One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Translation of the

One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu I had no idea what to expect from One Hundred Leaves, but suspected I would be flummoxed by the poetry But I was wrong These poems are simple but beautiful in that simplicity Each page has a poem translation Each has the original Japanese with a pronunciation key Each has literal notes and some have further explanations, such as double meanings or information about the author Finally, each poem is next to a print of Japanese Art in black and white grayscale Where was this book when I had I had no idea what to expect from One Hundred Leaves, but suspected I would be flummoxed by the poetry But I was wrong These poems are simple but beautiful in that simplicity Each page has a poem translation Each has the original Japanese with a pronunciation key Each has literal notes and some have further explanations, such as double meanings or information about the author Finally, each poem is next to a print of Japanese Art in black and white grayscale Where was this book when I had World literature I loved this book The back of this elegant little booklet saysAround 1235, Japanese poet and scholar Fujiwara no Teika compiled for his son s father in law a collection of 100 poems by 100 poets.Within its chronological summary of six centuries of Japanese literature, Teika arranged a poetic conversation that ebbs and flows through a variety of subjects and styles The collection became the exemplar of the genre a mini manual of classical poetry, taught in the standard school curriculum and used in a memory ca The back of this elegant little booklet saysAround 1235, Japanese poet and scholar Fujiwara no Teika compiled for his son s father in law a collection of 100 poems by 100 poets.Within its chronological summary of six centuries of Japanese literature, Teika arranged a poetic conversation that ebbs and flows through a variety of subjects and styles The collection became the exemplar of the genre a mini manual of classical poetry, taught in the standard school curriculum and used in a memory card game still played during New Year s.Larry Hammer, the translator, not only gives alternate meanings for phrases, but he furnishes clues to meanings otherwise hidden to the Westerner ignorant of the subtleties of the various styles through these six centuries of Japanese history.Here s one that I liked 80 Empress Haiken s Horikawa Whether his feelingswill also last, I don t know, and my black hair isdisordered as, this morning, my thoughts certainly are.The image of the lover with long, ruffled hair is so evocative and romantic About it, Hammer says, An attendant of the imperial court.the origin of the use name Horikawa moat river is uknown, but it seems unrelated to the earlier emperor of that name Again, the mono thought about is clearly the other person.How about this one 92 Sanuki My sleeve is likea rock in the open sea unseen at low tide,for no one knows about it and so it never dries out.That s evocative enough, right there and then Hammer furnishes the hidden clues A lady in waiting to retired emperor Nijo and later to a consort of Go Toba, her use name is from Sanuki Province now Kagawa Prefecture but her connection to it is obscure.Written on love compared to a stone The original can be read as that it s either people in general or a particular person who does not know her sleeves are wet Sleeves were normally all that a modest court lady showed of herself in public, so the implication is she s hiding hers to avoid revealing they re damp from crying over a broken heart, keeping them from drying.The poems do ebb and flow, furnishing an elliptical, or elusive, conversation, if one reads them in order But I found equal pleasure in opening the book anywhere, and picking one to read and think about Wanna reed some pomes With purdy pitchurs Tanka Tanka, very much.When a collection is 8 ish centuries old and most of the poems themselves much, much older , you have to do the eggshell strut to make sure you aren t getting one of the completely bogus translations amidst the hundreds orin print Well, I suppose cautious consideration should be applied to any book in translation from any period in time, but I found the contrasts between interpretations of these tanka meaning eency ween Wanna reed some pomes With purdy pitchurs Tanka Tanka, very much.When a collection is 8 ish centuries old and most of the poems themselves much, much older , you have to do the eggshell strut to make sure you aren t getting one of the completely bogus translations amidst the hundreds orin print Well, I suppose cautious consideration should be applied to any book in translation from any period in time, but I found the contrasts between interpretations of these tanka meaning eency weency poems, simply from comparing two editions, to be quite striking in a deal or no deal sort of way I first perused a much newer and not quite up to snuff interpretation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu before giving this one my letter jacket In an attempt to do something new with previously heavily charted territory insert sex joke and modernize this ancient text, Peter McMillan in his sorta blah version titled One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each