A Douka or dōka (道歌, literally 'way poem') is an ethical Japanese waka with a lesson. Well-versed poems of Douka contain the central dogma, appealing to Japanese people and easy to memorize.
Dōka and its popularity in Japanese culture
 There is a wide range of Dōka and its contents are said to cover not only lessons but also worldly wisdom. The writers of Dōka are recorded to be many, but some of them composed originally Tanka and their Tanka was interpreted by others as Dōka.
Writers of Dōka
Ninomiya Sontoku, Ikkyu, Arakida Moritake, Ito Jinsai, Muso Soseki, Shimazu Tadayoshi, Ota Nampo, Matsudaira Sadanobu, Tokugawa Mitsukuni, Yoshida Shoin, Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Takuan, Takizawa Bakin, Hirata Atsutane, Ota Dokan, Saigyo Hoshi, Kyokutei Bakin, Yamaoka Tesshu, Watanabe Kazan, Yamanoue no Okura, Fujiwara Teika, Sen no Rikyu, Sakamoto Ryoma, Toju Nakae, Rennyo, Minamoto no Sanetomo, Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Takuan Soho, Sugawara Michizane, Nichiren, Honinbo Sansa Motoori Norinaga and many others.
History of Dōka
- Anrakuan Sakuden (安楽庵策伝?, 1554 - February 7, 1642) was an Edo period Japanese priest of the Jodo-shu (Pure Land) of Buddhism; and a poet. He wrote a book Seisuisho (醒睡笑, Laughs to Wake You Up), which is a collection of humorous anecdotes. In volume 3 of this book, the word Douka was first used. However, the Japanese have liked composing Tankas with lessons from time immemorial. Later, Ishida Baigan started Shingaku (心学, lit. "heart learning") and used Dōka in his religious movement. Dōka is remembered in everyday life of Japanese.
Coverage of Dōka
Sanjiro Kimura collected many Dōkas under the following classifications.
- Morality; small kindness, honesty, robbery, faithless love, friendship, flattery, etc.
- Art of Living; Travel, Health,etc.
- Wisdom; Wisdom in living,etc.
- How to live;Lies, etc.
- Progress of People;
- Money and Fortune;
- Parents and Children, Siblings, Couples;
- Heart and Religion;
Examples of Dōka
- 木村山治郎 『道歌教訓和歌辞典』 (1998) 東京堂出版 東京 ISBN 4-490-10490-1
- Kimura Sanjiro, Dōka Kyokun Waka Jiten, 1998, Tokyodo Shuppan, Tokyo, ISBN 4-490-10490-1
- 八波則吉 『道歌清談』, 1936, 実業の日本社 東京
- Norikichi Yanami, 1936, Dōuka Seidan Jitsugyouno Nipponsha, Tokyo.
- 松尾茂 『道歌大観』 1911, 光融館 東京
- Shigeru Matsuo, 1911, Dōka Taikan Koyukan, Tokyo.