to the present day, and plays an important role in expressing ephemeral beauty and sadness through tanka.



Pattern refers to the shape, appearance, and transition of a situation.

Tanka poems are used to describe changes in the natural world and human relationships, and are used to evoke specific images and emotions in the reader.


Autumn leaves (momiji)

Autumn leaves (Autumn leaves) refers to the phenomenon in which leaves turn red or yellow in autumn.

In Tanka, the word is often used to symbolize the autumn season, expressing the autumnal atmosphere, sadness, and beauty of the changing time.



To be pensive means to think deeply about something or to be sentimental.

In tanka, this expression is used to poetically depict the poet’s introspective feelings and quiet emotions.

It is used to express deep thoughts and feelings about changes in people’s lives and the natural world.




Arrow refers to a weapon or tool used for shooting with a bow.

In Tanka, the straightness, speed, and breakthrough power of arrows are used symbolically, and they are used to express passion such as decisions, actions, and single-minded love.


burn (burn)

Yaki (yaki) refers to the burning of something by fire or heat.

In tanka, in addition to literally depicting burning scenes, it is also used to symbolize passion, intense emotion, or change/transformation.

It is sometimes used when composing strong emotions such as sunsets or burning love.



A mountain (mountain) is a type of natural landform and is known as a high point.

In tanka, it is used to express the majesty of mountains, awe of nature, and the changing seasons.

Tanka about mountains depict the beauty of nature and the dialogue between humans and their inner lives.



Melancholy refers to a state of being depressed or feeling down.

Tanka poems use these words to express the loneliness felt at the turn of the seasons, the feelings of uncertainty in life, and inner conflicts.

By depicting melancholy feelings, poems that explore the deep inner world of humans are born.


Dusk (Yugure)

Dusk (twilight) refers to the evening time when the sun is setting.

In tanka poems, this scene is used to symbolize the emotion of sunset, the melancholy it brings, and the end of everyday life and the beginning of silence.

The scenery at dusk is suitable for composing poems about farewells, thoughts, and feelings about daily life.


steam (yuge)

Steam refers to the vapor that rises into the air when a hot liquid evaporates.

Tanka poems sometimes depict warmth, comfort, or scenes from daily life through steam.

It is also used to express the magical atmosphere brought about by steam and the beauty of random moments.



A dream also has the meaning of a mental landscape seen while sleeping, or a hope or wish.

Tanka poems are often used to talk about actual dreams or to express people’s ideals and longings.

Through dreams, we can express our desires and conflicts between reality and ideals, aspirations and despair.


world (yo)

World (world) is a word that means the world, society, or era.

Tanka poems are used to reflect people’s lives, the customs and social conditions of the era, etc.

It is also used to write about the sufferings and joys of “the world” and the complexity of human relationships.



Dawn (dawn) refers to the time when night ends and it becomes bright, that is, sunrise.

In Tanka, the word is used to symbolize hope, a new beginning, and the rebirth of life that dawn brings.

Tanka poems that capture the transition from night to morning leave a strong impression on readers.



A hunch (premonition) refers to a hunch or feeling you get before something happens.

Tanka are used to express scenes or emotions that hint at future events or changes.

It is suitable for capturing moments that foretell new beginnings and changes, such as the change of seasons and turning points in life.


Margin (Yohaku)

Margin (margin) refers to the blank area without text, images, etc. Blank spaces in tanka poems are sometimes used as a technique to give the reader room for imagination by leaving the poem unspoken. Instead of directly expressing the scene or emotion to be composed, the deep meaning and emotion behind it is hinted at through the blank space.



Night (night) refers to the time when the sun is setting.

In tanka, it is used in scenes that symbolize the silence of the night, secrets, or melancholy.

It plays an important role in composing various scenes and emotions, such as the beauty of the night, the feeling of loneliness, and secret meetings between lovers.




Paradise (Paradise) refers to an ideal place where there are no hardships or worries.

In Tanka, this word is used to describe utopias, dream-like beautiful worlds, and places where one seeks peace of mind.

Tanka themed around paradise express feelings of escapism, hope, and longing.


Fallen leaves (rakuyo)

Defoliation (defoliation) refers to the phenomenon in which trees shed their leaves in autumn.

In tanka, these words are used to write about autumn scenes, the melancholy of the changing seasons, and the ephemeral beauty.

Falling leaves are often used to symbolize the transience and change of life.



Spiral refers to a spiral-shaped object or shape.

Tanka poems are used not only to describe natural objects and sculptures that have a spiral shape, but also to express life, the flow of time, the process of thought, etc. using spirals.

