Sunday, January 8, 2012


Ceremony of the First Karuta Play of the New Year is held on January 3rd at Yasaka-jinja Shrine(八坂神社) in Kyoto and on January 8th at Omi Jingu Shrine.

Iroha-garuta is the most traditional karuta, each of which starts with one of the 47 characters of the old Japanese alphabet. Forty-seven Japanese proverbs are written on cards for reading and the 47 characters and pictures are written on cards for taking.

This alphabet is also a poem which consists of 47 different letters.

いろはにほへと ちりぬるを
わかよたれそ つねならむ
うゐのおくやま けふこえて
あさきゆめみし ゑひもせす

i-ro-ha-ni-ho-he-to chi-ri-nu-ru-wo
wa-ka-yo-ta-re-so tsu-ne-na-ra-mu
u-wi-no-o-ku-ya-ma ke-fu-ko-e-te
a-sa-ki-yu-me-mi-shi we-hi-mo-se-su

This poem have several possible meanings. One of them is as follows.

The petals fall after blooming.
Everything changes in this world.
I got over a steep mountain in my life today.
I don't want to dream an empty dream when being sober.

Iroha-garuta cards for taking

Karuta / Gilgongo

Iroha-garuta cards for reading and taking

(c) .foto project

Kyogi Karuta

Karuta Practice / JoshBerglund19

Karuta Practice / JoshBerglund19

Ogura Hyakunin-isshu karuta

(1) cards made in the Edo Period(1603-1868)

in the late Edo period

the poem of Empress Jito (持統天皇, 645-702)

春すぎて 夏来にけらし 白妙の
衣ほすてふ 天の香具山

Only the upper poem is written on cards made in the Edo Period.

in the late 17th century
Empress Jito

in the mid Edo period
Empress Jito

(2) cards made in the Meiji Period(1868-1912)

Empress Jito

Empress Jito

(3) cards made in the Taisho Period(1912-1926)

Empress Jito

Empress Jito

Empress Jito

Empress Jito

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