removed the rhyme scheme which makes this, William Porter s version, flow like a chocolate fountain of tasty awesome Summary of point one read this translation Sure, it putseffort into sounding sing songy than the particularly borderline forcibly non rhymey McMillan translations, but that s part of what I love about them I grew up on Doc Seuss picture books and doo wop, soda shop pop lyrics just like anyone else There ain t a thang wrong with a little A B, A B, or even a straight up couplet.The poems themselves were composed mostly by Imperial courtiers, and examine issues which are time and culture specific such as the royal family and inner ruling class concerns, while also touching uponuniversal themes of love loss longing, the beauty of nature, melancholia, what it means to exist at all, etc, etc Something for everyone Also, some of them are kinda funny in that cloudy day, nihilistic sort of way that would come to dominate the land of modern lyrics about lurrrve To fall in love with womankindIs my unlucky fate If only it were otherwise,I might appreciateSome men, whom now I hate Like I said, themes still relevant today And always.As a bonus, this version contains woodblock illustrations and brief notes on each piece, as well as the poem in its original Japanese characters and their Romanizations, so you can read them aloud and feel smurt if you want to Not that Ididthat I mean, PLEASE, do you honestly think I talk to myself Psssh Huhuh Whew One Hundred Poets, One Poem EachTranslated by Peter MacMillanDating back to the seventh century, these treasures of ancient Japan s poetry are the most popular and widely read poems in Japan even today On spring and summer, on autumn and winter, on travel and rest, on grief and above all on love, these short poems are the precursors of haiku, called waka poems How cold the faceof the morning moon Since we partednothing is so miserableas the approaching dawn Mibu no TadamineThe natural world One Hundred Poets, One Poem EachTranslated by Peter MacMillanDating back to the seventh century, these treasures of ancient Japan s poetry are the most popular and widely read poems in Japan even today On spring and summer, on autumn and winter, on travel and rest, on grief and above all on love, these short poems are the precursors of haiku, called waka poems How cold the faceof the morning moon Since we partednothing is so miserableas the approaching dawn Mibu no TadamineThe natural world transformed into dreamy images and paintings of the imagination these poems enter the reader s heart and linger there for as long as he wishes to follow the poet s feelings.As in the poems of Tales of Ise the reader of the English translation is left on the surface of the true interpretation as the translation can only transmit the meanings as far as the English language permits and evenso, as far as the Ancient Japanese culture can compare to the modern Western culture.The classic collection of ancient Japan is based on the three major works of Tales of Ise and The Tale of Genji and the collection of One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each, I must admit that preference remains with the Tale of Genji It is by far the easiest to read and enjoy It is written in prose, and abandonedly developed in depth Unforgettable indeed and well worth a reread.There is so much to appreciate that the reader can hardly discover all at once This anthology is a testimony of the universality of poetry The collection spans six hundred years and was written by one hundred different poets from a wide range of professions yet, there is a cohesion and unity to the anthology The poems are arranged chronologically, from the first poem composed in the seventh century to the last poems composed during the thirteenth century As a reader who is a product of Western civilization and who lives in the 21st century, I was nevertheless moved by This anthology is a testimony of the universality of poetry The collection spans six hundred years and was written by one hundred different poets from a wide range of professions yet, there is a cohesion and unity to the anthology The poems are arranged chronologically, from the first poem composed in the seventh century to the last poems composed during the thirteenth century As a reader who is a product of Western civilization and who lives in the 21st century, I was nevertheless moved by the poems, which originate in an ancient and vastly different culture than mine The anthology is a collection of one hundred poems by one hundred Japanese poets the compilation was made in the thirteenth century That alone makes this collection of poems a fascinating read The second reason that drew me to this collection is that the poems are very well known in Japan and many of the poems are memorized by the Japanese The poems capture a snapshot of time and emotion, covering chirping crickets, cold autumn winds, and snow covered mountains, to the despair of unrequited love, the anticipation of death, and the wistful reflections of old age What I love about Japanese poetry in general is the sense of a momentary glimpse of eternity it conveys There are moments in our lives when we stop to see the silver moon, or listen to the song of an oriel, or watch an autumn leaf tumble to the ground During moments