Long rectangular strips of paper or card upon which is written a hokku—a seventeen-syllable poem, originally the first poem of a sequence of linked haikai poems—are called tanzaku. They became common among people who enjoyed haikai in the Edo period. Tanzaku are valuable materials because they reveal each poet’s individuality. Viewing a variety of haikai tanzaku, you can see the personality of different poets through their distinctive handwriting, beautiful papers, and the like.
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