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Welcome to the Yale Wiki Glossary of Japanese Poetics, or the Waka Wiki!

This is a project born from the "Japanese Poetry and Poetics" course taught by Professor Edward Kamens held at Yale University in 2014. It was created with the aim of providing a centralized resource and open-source pedagogical tool available to students and scholars globally. The Waka Wiki seeks to develop a vocabulary and productive discourse for discussing premodern Japanese poetics. Further, it attempts to use the wiki format to invite the establishment of links and comparisons with other poetic traditions. Encyclopedic in aspiration, the Waka Wiki was not created to impose critical hierarchies or promote agendas, but rather to present information and ideas in a reliable, professional manner.

Waka, while often used to denote a specific poetic form, i.e., the tanka, is also to define both premodern Japanese poetics writ large. It is written with the character 歌 (J. uta), which most literally means song but tends to be translated as 'poem.'

On this Wiki can be found a number of sub-pages on a variety of topics relating to waka, ranging from discussions of key terms in waka interpretation to biographical information on poets, historical context, and beyond. If there is a waka-related topic that you feel is missing or incomplete, please feel free to edit it and add what you know to our repository of knowledge.

Since this a pedagogical tool, please be sure to translate and explicate all Japanese and jargon so that it remain accessible to the general student, as well as to properly cite all sources.

If you'd like to learn how to edit these pages, or create them from scratch, please take a look at The official Wikipedia Tutorial.

To create a new page from scratch first search to see if the page exists via the "Search" box below. If it doesn't exist, please feel free to create it yourself!

Before you can edit, you must first register an account (no email address required. It's really quite painless). [You can do that here].