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 Japanese Poetry 01

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Posts : 75
Join date : 2010-05-19
Location : Observatory

PostSubject: Japanese Poetry 01   Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:22 pm

More poetry information for those interested.


The Heian period (平安時代, へいあんじだい) [794 - 1185] is well known for its literature; most notably The Tale of Genji (源氏物語, げんじ の ものがたり) by Murasaki Shikibu and The Pillow Book (枕草子, まくら の そうし) by Sei Shōnagon. The poem Iroha (伊呂波, いろは) is thought to have been written during the Heian period.

The Iroha is an important poem not just because it is a pangram of Japanese language at the time but because it was used as an ordering system before the Gojūon (五十音, ごじゅうおん) system came into use during the Meiji period (明治時代, めいじじだい) [1868 – 1912]. Although the Gojūon predates the Iroha, the Iroha is considered to be ‘old fashioned’.

Below is the poem. The first line of kana and romaji were used during the Heian period. The kana and romaji in parentheses are what is used today. The English at the bottom is the translation.

I ro ha ni ho he to
(Iro wa nioedo)
Even the blooming flowers

chi ri nu ru wo
(chirinuru o)
Will eventually fade

wa ka yo ta re so
(waga yo tare zo)
Even our world

tsu ne na ra mu
(tsune naran)
Is not eternal

u wi no o ku ya ma
(ui no okuyama)
The deep mountains of vanity

ke fu ko e te
(kyō koete)
Cross them today

a sa ki yu me mi shi
(asaki yume miji)
And superficial dreams

we hi mo se su
(ei mo sezu)
Shall no longer delude you.

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