(photo by Ceridwen)
Tomorrow, I will fight my daughter in Hyakunin-isshu Karuta battle.
Hyakunin-isshu is an anthology of 100 tanka by 100 authors. Tanka is a style of Japanese poem which consists of 31 syllables. "Hyakunin" means 100 people, and "Isshu" means one tanka. So, Hyakunin-Isshu means 100 poets with one tanka each. Those poems were written from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries.
Hyakunin-Isshu Karuta is a Karuta game in which players take a card as fast as they can, after "Yomite" or a reader reads out one of the poems. On the cards, only the second halves of the poems were written, so, you have to learn all the poems by heart.
In Budapest Japanese School where my kids study, they hold annual Hyakunin Isshu Karuta tournament. They use only 50 tankas every year, but they switch the tankas every year. So, If you study in this school for two years, you will learn all the 100 tankas. Last year, they chose from the first tanka to 50th tanka, so they are going to choose from the 51st to the 100th this year.
My daughter is really into this game, so I wanted to help her to get used to it. I am not going to take a part in the tournament in her school, of course, but she can practice with me and my wife at home.
Actually, my daughter is much better than I, so, I have given up from the 51st to the 75th, and decided to concentrate from the 76th to the 100th only. I asked my wife to learn from the 51st to the 75th. Tomorrow, I make a team with my wife, and confront my daughter. I'm not sure if we can win, but we will do our best.