How To Write A Japanese Limerick

Dodoitsu is a form of Japanese poetry written about love or work and is typically comical. It is dubbed the “Japanese Limerick”. It is one stanza made up of four lines.


How to Write Japanese Limerick

What Is Dodoitsu?

Dodoitsu is a form of Japanese poetry written about love or work and is typically comical. It is dubbed the “Japanese Limerick”. It is one stanza made up of four lines. The first three lines are seven syllables. The final line is five syllables. Its goal is to quickly capture a moment or thought. It is unrhymed and has no meter.

How Do You Write Dodoitsu?

It is one stanza made up of four lines
The first 3 lines are 7 syllables. The last line is 5 syllables.
Typically a moment or thought quickly captured.
It is unrhymed and has no set meter.

Examples of Dodoitsu:
Five Minutes to Five
Thursday afternoon is dead,
phones become silent and wait
until five minutes to five
to ring, on Friday

– Judi Van Gorder

“what’s that smell?”
I can’t cook to save my life
The click of the stove burner
Is a mocking laugh at me
Is something burning?

-Corey Bryan

Advantages of Dodoitsu

Like most short-form poetry it can be composed quickly. Its syllable counts will be familiar for anyone who has composed classic 5-7-5 haiku before. One of the best reasons to write dodoitsu though is that it’s fun. Their style is meant to be humorous and satirical so if you ever find yourself in the doldrums of emotional poetry, take a breath of fresh air by composing some dodoitsu.

Challenges of Dodoitsu

Its constraint on syllables can be tricky without much experience. It is also much harder than people expect to compose something with the intention of humor. Additionally, with a quatrain designed in limerick fashion, it’s really hard not to rhyme! I am here to tell you though that if you want to rhyme, break the rules. Go crazy. No one is going to stop you.

Writing Prompts


Prompt 1 – Write About Cooking or Eating

Capture a moment or thought about either topic.

Example:

“What’s that smell?”
I can’t cook to save my life
The click of the stove burner
Is a mocking laugh at me
Is something burning?

Prompt 2 – Write About Childhood or Fine Dining

Capture a moment or thought about either topic.

Example:

“Five Star Restaurant”
A landscape of true beauty
Smells, delicious and savory
Now this is fine dining, but
Where is all the food?

Prompt 3 – Write About Greed or Family

Capture a moment or thought about either topic.

“Childhood Greed”
I was young, I ran a stand
We sold lemonade for fun
It cost a buck eighty-five
No one got their change

Prompt 4 – Write About Movies or Silence

Capture a moment or thought about either topic.

Example:

“Silent Noise”
‘The silence was deafening’ or
‘Your silence says it all’
Is there something I’m missing?
I don’t hear a thing

Prompt 5 – Write About Dog Parks or Apple Picking

Capture a moment or thought about either topic.

Example:

“My Dog Ringo”
Hound dogs have crazy noses
They can sniff out anything
So can someone tell me why
Mine sniffs his friend’s butt

Prompt 6 – Write About Breakfast or Running Errands

Capture a moment or thought about either topic.

Example:

“Cereal”
Some things I love for breakfast:
Corn Pops, Frosted Flakes, Trix. It’s
How I get my daily dose
Of sweet corn syrup

Prompt 7 – Write About Birthdays or Birdwatching

Capture a moment or thought about either topic.

Example:

“Ornithological Nightmare”
Birds scare me. Each time I watch,
The small birds in my backyard,
I swear when I look at them
They look back at me

Support the Site

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You can read more about the book here.

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Sam and Corey started Poetry is Pretentious to demystify poetry. More importantly, their 5th grade teacher told them they couldn’t go through life as a team. 18 years later they’re here to prove her wrong.

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