Wednesday, January 03, 2007

found on the web

2001 Waka for Japan 2001

Poetry has its seed in the human heart and blossoms forth in innumerable leaves of words ... it is poetry which, with only a part of its power, moves heaven and earth, pacifies unseen gods and demons, reconciles men and women and calms the hearts of savage warriors.
Ki no Tsurayuki, Preface to the Kokinshû, Ninth Century

Tsurayuki's words, written over a thousand years ago, are the first description by a Japanese of waka. The word is made up of two parts: wa meaning 'Japanese' and ka meaning 'poem' or 'song'. It was probably coined at about the time Tsurayuki was writing as a way to distinguish the poetry written by the Japanese in their own language from that they read and wrote in Chinese - the source of much of Japan's poetic inspiration.

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