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Sedoka Definition

Sedoka is a Japanese verse form that evolved from ancient songs. They can be mood poems, similar to tanka, or they can tell stories in the manner of a song. Sedoka consist of 6 lines of 5-7-7-5-7-7 syllables respectively. Each 5-7-7 unit is called a katauta. Traditionally, the second katauta says the same thing as the first katauta, although in a different way. In modern English the syllable count is somewhat more flexible, and there is usually a turn, or change in direction, in lines 3 and 5. The turn in line 3 is sharp, and the turn in line 5 is gentle.


The Sedoka is a poem in which there is no set rhyme pattern, is considered to be unrhymed, and has two three-line katautas. This katauta follows the syllables pattern 5/7/7. Each of the Sedoka poems contains a pair of katauta. The poem will focus on one specific subject but will take a look at it from two different points of view. The sedoka consist of two sets of three lines that are unrhymed. This form of poetry originated in Japan but is uncommon because it can be challenging to write. It Japanese poetry it was commonly used for dialogue. This form of poetry was popular back in the 8th century making it one of the oldest forms of poetry. Since that time is it seldom used but the works are still appreciated today. Kakinomoto Hitomaro was one of the best-known writers of the sedoka. 

Sedoka Poem Example

Example by Unknown Author:

In Your Absence I write Sedoka...

I write sedoka
to tell you how my love grows
even in your short absence.
Since you went away
two bright red roses have bloomed—
your cat brought home a rabbit.

This morning the rain
left wet puddles on the lawn—
wind damaged the cherry tree.
The afternoon sun
dried the grass and I pruned
the minor garden damage.

Did you know actress
Anne Bancroft passed on Monday,
a youngster—seventy-three.
Thank you for phoning
to let me know you’ll be home on
Saturday for the Art Fair.

I must end this note—
the red rose in the white vase
dropped several petals today.
I place two inside—
write your name and lick the stamp
speeding my letter to you.

Out in the June sky
I see your face in the clouds
of the setting sun just now.
I pause in the dark—
on the horizon full moon
casts your shape to stand near me.

No standard definition found.

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