Read One Hundred Leaves: A new annotated translation of the Hyakunin Isshu by Fujiwara no Teika Blue Flute Online


The Hyakunin Isshu is a poetry anthology beloved by generations of Japanese since it was compiled in the 13th century. Many Japanese know the poems by heart as a result of playing the popular card game version of the anthology. Collecting one poem each from one hundred poets living from the 7th century to the 13th century, the book covers a wide array of themes and personaThe Hyakunin Isshu is a poetry anthology beloved by generations of Japanese since it was compiled in the 13th century. Many Japanese know the poems by heart as a result of playing the popular card game version of the anthology. Collecting one poem each from one hundred poets living from the 7th century to the 13th century, the book covers a wide array of themes and personal styles....

Title : One Hundred Leaves: A new annotated translation of the Hyakunin Isshu
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781470143473
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 214 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

One Hundred Leaves: A new annotated translation of the Hyakunin Isshu Reviews

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    2019-05-25 09:01

    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 or more in 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 puts more effort 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 upon more universal 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 hateLike 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 I...did...that. I mean, PLEASE, do you honestly think I talk to myself? Psssh. Huhuh. Whew...

  • Guido
    2019-05-28 06:01

    Cento poesie di cento poeti diversi: un'antologia dedicata a un'epoca, alle sue generazioni e alla sua cultura, che non celebra gli individui ma l'insieme, la comunità. Colpisce soprattutto la ricchezza di questa polifonia: gli autori, presentati in ordine cronologico, sono legati tra loro da rapporti di amicizia, di parentela, da alleanze o rivalità politiche: imperatori, imperatrici, principi e loro funzionari; madri e figlie, zii e nipoti, maestri e allievi, monaci, pittrici - un intreccio di ruoli piacevolmente teatrale. Per molte di queste persone la poesia era un utile strumento di comunicazione; così il lettore assiste, seppure per brevissimi istanti (le cento poesie appartengono tutte alla tradizione del tanka: cinque versi ciascuna) a dialoghi tra amanti delusi o tra rivali in competizione per il potere. Questa raccolta risale al XIII secolo; in seguito molti provarono a crearne di simili, imitandone la struttura. Una lettura ricchissima, e molto suggestiva.

  • Eadweard
    2019-05-26 09:06

    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 more

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-05-27 06:17

    The back of this elegant little booklet says: Around 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.

  • Richard
    2019-06-11 04:12

    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 were more than 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, to more or 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.

  • Ixachel
    2019-06-06 03:14

    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 contemplate more than 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.

  • Travelling Sunny
    2019-06-02 05:57

    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.

  • Preili Pipar
    2019-06-04 07:14

    Seda raamatut lugedes tekki soov ja tahtmine, et Eesti luuletustest võiks olla ka selline kogumik. Võimalik, et selline kogumik juba on olemas, aga on sellisel juhul minust mööda läinud. Antud raamatu puhul meeldis väga tõlkija eessõna, mis selgitas Jaapani luule olemust ning kuidas seda lugeda tuleks. Samuti on iga luuletuse juures lühike selgitus, mida luuletusega on tahetud öelda. Selles võtmes on Eesti luuletajate luuletused ikka pigem selged ja arusaadavad :) Selliseid kaksipidiseid või kaudselt öeldut esineb vähem. Samas see tegi luuletused just ka huvitavaks. Ja Eesti mõistel pole need luuletused klassikalised kohe kindlasti.Stiilinäide:Ta on armunud,levivad juba jutud -kuigi see tunnemu südames salajaalles hiljuti tärkas.

