Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #58 Dodoitsu

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Recently we decided, as a family of haiku poets, to open CDHK for other Japanese poetry forms. And to "warm-up" I have another Tokubetsudesu episode for you. This week I will tell you something more about a, not so well known, Japanese poetry form, dodoitsu.

Dodoitsu is a form of Japanese poetry developed towards the end of the Edo Period. Often concerning love or work, and usually comical, Dodoitsu poems consist of four lines with the syllabic structure 7-7-7-5 and no rhyme or metre.

One Night

one night I searched for a star
what I found was a full moon
now my every day is
full of shooting stars

© Ben Gieske (2012)

Credits: Shooting Stars

And this is what Jane Reichhold tells us about dodoitsu:

Recently there has been some interest in a minor Japanese genre called the "dodoitsu" that has a small following among English writers. It was a traditional form for popular and folk songs and the name ("quickly city to city") appears to refer to the speed with which such new songs spread. In Japanese, the "dodoitsu" contains twenty-six sound units (onji) composed of four phrases in 7-7-7-5 sound units. Its hard to find examples of "dodoitsu" among literature because most of these songs, sung in the accompaniment of the shamisen (a banjo-like instrument with three strings), relied on the oral tradition and are therefore lost to us. Since the subject matter was either love or humor as viewed by inhabitants of the pleasure quarters, the existing works have attracted very little attention in English.

The above "dodoitsu" however is a nice example. As I sought the Internet I ran into a recently written "dodoitsu" which I love to share here:

Love Like Raindrops

Love, like raindrops falling down
Embraced the dried barren earth
Each drop a soothing caress
That softens... and wins.

I think this a nice poetry form which (maybe) needs more attention, because it's fun to compose them and it helps to make you maore creative and that will also have its influence on your haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry forms.


Of course I had to try it myself and this is what it has become:

her shadow on the white wall
her nude silhouette arouses me
I smell her fragile perfume
Honeysuckle blooms

© Chèvrefeuille

Wow ... what a nice dodoitsu (with a twist) I know, I know ... that sounds immodest, but I am really proud on this very first dodoitsu ever composed by me. I think this poetry form can become another addiction of mine ...

I hope you all like this episode and this "new" poetry form, dodoitsu, and I hope to read your dodoitsu soon. Have fun!

This Tokubetsudesu episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and it will remain open until August 28th at noon (CET). I will (try to) post our next episode, White Nile, later on. For now ... have fun!


  1. I love your dodoitsu (with a twist), Kristjaan!

  2. How fun! I do so love to learn new forms, thanks once again for all the work you put into your features, Bastet.