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Hyakunin Isshu Uta Karuta (100 Poems by 100 Poets)

These are cards from a hand-painted Japanese woodcut pack that was presumably produced in the second half of the 19th century.

The pack originally consisted of 100 poet cards and 100 text cards, but only twelve of each have come to my collection. The poet cards show a Japanese poet and one of his famous poems. The last two lines of the poem are on a text card. The game played with these cards is a matching game: you have to find the matching text card when the poem is read from the poet card.

As I cannot read Japanese, I am not at all sure that the text cards I show match the poet card they come with, and I am not even sure that the text cards are not upside down. What I am pretty sure about is that the poet cards are the numbers 59, 28, 16, 93 (first scan), 100, 8, 22, 47 (second scan), and 87, 45, 79, 10 (third scan).

I recently got another two pairs from the same antique dealer as the others, and they that are obviously from the same pack These are the numbers 91 and 96, shown in the fourth scan.

You can find more information on the poets and poems on the Japanese Text Initiative pages. That is where I compared my cards to decide about the numbers and to read the poems.


© Peter Endebrock, 02 June 2002