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waka (和歌)

Waka (Japanese: 和歌; literally ”Japanese poem”). The umbrella term for poetic forms that were popular in Japanese aristocratic circles from the eighth to the twentieth century. In the modern era the term waka is used primarily as an early name for tanka.


1. In its largest sense, waka connotes the entirety of Japanese poetry.

2. More specifically, waka is the umbrella term for Japanese poetic forms that predate the emergence of renga and its products; especially chōka, sedōka, and tanka. For example, the earliest classical compilation of Japanese poetry, the Man’yōshū (ca. 760), is a collection of waka


Note: This brief definition represents an abstract of a full-length Haikupedia glossary article to come.

Updated on September 4, 2023