  • Bjorn Larsen
    2019-06-19 03:58

    Just Read: A Hundred Verses from Old Japan - Trans. William Porter, 1909For many of us in the West, Japanese poetry equals haiku, full stop. We learned about haiku in grade school and tried our hand at the 5, 7, 5 syllable form, and then moved back to English rhyming or at least rhythmic poetry. “A Hundred Verses from Old Japan” is a collection of a different type of Japanese poetry, waka, that are typically slightly longer and use a 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 form. For English speakers, it’s syllables that count, and haiku becomes a mildly amusing language game without lasting impact. For Japanese speakers (I’m sadly not one), the form has incredible richness and depth, mostly relating to so called “hanging words” that have ambiguous or double meanings based in homophony or similarity of written characters and open delicious and surprising avenues of meaning from seemingly simple passages. Unfortunately, these intricacies are almost inevitably “lost in translation:” the chances of two languages having corresponding sets of words that sound the same is almost nil. Translating waka can be done, but what often happens is that a Western audience gets the first layer of the poem, the picturesque, melancholy still life, and loses the second “through the ice” layer of emotional depth. Which is why different translational attempts deserve credit for their efforts at a nearly impossible task.“A Hundred Verses from Old Japan” is a translation of the Japanese classic, the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, which might be more literally translated as “One hundred people, one verse each.” The collection was first compiled in about 1200 by Fujiwara No Teika, a man of letters who lived in 12th century Kyoto. His collection gathered verses of waka attributed to famous persons: emperors, courtiers, buddhist priests, and court ladies of the Heian period. The composition of poetry was an essential skill in Japanese high society of the day. Anyone who was anyone could pen a clever or beautiful verse, and one’s social status often rose or fell based on the quality of one’s poems. Literacy was key: to compose well one had to be familiar with and able to allude to the classics of the form, much the way 19th century British poets used what seems to moderns a minute understanding of classical greek and roman mythology to amplify the emotional force of their verse. This period in Japanese history saw extremes of cultural sophistication undreamt of in the West: romances and court positions were won and lost depending on the way that one phrased a verse, tied a kimono or folded the paper about a gift. Keep in mind that European culture of this age was busy culminating in the Crusades. I include a sample of Porter’s rendering of the poet Akahito Yamabe to give a sense of this particular translation:I started off along the shore, the seashore at Tago,And saw the white and glist’ning peakOf Fuji all aglowThrough falling flakes of snow.Rhyming and metered translations of Japanese poetry have long been out of vogue. My favourite translations of my favourite haiku and waka (Matsuo Basho’s “Narrow Road to the Interior”) are all presently in blank verse, which lends a certain starkness, and allows for more faithful translation of at least the first layer of the poem. I think of the Paul Simon song “words that tear and strain to rhyme” when I think of the work of Porter’s sort of translation. Yet the verses, as you can tell, are not unlovely. Not speaking Japanese, I want to believe that the essence of what the poet wanted to describe, the juxtaposition of image and experience, remains somewhat intact. The act of translation creates a new work, based on the original: a simulacrum of the source material, valuable because it is now accessible to speakers of the new language. It goes without saying that some things are, proverbially, lost in the translation, however sometimes things are added, or at least created. I believe Porter does an admirable job of interpreting his source material, and in the process creates something new and occasionally beautiful.I don’t doubt that a reading of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu in Japanese would be a different experience entirely than what’s available to us. I still prefer my translations to be blank verse, faithful and footnoted, but I must admit that Porter’s translations still capture some essence of “mono no aware,” one of the reasons that I love Japanese poetry:The stormy winds of yesterdayThe maple branches shook;And see! The mass of crimson leavesHas lodged within that nook,And choked the mountain brook.The full text including the illustrations that accompanied Porter’s translations are available in the public domain now at Read one verse, breathe it in, hear the brook and see the leaves, and open your eyes again… There are certainly lesser books that you could keep on your bedside table.Final Grade: B+, out of melancholy for my eternal separation from the original.

  • Mart
    2019-06-06 09:03

    #17千早ぶる 神代もきかず 龍田川 からくれないに 水くくるとはМоже да се каже, че имам специално отношение към гореспоменатия текст. Всеки път като го зачета и в главата ми звучи не моят монотонен глас, а онова напевно произношение, характерно за турнирите по карута в Япония. Може да съм попрекалила с 「ちはやふる」, но въпреки това имам усещането, че не чак толкова зле да си полуобсебен от нещо или да имаш разни гласове в главата си, от които няма оттърване.Като цяло съм фен на хайку. Тук обаче имаме танка, а танка именно е така да се каже майката на хайкуто. Понякога е добре да се задълбаем в историята, както в този случай, но по принцип предпочитам да чета, излизайки изцяло от глупавия исторически контекст, защото практически историите, които са разказани не зависят от нищо - те са просто истории, които авторът е искал да разкаже. Та, танка започва фактически с едно хайку в класическото 5-7-5 и продължава с още два стиха 7-7. Всичко е с една изключително строга форма - винаги е 5-7-5-7-7. Иначе няма да е танка. :)За мен лично хайкуто звучи много компактно - с малко думи се предава една картина, дори едно чувство, докато при танка сякаш 17 срички не стигат да се изрази всичко и се получава тази необходимост от допълнителен набор от думи, които да допълнят онова, което фактически липсва или е останало недоизказано в 5-7-5. Трудно е да се опише. Поезията винаги е трудна и затова не всеки може да я чете, камо ли да я пише. Аз лично съм много взискателна към поезията си - имам нужда да усетя онова странно присвиване в гърдите, за да си кажа: "Това е прекрасно".И като финал да споделя нещо, което няма нищо общо със стоте поеми, но което лично на мен ми ляга много на сърце:難波津に 咲くやこの花 冬ごもり 今は春べと 咲くやこの花Малко превод на английски: In Naniwa Bay, now the flowers are blossoming. After lying dormant all winter, now the spring has come and those flowers are blossoming.

