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Choka Definition

A choka is a type of poem that originated centuries ago in the Japanese royal court. The lines of the poem alternate between five and seven syllables, with the final line being an extra seven-syllable line. The choka poem may be any length, and many choka poems were traditionally quite long, sometimes reaching over 100 lines long. In fact, "choka" translates to "long poem," though some choka poems are as short as only seven lines long.

Choka poetry style is a subset of waka poetry, which is Japanese court poetry from approximately the 6th to 14th centuries, though the earliest known choka poem is from the 1st century. This early poem is 149 lines long and describes a great battle. Following this tradition, most choka poems tell an epic story.

Choka poems were traditionally sung in a high-pitched voice. Due to the fact that the poem must alternate between five- and seven-syllable lines, with an extra seven-syllable line at the end, all choka poems have an odd number of lines. 


The most intricate Japanese Poetry form is the Choka, or Long Poem.

The early form consisted of a series of Katuata joined together. This gives a choice of form structures of ..... 5 - 7 - 7 - 5 - 7 - 7.. etc, or .. 5 - 7 - 5 - 5 - 7 - 5.. etc.

Choka Poem Example

The Moth

there is no freedom
escaping from my cocoon
I must seek you once again
I am drawn to you
like a moth to a candle
circling nearer and nearer
the deadly flame calls
now my wings are scorched
why must my nature be so?


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No standard definition found.

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