In "The Water Level of Love (Ai no suii)," a suite of five tanka poems written by Ikuyo Sakamori and published in 1997, a group of colorful symbols manifest themselves and emit rays of spring delight. They are similar in that they share the brightness that cooperatively enhances the entire work to a cosmos of happiness. Applying Roman Jakobson's concept, the expanding symbols may be viewed as metaphors to each other: Metaphors as synonymous words making a grammatical paradigm. Sakamori's five-piece work aims to saturate meanings by making the most of the power of commonness to be ascribed to the 31-syllable tanka's basic framework.
In contrast, Fujiko Ishikawa's "From Kibi Highlands (Kibi Kogen yori)," published in 1998, presents a chain of ominous words in the same structure of a five-piece tanka suite to depict today's environmental problems. Ishikawa's words are journalistic, attracting the reader's attention by the transgression of the tanka's elegant tradition. Following R. Jakobson's notion, the self-assertive words may be viewed as metonymies to each other: Metonymies as contiguous words which form a syntagmatic line. In the same way as Sakamori, Ishikawa's work derives its evocative force from the history of tanka: Tanka as a modern development of the traditional waka representing a succession of the short pieces of 31 syllables for more than 1000 years.
Both the contemporary tanka works foreground the old waka's overall power for signification after the model of Akiko Yosano's Tangled Hair (1901), while simultaneously showing their own creativity to appeal to today's readers in the waves of massive information.