Jokotoba (a preface word) (序詞)

Jokotoba (a preface word) is a rhetoric used mainly in waka (traditional Japanese poems of thirty-one syllables), which is put before a certain word to modify it using a figure of speech, kakekotoba (a rhetoric in Waka in which one word has more than one meaning), and a homophone, etc.

Summary

Makura word (Poetic epithet convention) is a similar rhetoric used in waka. However, jokotoba is different from makura word in that the number of syllabic sounds is not fixed and there are longer jokotoba, and that the modified word is not fixed and created. Therefore, it is considered to be a more complicated mode of expression than the makura word.

There are two types of jokotoba: ushin no jo (semantic preface words) and mushin no jo (phonic preface words). Ushin no jo is connected to the modified word by meanings, while mushin no jo is connected to the modified word by pronunciation.

Ushin no jo

Aki zukeba obanaga ue ni oku tsuyuno kenubekumo wa ha omohoyuru kamo

Mushin no jo

Kaze fukeba okitsu shiranami tatsuta yama yawaniya kimiga hitori koyuramu
<kakekotoba between shiranami (foaming water) tatsu (ruffles) and tatsuta-gawa (Tatsuta-gawa River)>