Kyoka (“playful verses” 狂歌) became very popular and was written along with ukiyo-e ( “pictures of the floating world”) woodblock prints which were sometimes rather bawdy – artists, commoners and of course samurai, though under pen-names because of their high rank and fear of ostracism all wrote kyoka until the Shogun clamped down on the genre rendering it nearly extinct. The floating world by the way was what we’d call the red light district. The subject of a kyoka doesn’t have to be bawdy … just funny or surprising.
The rules of kyoka are rather simple:
1. The syllable structure is 5-7-5-7-7 (or for those who follow the modern haiku rules – short long short long long lines with no more than no more than 31 syllables.)2. It divided in two parts, the 5-7-5 part is called kami-no-ku (“upper phrase”), and the 7-7 part is called shimo-no-ku (“lower phrase”).
3. There is a subtle turn, often unexpected in the middle of the poem, usually after line two or three.
4. It has a thirty-one syllable count of (or fewer are acceptable more isn’t).
5. It is humorous verse or a parody of a famous waka (or tanka).
6. It may contain internal rhyme but should avoid end rhyme.
7. Try to punctuate lightly or not at all.
red shoes left on ground
can’t wait to fulfill desire
witness by nature
fooling around in forest
naughty you, might be caught soon