like these I feel like I am truly living in the present, not planning for the future of what comes next or what needs to be done or regretting would I should have done or what I did in the past These moments are absolutely present and therefore fleeting Yet in my heart there stirs a feeling of and a longing for eternity In our present cacophonous culture of incessant distractions and diversions, these moments are increasingly rare Japanese poetry, especially haiku, seems to affect this sense of the beauty of the present in me An example of a poem from the anthologyHow cold the autumn wind and drearNow blowing down Mt Yoshino,And somewhere in the town I hearThe sound of beating linen go Masatsune NB The poems are very short, and although they are Japanese in origin, they are not haiku They have been translated into English by a Japanese writer, and an attempt to convey English rhythm and rhyme is not entirely successful I would have preferred aliteral translation In the 13th century CE, a nobleman named Teika of the Fujiwara clan compiled an anthology of 100 poems, each by a different poet, the Hyakunin Isshu This volume wasn t unique, but as Larry Hammer notes in his foreward, this particular collection has become so famous over the years that any time someone refers to the Hyakunin Isshu, they mean this one Anyone who has watched much anime may have seen a memory card game called karuta being played on New Year s Day That card game is based on this In the 13th century CE, a nobleman named Teika of the Fujiwara clan compiled an anthology of 100 poems, each by a different poet, the Hyakunin Isshu This volume wasn t unique, but as Larry Hammer notes in his foreward, this particular collection has become so famous over the years that any time someone refers to the Hyakunin Isshu, they mean this one Anyone who has watched much anime may have seen a memory card game called karuta being played on New Year s Day That card game is based on this compilation, which shows just how well the anthology has survived in Japan s popular culture down to the modern age.Among the nobility, poems werethan entertainment or expression, but a very important form of communication Lovers would write poems to their intendeds and they answer in the same manner Poems were written to flatter, to ask for favors, to defend oneself against slanders, to reminisce, toor less gently turn aside unwelcome attentions, or pretty much any communication that required taste, propriety and delicacy I m no poet, nor do I pretend to grasp the esthetics of traditional Japanese poetry waka which make up this volume I will say that even someone with a superficial knowledge of the subject can appreciate the intelligence, the skill and the wit that are so much a part of the form Poems were full of puns, in jokes, classical allusions, double meanings, and deliberate ambiguity There s a playfulness in traditional Japanese poetry that comes through even in translation, though the skill and intent of the translator can make a big difference.I think Hammer has done an excellent job, not only in the translation itself, but in the poem notes that tell us who the poet was and the context of the poem s creation if known, which adds so much to the reader s appreciation As someone fascinated by process in general, I also enjoyed Hammer s explanations of the choices he made, as choices must always be made in rendering a poem in another language into modern English Someone comparing this volume to other translations can agree or disagree with his renderings, but at least you would know why he did what he did and didn t do something else Strictly as an interested amateur, I found it all fascinating reading.I d consider this a very good introductory volume of the Hyakunin Isshu for anyone curious about Japanese traditional poetry The book was marred by a few typos in the text, but not so many as to interfere with reading Highly recommended I won this book through Goodreads and I must say I quite enjoy it Blue Flute s One Hundred Leaves starts with a brief introduction to Japanese poetry and explains how this volume came to be This introduction, though sparse, is informative and prepares you to better understand Japanese poetry Next come the actual poems Each one is presented first in English, then we get the Japanese Kanji and a transliteration It is interesting to see where the poems came from and I find the characters beaut I won this book through Goodreads and I must say I quite enjoy it Blue Flute s One Hundred Leaves starts with a brief introduction to Japanese poetry and explains how this volume came to be This introduction, though sparse, is informative and prepares you to better understand Japanese poetry Next come the actual poems Each one is presented first in English, then we get the Japanese Kanji and a transliteration It is interesting to see where the poems came from and I find the characters beautiful as well Lastly, there are literary notes that help with the interpretation of the poem These literary notes come in very handy They provide better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the poem really help in appreciating them.Each poem has an accompanying piece of artwork that depicts its theme They are wonderfully matched, some combinations seeming as though one was made for the