A dose of fetish. Good friends. An incomparable muse.
Today I thought we’d look at a rather special Japanese genre called kyoka. It’s not considered a “proper” poetry form among the academics, even in this day and age, because like senryu, it has been considered, well, low-class and something a little shameful to write … we might consider both as something along the lines of the limerick in our western cultural context, which until recently were loved by many but a little frowned upon.
Kyoka, though around for a long time had it’s heyday only in the last quarter of the 18th century. Poetry in Japan had been reserved to the aristocratic samurai class and usually written in Chinese. Waka (Japanese Poetry) began to weave it’s way into the merchant class as this class became more literate, allowing them to create and enjoy poetry, even if they didn’t have the extensive literary experience and training of the samurai, they could follow the metric rules and create acceptable verse.
Kyoka (“playful verses” 狂歌) became very popular and was written along with ukiyo-e ( “pictures of the floating world”) woodblock prints which were sometimes rather bawdy – artists, commoners and of course samurai, though under pen-names because of their high rank and fear of ostracism all wrote kyoka until the Shogun clamped down on the genre rendering it nearly extinct. The floating world by the way was what we’d call the red light district. The subject of a kyoka doesn’t have to be bawdy … just funny or surprising.
Here, Akira is talking about the ladies of the floating world plying their trade in the red light district.
The following is a kyoka I wrote on my Waka Library blog last June:
this prickly plants grows
like some men I’ve known
with a little love –
affection and attention
they raise their seductive stalks
Here’s your prompt:
Feel free to write a shadorma (a non-rhyming six-line poem in 3/5/3/3/7/5) and/or kyoka The choice is yours! When you have written your poem(s), please TAG them B&P’s Shadorma & Beyond and MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. Then add your link to the Mister Linky widget below.
And have fun!