JAPAN: Rooster Tankas

The greatest New Year's honor that can befall a Japanese is to have his poem recited to His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Hirohito. Less than ten poems are recited. All must be on the same subject (chosen in advance by the Imperial Household Ministry). All must be in the requisite tanka form of 31 syllables in lines of five, seven, five, seven and seven syllables. Each year at least 30,000 Japanese poets strive for the honor. U. S. cable companies are grateful for the fact that Japanese living abroad usually wire their...

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