  • Amaya
    2019-06-25 06:21

    I won this book as a GoodReads Giveaway.Physically, this book does have a nice cover and the dimensions of it aren't very small, which is definitely nice.This is a great poetry book for someone who wants to learn the japanese language(both verbal and written). The book is compiled of short poems with a drawing for each poem as well. The unique thing that I loved about this book is that it shows you the translation of each poem in both english and japanese. It also shows you how the poems are written in original japanese with the use of symbols.The author and artist did a great job on this book!

  • Ala'a
    2019-05-30 05:54

    The kind of poetry for vulnerable and sensitive people. Capturing images in very view words, and successfully delivering the exact situation on both, physical and emotional level. The amount of love for nature and rural life reminded me of the Romantic Poets. Sakura and the moon are their only friends, and they hear the mourns of a sad dear in the dead of the night. Reading and memorizing the The Hyakunin-isshu in the original Japanese script serves as a motivation for me to keep on studying this amazingly poetical language. Worthy of more than five stars.

  • Kelly Knapp
    2019-06-04 09:16

    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!

  • Imee Alfonso
    2019-05-26 04:18

    It would be so arrogant of me to write a critique other than how much I love the poems and how much I appreciate the English translation.I have some favorites, the Ai mite no (I have found my love), for one, because it starts with a homophone of my name and the meaning is especially romantic.I discovered the anthology from an anime/manga, and I was amazed at how diverse the poets are. From Emperors to Courtesans to Ordinary people and how up until today, their feelings still reach us.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-06-06 09:55

    The translations are so far removed from the original that one wonders if the translator actually knew any Japanese. Go for one of the many, many other translations of the same texts out there, such as Joshua Mostow's heavily annotated _Pictures of the Heart_ from University of Hawaii Press instead.

  • G. Derek Adams
    2019-05-29 07:15

    Good translators are not always good poets. Without malice, but poems rendered inert all the same.Some good historical background on each poem along with literal translation and original Japanese.

  • أسماء
    2019-05-29 06:05

    I'd never get tired of reading these fascinating poems!!

  • Jeremy Johnston
    2019-06-04 02:15

    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 a more literal translation.

  • Amanda
    2019-06-01 10:07

    I won this from a First Reads giveaway. I've been trying to branch out into different genres some, and I like poetry, so I decided to enter. Since I won, I feel obligated to finish the book and write a review. However, I started it about four months ago, and have only read about half of the poems. There are a couple that I liked, but most of the rest are just not what I'm used to when it comes to poetry, and so I am having a hard time getting into the reading. One thing I wish the book would explain more is the game that is played that goes along with the poems. Reading them, I can't figure what kind of game would come from these. It would be nice to know a bit more about that. (8/16/12)...After writing that brief review about a week ago, I sat down and finished the book. I found that I enjoyed many more of the poems in the last half of the book than I did in the first half. I am definitely glad I pushed on through the ones I found less interesting. Overall, I believe I enjoyed it more by taking my time going through the poems instead of flying through them like I would a novel. While they are short, they have a complexity to them. And despite being hundreds of years old, I found that the feelings and subject matter in quite a few of the poems were still relevant today. One that stood out to me was "If it's my fate" by Mother of Gido Sanshi (#54):"If it's my fateThat you will find it hardTo remember me, I wish my lifeRestricted to today."Also, the author was kind enough to send me a message explaining the card game that I was curious about. If anyone else is interested in learning more about it, check out

