Compare and understand the difference between “waka” and “tanka”!

I am planning to compose ``Waka'' in modern times.
The question that arises here is the difference between "waka" and "tanka."

Before, what is waka? I briefly explained about it.
→“What is waka? "Yamato's music oriented towards beauty (everyone gets along well)"

I explained that ``Tanka'' is one of the forms of ``Waka.'' As you can see when you look at ancient songs such as the Manyoshu, waka originally had formats such as ``choka'' and ``sentouka'' based on the repetition of ``go-seven'', and among these, the 31-character format was ``. It was called "Tanka". However, by the time of the first imperial anthology, Kokin Wakashu, from the Heian period, tanka was established as an unwavering type and became the basis of waka.

However, I don't think we distinguish between ``waka'' and ``tanka'' based on this understanding. Most people understand that the old 31 characters are "waka" and the recent ones are "tanka" (sometimes tanka is referred to as "modern tanka" to emphasize this point). ). However, up until the Meiji period, ``Waka'' was always the latest literary art.In fact, even now, if you compose ``Waka'', it is the latest, but this is considered old-fashioned, and ``Tanka'' is considered the latest (modern). It started with the poets of the Meiji period, and if I had to say so, it started with Masaoka Shiki. He condemned ``waka'' as an old and frivolous piece of literature, and argued that the poems composed by up-and-coming poets such as himself were the ones appropriate for modern times (tanka). And this is a round of applause! It was widely accepted by the public and continues to this day.

Shiki's writing is clear, and even when I read it, I find it very moving. For example, in his book ``The Ten Times of Song Reading,'' he argues that ``I simply express my tastes that I feel are beautiful in the best way I can, but I do not respect my original intention.'' From this point of view, we can say that ``waka'' is an extremely inconvenient and boring piece of literature.

→“A book for reading poems (Aozora Bunko)

Now, in order to get a feel for the difference between "waka" and "tanka", I have arranged them randomly as shown below. Try to determine which one it is.
*Waka was written in the Heian period, and Tanka was written in the Meiji period.The initials may give you a hint.

(1) “You go out into the spring field and the snow falls on your clothes.” (KK)
(2) “I work hard, but my life doesn’t get any easier, so I look at my hands” (IT)
(3) “If I go to sleep thinking about it, I will wake up knowing that I am dreaming of seeing others.” (OK)
(4) “You touch the hot blood of your soft skin and teach me how not to be lonely” (YA)
(5) “If you put a bunch of wisteria flowers on a turtle, it will land on the tatami mat” (MS)
(6) “Fujinami blooms in my inn, and only people can see it” (O,M)
(7) “If I sleep for two nights in a bath and eat greens, I will become even more sad.” (S,M)
(8) “It’s sad to see the moon, but it doesn’t happen in autumn when I’m alone.” (O,T)
(9) “Even the potholes and thistle flowers will be burnt, and the dawn of the human burial place will dawn” (S,M)
(10) “The slippery thread of Fuji robe is like the thread of a wabi man’s tears” (M,T)

Well, I guess it wasn't that difficult. Click here for the answer.
"Waka" is written by (1) Emperor Koko, (3) Komachi Ono, (6) Mitsune Bonkawachi, (8) Chisato Oe, (10) Tadami Mibu, "Tanka" is written by (2) Takuboku Ishikawa, (4) Akiko Yosano, (5) Shiki Masaoka, (7) Mokichi Saito, (9) Mokichi Saito

To summarize Shiki's argument, ``express beauty as you feel it in an easy-to-understand way.'' This can be simply described as "realism." Therefore, (2) ``hands covered with hardship'', (5) words with strong life-like smells such as ``tatami'' and (7) ``hina,'' and (9) unclean words such as ``crematorium.'' You can even write words that accompany it in a song without any problem. (4) is a famous love song by Akiko Yosano, but how is it different from (3) by Komachi Ono? It's simply passion! is. A Heian woman whose ideal is to "wait" would never actively invite a man to "touch and massage" her.

The reason why "realism" was born during the Meiji period was, of course, due to the historical background. Yes, it's an imported "individualism". Realism (as you see it) is an act that cannot be achieved without the existence of the ``individual''. Excellent framing that captures real-life landscapes and daily life is possible only when there is an independent and clear individuality. The people of the Meiji period were obsessed with individualism and destroyed traditional boring things, including literature.

Now, let's take a look at "Waka" on the other hand. The early spring ``Wakana Picking (Children's Day Play)'' in (1) and the proudly blooming ``Fujinami of the Inn'' (mansion) in (6) have an extremely aristocratic scent. In the first place, the imperial anthology, which is said to be the holy book of waka poetry, is a collection of poems written by the Emperor's command, so it is only natural that they are elegant, and even if they are elegies with tragic themes, they will never depart from their elegance. The mournful scenes sung in (10) ``Tama no Tama no Oo'' and (9) ``Jinkosho'' give us the feeling of being as far apart as heaven and earth.

In fact, the reason that waka was able to remain at the center of literature until the Meiji period was because it was a literary art that was cultivated within the imperial family. In an era when there was no such thing as individualism, there was value in simply following the elegance of traditionalism. However, throughout the times, poets continued to struggle to breathe new life into their songs. The fruit of this was the ``Shin Kokin Wakashu'' and ``Gyokuyo Wakashu,'' and the development of renga and haikai, but ``Waka'' literature was completely knocked down by Masaoka Shiki's blow.

This led to the understanding that ``Tanka'' is ``a literary art that expresses the individuality of modern people (I, I, I, I)'' and that ``Waka'' is ``a dead (classic) literary art.'' However, this is nothing more than the so-called "Shiki's view of Waka history" by the Meiji people of civilization and enlightenment. I don't think that waka is dead, and I think that we can still compose waka even in modern times.

→“What is the meaning of composing waka in modern times?

Now, let's return to the question at the beginning: What is the difference between "waka" and "tanka"?
Our great predecessor, Toshinari Fujiwara, provides a clear answer here.

The origin of Japanese poetry is still far away. Since the Chihaya-Furi Jindai era, the proverb of the land of Shikishima has been passed down from the beginning to the end, and his words have endured for generations. As in the preface to the Kokinshu, if one's heart is a seed and follows the leaves of words, then one can search for flowers in spring and see red leaves in autumn, but there is nothing called a song, so there is nothing called poetry. There is no one who knows color or fragrance, and something should be the heart of a book. For this reason, successive generations of the imperial gates should have given up on this, and the members of the clans should not have to fight each other.
(Korokufuutaisho Volume 1)

“Waka” means “the heart of a book”! The ``heart of a book'' is simply the aesthetic nature of each individual thing, and the essence of the literary art of waka is to express its various aspects through poems of 31 characters.

Toshinari sought the origin of the ``heart of a book'' in the anthology of ancient and modern waka poems in his theory of poetry ``Kokorafutaisho,'' and by appreciating various poems included in subsequent imperial anthologies, he sought to understand the diverse aspects of the ``heart of a book.'' I explained that it is possible. In other words, it is essential for writers of waka to learn from the imperial collections since the Kokinshu, and if a poem is not based on these, it is not ``waka''; in other words, it is just a ``tanka.''

I hope you have understood the difference between "waka" and "tanka".

(Written by Uchida Engaku, a poet)

We are holding a "Utajuku" with the goal of learning from representative classical works and being able to compose traditional "Waka" on an individual basis!