What is a sedoka?
Sedoka is a
Japanese verse form written by a single author. The classical
sedoka is found in Manyoshu: Collection of 10,000 Leaves.
This collection of poems was compiled late in the 8th century;
it contains only 60 examples of sedoka among the more than 4,000
poems written by members of the Imperial family, court ladies
and nobles, frontier guards (sakimon), etc. The available
English translation is called The Ten Thousand Leaves.
Sedoka is a 6 line poem containing two units called katauta. A
sedoka has 5-7-7-5-7-7 onji; each katauta contains a turn, or
change of direction. The turn at the end of line 3 is sharp, and
the turn at the end of line 5 is gentle. Generally, the two
halves of the poem focus on variations of the same subject but
offer different perspectives. Sedoka are often composed as folk
ballads. They can be mood poems, similar to tanka, or they can
tell stories in the manner of a song. The sedoka is
written by a single author, unlike the mondo which is written by