Best 10 love Tanka poems by famous Japanese poets

Classic 5-5-5-7-7 Tanka poems about love and romance

 

By Kitagawa Utamaro

 

Though the poetry dealing with various themes, Tanka poems of romance is especially popular. Because in any age, the feelings of love for others are the same, and we easily feel sympathy for the poems. I’ll show you famous 10 love Tanka poems throughout the Japanese poem history. 

 

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1.  Kakinomoto Hitomaro (662-710)

 

 

<Japanese>

足引きの 山鳥の尾の しだり尾の  ながながし夜を ひとりかもねむ

Ashibiki no/ Yamadori no o no/ Shidari o no/ Naganagashi yo wo/ Hitori kamo nen

 

<English>

Like a long

And hang down

Tail of a copper pheasant,

I sleep alone

At long long night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ono no Komachi (825-900)

 

<Japanese>

思ひつつ 寝ればや人の 見えづらむ  夢と知りせば 覚めざらましを

Omoi tsutsu/ Nu re baya hito no/ Mie zu ram/ Yume to shiri seba/ Same zara mashi wo

 

<English>

Thinking about you,

I slept and saw you

In the dream.

If I had known it’d have been dream,

I wouldn’t have wake up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Emperor Yozei (869-949)

 

<Japanese>

筑波嶺の 峰より落つる 男女川  恋ぞつもりて 淵となりぬる

Tsukubane no/ Mine yori otsuru/ Minanogawa/ Koi zo tsumori te/ Fuchi to nari nuru

 

<English>

From the peak

Of Mt. Tsukuba

Minanogawa River flow down.

Love accumulates

And becomes a pool.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fujiwara Yoshitaka (954-974)

 

<Japanese>

君がため 惜しからざりし 命さへ   長くもがなと 思ひぬるかな

Kimi ga tame/ Oshi kara zarishi/ Inochi sae/ Nagakumo gana to/ Omoi nuru kana

 

<English>

To meet you

稀二逢恋(Mareni au koi)

I didn’t thought

Even my life was precious.

But I hope now

To have a long life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Akazome-emon (956-1041)

 

<Japanese>

やすらはで 寝なましものを 小夜更けて  かたぶくまでの 月を見しかな

Yasura wade/ Ne namashi mono wo/ Sayo fuke te/ Katabuku made no/ Tsuki wo mishi kana

 

<English>

If I had known you hadn’t have come,

I would have sleep already.

But it became late at night,

物思恋(Mono omou koi)

I see the moon

Which goes down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Mibu no Tadami (?-?)

 

<Japanese>

恋すてふ わが名はまだき 立ちにけり  人知れずこそ 思ひそめしか

Koisu cho/ Waga na wa mada ki/ Tachi ni keri/ Hito shirezu koso/ Omoi someshi ka

 

<English>

I fall in love,

The rumor already

Goes around.

Though I began to

Give my heart to her secretly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896)

 

<Japanese>

よそながら かげだに見んと 幾度か  君が門をば 過ぎてけるかな

Yoso nagara/ Kage dani min to/ Iku tabi ka/ Kimi ga mon wo ba/ Sugite keru kana

 

<English>

Casually,

To see just your shadow,

I passed through

Your house’s gate

Several times.

 

 

 

 

 

8. Yosano Akiko (1878-1942)

 

<Japanese>

小百合さく 小草がなかに 君まてば  野末にほいて 虹あらはれぬ

Sayuri saku/ Ogusa ga naka ni/ Kimi mate ba/ Nozue nioi te/ Niji araware nu

 

<English>

I wait for you

In the grassland

Where small lilies bloom.

On the corners of the field,

The rainbow shows up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Yamakawa Tomiko (1879-1909)

 

<Japanese>

それとなく 紅き花みな 友にゆづり  そむきて泣きて 忘れ草つむ

Soreto naku/ Akaki hana mina/ Tomo ni Yuzuri/ Somuki te naki te/ Wasure gusa tsumu

 

<English>

Indirectly,

I gave all red flowers

To my friend.

I turned up my back on them,

Weeped and picked up forgetting grass

 

*”my friend” is Yosano Akiko

*forgetting grass in Japanese is Hemerocallis fulva var

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Kitahara Hakushu (1885-1942)

 

<Japanese>

ヒヤシンス 薄紫に 咲きにけり  はじめて心 顫ひそめし日

Hiyashinsu/ Usumurasaki ni/ Saki ni keri/ Hajimete kokoro/ Furuisome shi hi

 

<English>

A Hyacinth,

The pale purple colored

Flower bloomed.

It was the first day

She shaked my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

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