other Unfortunately, the artwork is also where we hit the first real drawback the art is not named, the artist is not mentioned The book is not in color, and I would like to look up full color versions That s made very hard, though, when I don t have a name to search with The fact that the book is in black and white in the first place is unfortunate, but I knew that it would be and I can forgive that As for the actual poetry, I can flip to any page and find an interesting poem Some I contemplatethan others There are those that I like instantly, and those that take a bit longer to appeal to me Others never really leave much of an impression There s bound to be something for everyone though Recommended for anyone interested in Japanese culture and fans of poetry in general Nice rendition for a novice reader of Japanese poetry Educational about the history of the Hyakunin Isshu without being pretentious Each page consists of a beautiful Japanese portrait on the left page and the text on the right page The art is wonderfully enhanced, although the book would have been nicer in color The text on each right page was laid out in a diamond pattern At the top was the title followed by the author s English translation Centered left was the original Japanese calligra Nice rendition for a novice reader of Japanese poetry Educational about the history of the Hyakunin Isshu without being pretentious Each page consists of a beautiful Japanese portrait on the left page and the text on the right page The art is wonderfully enhanced, although the book would have been nicer in color The text on each right page was laid out in a diamond pattern At the top was the title followed by the author s English translation Centered left was the original Japanese calligraphy and centered right was the phonetic pronunciation of the Japanese This was a particularly nice touch after reading about the poems meter of 5 7 5 7 7, but not seeing that in the English Saying it in Japanese added a layer of beauty I would have otherwise missed.At the bottom was the notes pertaining to the translation, many times demonsrating how difficult literal translations can be, when a single symbol can have multiple meanings.I was not happy with the interpretations of only some of the poems The author offered interpretations of the first three poems, but then gave nothing for the fourth and fifth Six through fifteen are explained, but seventeen is without explanation There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to how the author chose which poems to interpret Kakinomoto no HitomaroOh, the foot drawn trailOf the mountain pheasant s tailDrooped like down curved branch Through this long, long dragging nightMust I lie in bed alone Ono no KomachiColor of the flowerHas already faded away,While in idle thoughtsMy life passes vainly by,As I watch the long rains fall Minamoto no ToruLike Michinoku printsOf the tangled leaves of ferns,It is because of youThat I have become confused But my love for you remains Ariwara no YukihiraThough we are parted,If Kakinomoto no HitomaroOh, the foot drawn trailOf the mountain pheasant s tailDrooped like down curved branch Through this long, long dragging nightMust I lie in bed alone Ono no KomachiColor of the flowerHas already faded away,While in idle thoughtsMy life passes vainly by,As I watch the long rains fall Minamoto no ToruLike Michinoku printsOf the tangled leaves of ferns,It is because of youThat I have become confused But my love for you remains Ariwara no YukihiraThough we are parted,If on Mount Inaba s peakI should hear the soundOf the pine trees growing there,I ll come back again to you Mibu no TadamineLike the morning moon,Cold, unpitying was my love.And since we parted,I dislike nothing so muchAs the breaking light of day Fujiwara no OkikazeWho is still aliveWhen I have grown so oldThat I can call my friends Even Takasago s pines No longer offer comfort Minamoto no HitoshiBamboo growingAmong the tangled reedsLike my hidden love But it is too much to bearThat I still love her so Sone no YoshitadaLike a marinerSailing over Yura s straitWith his rudder gone Where, over the deep of love,The end lies, I do not know Fujiwara no MichimasaIs there any wayExcept by a messengerTo send these words to you If I could, I d come to youTo say goodbye forever Oe no MasafusaOn that far mountainOn the slope below the peakCherries are in flower.Oh, let the mountain mistsNot arise to hide the scene Lady HorikawaIs it foreverThat he hopes our love will last He did not answer.And now my daylight thoughtsAre as tangled as my black hair Lady SanukiLike a rock at sea,At ebb tide hidden from view,Is my tear drenched sleeve Never for a moment dry,And no one knows it is there Fujiwara no KintsuneNot the snow of flowers,That the hurrying wild wind whirlsRound the garden court What withers and falls awayIn this place is I myself Emperor JuntokuIn this ancient house,Paved with a hundred stones,Ferns grow in the eaves But numerous as they are,My old memories are Compiled in the th century, the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu is one of Japan s most quoted and illustrated works The text is an anthology ofwaka poems, each written by a different poet from the th century to the middle of the th century

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