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Keywords: Japan, Japanese poetry, waka, short poem, literature

Global Regions: Asia , East Asia

Countries: Japan

Universities: Columbia University

Subjects: Language Arts & Literature

Resource Types: Student Readings

Time Periods: Modern

Themes: Culture and Society

Levels: High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)


What is a Waka?

Student reading about the history and structure of waka, a type of Japanese poetry.

This curriculum unit introduces students to the waka. The form of Japanese poetry most familiar to Americans is the haiku, the 17-syllable poem that reached the height of its development in the seventeenth century. But the haiku derived from an older, but still popular poetic form, the waka, which had been used for a thousand years before the haiku. The word waka means "Japanese poem," and it is a form so basic to Japanese literature that Japanese still study and write it today.

Student excercises are included.

*Description taken from the reading.


Produced at: Columbia University, Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Recommended by: Angela Sims

Year Produced: 2002

Material: Text, student excercises

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