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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: January 2016

51 - Satiric poetry: Kyōshi, Kyōka, and Senryū

from Part IV - The Edo period (1600–1867)


Three relatively new genres, kyoshi, kyoka, and senryu, came to the fore in the latter half of the eighteenth century. By the eighteenth century, Japanese literati had naturalized the medium of Chinese poetry, adapting it to their own tastes and needs. Waka poets wrote kyoka, a parodic and popular form of the thirty-one syllable waka, as a form of amusement, in much the same way that Japanese kanshi poets composed kyoshi. Kyoka relied heavily on complex and witty wordplay and incorporated socially diverse content that broke the bounds of classical waka. The seventeen-syllable senryu became popular in the 1750s. Senryu covered a broad range of topics of interest to contemporary audiences, particularly in Edo, which had become a major metropolis by the mid eighteenth century. The fundamental differences between modern haiku and senryu can be traced to their historical origins. Haiku was originally the opening verse of a linked-verse sequence, and senryu was an offshoot of the added verse.

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