  • Loveliest Evaris
    2019-05-27 04:03

    I won this in the GoodReads giveaway.This book was okay. It is a collection of haikus from Hyakunin Isshu .There is a very brief introduction and explanation of how haikus or tanka are written, as well as the origins of Hyakunin Isshu, who wrote it, time period, etc. as well as explaining that haikus and tanka are written in a special Japanese-y way. That is, lots of characters are read different ways.I love Japanese culture, but as days go by I am becoming quickly frustrated by the language. Why oh why must they do the whole, "It's written like this kanji, but spelled THIS way, and pronounced THIS way!! :D " Why, Japanese people... Why? My head hurts! Cultural and linguistic frustrations aside, this was a fair book.I was deeply confused by the "Literal Notes" at first, because it was written fairly weird, but by poem 25 I realized that it was written EXACTLY as the Japanese had written it, if you were to translate it without rearranging anything to make it grammatically correct.The poems were nice, but I was more distracted by my own personal challenge of ,"How many Japanese words and kanji can I identify?" ... The most I correctly labelled off the top of my head with the translation for guidance is 7... Man , I wish I knew what the kanji for 'shi' was!! A good staple for haiku and tanka lovers. I enjoyed the poems to an extent, but not as a connoussieur (sp?) of poems. Just a peruser of this book (the word 'peruse' does not actually mean 'skim or flip through' but it means 'read extensively' ).. and I did peruse this book, but mostly to crack the secret kanji.

  • Gertrude & Victoria
    2019-06-05 03:15

    A Hundred Versus from Old Japan, for what it is, which is a hundred poems from old Japan, is a vaguely interesting collection. This book is for the literary Japanophile. If you have an interest in the old poetry of Heian or wish to know more about the history of that time through verse, this might be worthwhile.Translations of this kind are problematic to say the least for a whole variety of reasons. William Porter does an admirable job translating the poetry from Old Japanese into an accessible, modern English. This book is laid out in orderly fashion; and an useful introduction is provided.Every verse takes up two pages. Starting on the left-hand page, at the top, is the romanization (romaji) of the poem; immediately below is a beautiful illustration depicting the scene and essence of the poem; and underneath the illustration, at the bottom, is the Old Japanese in its original script.On the right-hand page, at the top, is the poem in English translation; and finally, below that, in the middle of the page, is some background information, either about the poem itself, or the poet, or both. In some cases, addtional information is given. (In just a few cases there is no information whatsoever.)Although there were several verses that stood out, one of my favorites in this collection was: The Heir-Apparent Motoyoshi. I chose this poem for two reasons: (1) its idea of precious love and eternal longing resonated within; (2) its simple, but beautiful phrasing moved me.We met but for a moment, andI'm wretched as before;The tide shall measure out my life,Unless I see once moreThe maid, whom I adore.

  • Mary
    2019-06-21 09:05

    I am so happy that I won a copy of this book through Goodread's Firstreads Giveaway. I majored in Asian Studies and minored in Japanese in college, so I'm familiar with the language, poetry, and artwork, though I've never read the Hyakunin Isshu before. I particularly liked the format of the book. Each poem is accompanied by artwork on the left page, and the right page has the translation in English, the poem in the original Japanese (kanji and hiragana), the poem in romanji (English letters to allow non-Japanese readers to pronounce the words in Japanese), a literal translation, and most also include translation notes. The notes were very helpful as they introduced cultural aspects that Western readers may not know, and explained a few of the additional translations and allusions of the poems. Even though I have a black and white copy the artwork was wonderful. Each poem is accompanied by a woodblock print by one of three popular artists from the Utagawa school, Hiroshige, Kunisada, and Kuniyoshi. The pictures were well-matched to the poems, though I would definitely recommend trying to look up the pictures in color, as the color of woodblock prints really adds to the experience. I thought this book could have been improved by adding a simple pronunciation chart in the introduction to aid non-Japanese speakers and better references to the artwork (artist, title, date, etc) for each print, but overall I thought this was a great book.

  • Haley Wood
    2019-06-21 04:54

    I received this book as a first-reads giveaway. I tend to like Japanese literature of this era, although I am much more familiar with the novels of the time, including novels which include this type of poetry. I was excited to learn about the courtly poetry a bit more. The poems are in a singular form and I loved the art that went alongside them. The translation seemed fluid, although not speaking Japanese I can't really speak too much on that point. My main disappointment is that the notes on the poems were very uneven. I would have liked a few sentence of biography on each author and more background on the context of each poem rather then any interpretive points. The author also was repetitive on certain conventions of the poem. Because many were so similar, a short note in the introduction for instance on the meaning of wet sleeves as sadness would have sufficed and there would be no need to mention it when it came up in each poem. This is a short read, but I can see it as being one I'll pull out every once in a while and looking as the beautiful art and the short, but sweet poems.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-06-03 05:00

    This is a quite creative, interesting rendition of the Hyakunin isshu. The author has done some clever things with diction and orthography to turn this collection of poems, compiled in the 13th century, into modern poems for the 21st century. His readings are sometimes expansive -- in other words, he includes more information than is in the original classical Japanese -- but he is never completely all out of the ball park. People who don't want to look upon such old literature as "modern" might not find this the best translation for them. Look perhaps at the complete translations in Steven Carter's anthology _Traditional Japanese Poetry_ or Joshua Mostow's heavily annotated _Pictures of the Heart_. Still, if one wants to experience the Hyakunin isshu as modern poems that are alive and speak directly to readers, then this might be an excellent introduction. Most of the translations work very nicely as poems in their own right. McMillan has breathed life into this 13th century collection.

