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07/23/2018

Tanka poetry, Japanese five line poem

Tanka is a Japanese five line poem.
 
The poems were created by various people from the Emperor to farmers in the 8th century.
 
Manyo-syu is a anthology of Tanka composed of 4500 poems created until 759 AD.
 
The anthology contains not only Tanka created by nobles but also created by common people in Eastern Japan.
 
Tanka created by people from Eastern Japan is called Azuma-uta, which means poems of eastern Japan, and Sakimori-uta, which means poem of Sakimori, who were soldiers of garrisons in Kyusyu dispatched from eastern Japan.
 
In those days, commoners in Eastern Japan often suffered from severe poverty.
 
They expressed their suffering very clearly in their poem. Hence, these poems reach people's hearts. 
 
However, in those days, many common people couldn’t read and write, so most Tanka poetry created by common people were written down by officers of the Court.
 
Therefore it is considered many of these were readjusted by officers.

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