Friday Funsies: The T.A.P. Tag! – Introducing Haiku’s Poetic Cousin

For those wondering, the T.A.P. in my title stands for Tanka Anime Poetry!

Curiously Dead Cat’s blog has a rather fun little thing they do for first impressions, and it’s making it a haiku. I got a light bulb from that and dm’ed him about it. However, as we talked, I thought about how short haikus are, and how hard it was to talk about my love for a thing in such short notice. So, I decided to introduce you guys haiku’s lesser known relative, tanka!

What is a tanka, you ask?

Tanka (短歌 tan-kah) poems are short poems that originated in Japan in the 13th century. They are five lines long and often convey deep feelings about nature, love, or desire. They usually have a structure of syllables that starts similar to haiku (5-7-5), but ends with two more 7-syllable lines, making it 5-7-5-7-7, for a total of 31 syllables.

I followed this quick guide that explained the core concepts of it, but for a TL;DR, here’s the structure of a tanka.

  • Setting up the scene (two lines that describe a moment)
  • The “pivot” line (middle line that links the top and bottom lines together)
  • The payoff (last two lines that describe your feelings toward said moment)

This is more important than following the 5-7-5-7-7 structure, but remember, you can only go LESS than 31 syllables, not more, so you can keep the spirit of the original Japanese poetry. You can be a bit freeform if you want.

Rules of the tag:

  1. Headline your post with “The T.A.P. Tag!” and put “tanka” as one of your tags.
  2. Make sure to link back to the original post that started the tag (this post!).
  3. Make sure to mention the person who forced introduced the tag to you!
  4. Pick 1-3 of your favorite anime.
  5. Write your tanka about the anime you’ve chosen. It’s fine if you decide to do only one or two if the schedule is tight.
  6. Tag at least 3 or more bloggers you know, and get their creative muscles flowing.

Now, for the poem part, I’ve chosen three because I did start this idea, and they are Clannad: After Story, Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood and Girls’ Last Tour.

Clannad: After Story


On a quiet field,

A robot asks a sad girl

“Are you alone here?”

The girl holds him by the hand.

“How can I be? You are here.”

Now, I can explain the structure. The first two lines set up the poem to be the robot and the girl in a quiet field. The third line (the “defining moment” line) has the robot ask a question. The last two lines, show an impactful action or thought. The pivot line is how you know you’ve made a good tanka. If your tanka still makes sense even if you remove the last two or first two lines, you’re set. For example:

On a quiet field,

A robot asks a sad girl,

“Are you alone here?”


“Are you alone here?”

The girl holds him by the hand.

“How can I be? I have you.”

Don’t worry if you’re a syllable off on some lines, what’s important is that you get the feel of a tanka across.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


Two boys fused to steel

One in parts and one complete

Alchemist brothers

On a journey where they see,

The strength of the human soul

Girls’ Last Tour


Two girls on a tour

Through remnants of times gone by

Pondering aloud

Of the past and the present

In a world with no future

I’m not exactly sure how well a poetry tag will do, especially one like this and with everybody so busy, but I’d like to give it a try anyway, and I hope you guys do too.

I nominate the following peeps:

1. Curiously Dead Cat

2. Irina

3. Jenn

4. BiblioNyan

5. LitaKino

6. tetrax4berium

If you guys decide to do the tag, or even just comment your thoughts on it here if you can’t participate, it would be highly appreciated!

That’s it for today, I hope you guys enjoyed my attempt at poetry!



49 thoughts on “Friday Funsies: The T.A.P. Tag! – Introducing Haiku’s Poetic Cousin

  1. Pairing poetry and anime! I love this idea and your tankas, especially the one for Girls’ Last Tour. Here’s one I tried for Assassination Classroom:

    A tentacled threat
    Teaching the underrated
    Faith that all can learn
    Not to kill but knowing how,
    That potential may be tapped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate even non-followers loving the idea, makes me feel like I tried something cool, succeed or no.

      Also, props for the really good Assassination Classroom tanka, it summarizes it perfectly without really spoiling much.

      Liked by 1 person

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