Spiral movements are used in scenes that symbolize circulation, evolution, and deepening.



Clever means having wisdom or being wise.

In tanka, clever characters may not be written about directly, but they may be expressed indirectly when describing a character’s personality or actions.

It is also used in works that praise the wisdom and resourcefulness of nature and animals, as well as the wisdom and resourcefulness of humans.



Although tateron is rarely used directly in tanka, it means clearly stating a certain opinion or theory when interpreting or criticizing tanka.

When appreciating or criticizing tanka, it may be necessary to provide a logical explanation of the intentions, scenes, and emotions behind the poem.



An ideal refers to a perfect state or form that does not exist in reality, but which one should aspire to.

Tanka poems are used to express ideal worldviews, human relationships, and aspirations for self-actualization.

It is used to express the spirit of pursuing the ideal and the conflict between the ideal and reality.


Good night (Ryoya)

Good night (Good night) means an easy and pleasant night.

Tanka poems are used to describe times when you feel comfortable and happy, such as a quiet and peaceful night, a night under a beautiful starry sky, or a special night spent with your loved one.

Good night is a word used to symbolize a moment of peace and happiness, away from everyday life.



Separation (separation) is separation from a loved one or something important.

Tanka poems are used to describe the sadness and melancholy of separation, the circumstances leading up to the breakup, and the subsequent changes in one’s feelings.

It delves deeply into the emotional emptiness caused by separation and the feelings of what has been lost.



Lapis lazuli (lazuli) is a beautiful blue gemstone, and this color is sometimes used in Tanka poems.

It is used to express the beautiful blues of nature, such as the lapis lazuli sky and the sea, and is used to add rich colors to tanka.

Lapis lazuli is also used as a word that symbolizes preciousness and mysterious beauty.



Rei (rei) refers to the act or attitude of showing respect or gratitude.

Tanka poems are used to express relationships between people, social interactions, and sincere gratitude and respect.

By composing rites, you can incorporate the subtleties of human relationships and cultural background.



Spirit refers to the soul or spirit after death, or a being with mysterious powers.

Tanka poems are used to describe people’s deaths, mysterious experiences, and sacred places, expressing the boundaries between this world and the other world, and a sense of awe towards invisible forces.

The theme of spirits creates poems that explore the inner world of humans and supernatural phenomena.



Ron (ron) means an idea, opinion, or argument.

Although the word “ron” is rarely used directly in tanka, it is sometimes used indirectly to refer to works that reflect the thoughts and philosophy of the author.

In tanka, “ron” can refer to poetic expressions that include deep thoughts and questions.




Wa (和) represents harmony, peace, and the Japanese aesthetic sense. Tanka poems are used to express the harmony between people, harmony with nature, and traditional Japanese emotions.

The word “wa”, which expresses the sense of the season, also plays an important role as a seasonal word in tanka.


ring (wa)

A ring refers to something that is circular or similar in shape.

Tanka poems depict circles found in nature, such as flower rings and moon rings, and use them as symbols of beauty, eternity, and circulation.

It is also used to express the cycles of life and seasons.


share (share)

Sharing means sharing emotions, such as joy or sadness, or things with another person.

In Tanka, this expression is used when composing about deep connections with people, empathy, and the spirit of mutual support.

It is utilized in works that reflect the warmth of human relationships and a sense of community.



Wakaba (Wakaba) refers to new leaves that sprout in the spring, and is used in Tanka poems as a symbol of new growth and growth.

By composing wakaba, we express the changing seasons, new beginnings, and feelings of hope.



Forget-me-not (Forget-me-not) is a plant that blooms with small blue flowers and is known as a flower that symbolizes the feelings of someone you cannot forget.

In tanka poems, it is used to express longing feelings and eternal love for a lover or someone important to you.


give a warning

“Okashi” is an expression used in Heian period literature and Japanese poetry, and has meanings such as beautiful, tasteful, and touching.

Even in modern tanka, expressions that include the nuances of this ancient word are sometimes used.

It is sometimes cited to express classical aesthetics or the elegance of things.


I hate it

The term “wokogamashi” is an expression found in classical literature, and is used to connote something stupid or ridiculous, but again, it is not a specific term directly related to modern tanka.

It is sometimes referenced in the study of ancient Japanese and Japanese poetry, or to create an old-fashioned feel.


Let’s see

The word “wosawosa” is also not common in modern tanka terms, but in classical literature it is sometimes used to express a languid or leisurely atmosphere.

Such expressions can have an impact on depicting specific scenes and feelings.




At the end


In addition to the terms introduced here, there are many more words used in tanka.

Please feel free to try creating your own tanka.


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