The Tanka is a uniquely Japanese poetic form perfected in the beginning of the seventh century. Its original form can be seen in the Manyoshu, an anthology of poems compiled in the eighth century.
Words which express the poet's feelings or the seasonnal conditions are set into a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic ctructure. With no - season words- as required in Haiku,Tanka allows more freedom of subjeccy matter.
Tokai no - kojima no iso no-shirasuna ni - Ware nakinurete - kani to tawamuru. On the white sand of a rocky beach on a samll island off the Tokai coast, Soaked in tears, I play with a crab.This is a poem by Ishikawa Takuboku- 1886-1912 -. If you read it aloud, you will hear the 5-7-5-7-7 rhythm.
The pleasing resonance of its words is one of the reasons Japanese have long cherished the Tanka.