  • Zahra
    2019-05-28 06:10

    The fact that poetry from the 12th century can conjure up such stunning imagery is pretty wild. It's like, this is the power of literature, the ability to firmly convey ideas and cultural concepts throughout the ages. Western poetry can tend to get bogged down in too much excessive wordplay , so much so that it hinders the execution itself. (I still love you, Keats!) However Japanese and Chinese poetry holds a great knack for using simple lines and turning them into an intricate picture. This 'economy' of words may seem stark at first glance, however it's that very character of not using verbose language that lends more meaning to what is left on the page. My personal favourites are numbers 17, 25, 29, 37, 87 and 89. Also the stylised calligraphy, Hiragana and Kanji additions make this a good bound volume for students of language. *Peter McMillan's intro on the art of translation also definitely worth a peruse over.

  • Jennifer Tran
    2019-06-06 03:55

    I won this from a Goodreads First reads giveaway. I received it in the mail today. It was a really quick read.First of all, this is a book that consists of poems by different poets. All of the poems have the same format which is called tanka. There are 100 poems, hence the name One Hundred Leaves. Each poem contains the original japanese, the translation, direct translation as well as pronunciation.Some poems have a short summary explaining further information about the subject of the poem but some does not. Each poem takes up 2 pages. 1 page being the poems and the contents listed above and page 2 being a image to match with the poem. I suggest reading this in a quiet area or perhaps in nature to fully appreciate this anthology. My personal favorite was poem number 48 called "Rocks engulfed". Each poem is unique and different it's better to read it for yourself! I really enjoyed the images as well as the poems.

  • Christine
    2019-06-18 10:04

    It's nice to know that the themes commonly used in poetry haven't changed in 1500 years. Most of these poems were about love or loss, but at a different emotional level of today's poems. They were short poems, so in the few lines they really packed in everything. I enjoyed how Blue Flute put not only the English translation, but the original text, how to sound it out, and the translation notes. A lot of the poems were accompanied by an explanation of some of the symbolism. For example, wet sleeves are mentioned in a lot of these. Had Blue Flute not explained it, it probably would have taken quite a few poems for me to understand it. I also thought it interesting that so many Emperors wrote poetry. Had I not won this through a Goodreads giveaway, I probably wouldn't have explored the world of Japanese poetry. It was pretty cool though, so I'm glad I won.

  • Susan
    2019-06-13 02:59

    If you enjoy poetry you should pick up this book. Author Blue Flute provides just enough information about Japanese history and the history of these specific poems to get you hooked, then translates each poem. What was the most fun for me was that (in most cases) the author provides an explanation regarding the interpretation, and for all of these short poems, the literal translation, the poem in Japanese, and the pronunciation of the poem in Japanese. Providing the pronunciation of each poem in Japanese allowed me to "sound out" the poems, and providing explanations regarding the interpretations allowed me to see that other meanings were possible. The author's great attention to detail allowed me to thoroughly enjoy this book!Note: This book was received for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  • Gryffin
    2019-05-30 04:05

    I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway. The book consisted of the translated poem, actual Japanese version, Japanese pronunciation, the literal meaning, a black and white illustration, and notes from the author. The poems were well translated, and I liked how the author added his thoughts of the meaning of the poem and things about the poem. I think it would have been nice to have background information (if there was any) of the author in all or most of the poems, and a little more annotating. But, overall, I would still recommend this book for anyone interested in poetry or Japanese culture, or just about anyone who wants to try it.

  • Jackie
    2019-05-31 10:14

    I won this book from Goodreads First Reads. What I have always liked most about poetry is the layers of meaning you can gather from one work. These Japanese poems are perfect for that because there are multiple meanings behind many of the words giving the poems a depth many other works could never achieve. The translator does a great job of helping us break down the poems, although I think that if I knew how to read Japanese I would be even more enthralled. Translating them to English definitely takes away from the impact they would have had. All in all I would recommend this book for anyone interested in Japanese culture or anyone who is a poetry buff.