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Shikimoku was the Rokugani term for courtly renga poetry contests, and the winner was the better wordsmith. The chosen judge chose a theme for the opening stanza, and the winner was judged on who created more vivid imagery, improvised more fluidly, and created superior links from one stanza to the next. A specific image might not be re-used, and no participant might use a pre-prepared stanza. At the Imperial Winter Court, the theme of the opening stanza was traditionally chosen by the Imperial spouse, and the contest included up to three contestants from each clan. 
A common convention was the practice of wakiokori, in which the first stanza of the renga was a well-known haiku by a famous poet, chosen by the judge or host. The contestant then made an original link to the famous poem by completing it with a couplet, and the contest continued from there as normal. 
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