Gather around, classic culture fans!
The 2021 Waka Sho is a place where lovers of a wide range of classical culture can meet and exchange ideas, from waka poetry such as the Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poems) and the Imperial Anthology, to classical literature such as the Tales of the Genji and Heike, to calligraphy, tea ceremonies, and other art forms.
By the way, what is the reason for enjoying such old-fashioned literature and arts in this day and age? Those who are involved in tea ceremony and other art forms will find their ideal in the heart of waka poetry. Those who are engaged in modern tanka and haiku may find their true meaning in waka. Of course, waka can also help you to cultivate a heart that appreciates the four seasons and nature in Japan. Waka is a cornerstone of Japanese culture and thought that can be understood even today.
However, I would like you to enjoy Waka purely as a form of modern entertainment. I would like you to gather together with other people who also love waka and classics, and enjoy the adult exchange of ideas and ideas, with waka as a side dish of classical culture.
From the middle of the Edo period to the Meiji period, there were many “literati and artists” in Japan, not only from the upper classes. These were people who admired the classics and enjoyed the elegance of poetry, calligraphy, and painting. The classics were a bond that brought adults together and brought them closer together. Today, however, although the source of the word “2025” is the Manyoshu, there are very few people who enjoy the classics with an educated mind. Looking around, all we see are adults who are playing simple games in solitude.
We, the “Reiwa Waka Sho” are working to bring a ray of light into this dark country through the classical art of waka poetry. Let us all call ourselves literati and artists of the “Reiwa” school, and let us enjoy the sincerity of elegance together.
The transition of the “waka poem anthology” and the horizon to which the Reiwa Waka Dokoro Poetry Anthology” aspires.
First, please see the chart below, which roughly organizes the transition of Japanese poetry.
Then, I will list three main points as I understand them.
Japanese poetry and literature began with Manyoshu and Kokin Waka Shu, and reached its peak with Matsuo Basho in the Genroku period (Sarumino, also known as Kokin Shu of haikai).
After the Meiji period, poetry and literature came to be based on “sketching,” with the Manyoshu as its ideal. This has continued to the present day.
Waka, the main stream of the poetic tradition that originated in the Kokin Wakashu, has long been blank or even extinct.
Now, there are many people who are still familiar with tanka and haiku, which are short poem-type literature, even though they have passed their peak, because of their easy-to-access nature.
However, (I must say that this is just my personal opinion), I am not attracted to these modern tanka and haiku literature. If anything, modern tanka is heavy and humid, a kind of “pickle stone” in weight, and I am put off by its attitude of seeking sympathy. Haiku, on the other hand, is extremely light, but without seasonal words, it would be no different from willow without its “ika-somen” (squid somen), which is thin and stringless. Where on earth did Basho go to reach the heights he did?
I prefer “waka” poetry, which is the mainstream of the poetic tradition. It has a solid plot and a good texture, and satisfies the intellectual curiosity of those who love literature and art. But on the other hand, it is also true that this “plot” was too hard and was shunned by modern people.
But poetry evolves and develops. Above all, we are Japanese living today who have come to know “Tamayoshu” and “Basho”. We can express everyday scenery as softly as we like without changing the “heart” of waka.
Classical waka poetry will evolve again in the future. It will evolve gracefully and beautifully like a white kite flying in the blue sky.
We, the members of the 2021 Waka Poetry Academy, hereby declare that we will once again aim at the highest level of poetry.
Waka DJ Ucchi’s works
Radio Waka Mania is now available!
This is a program that plays around with “waka”, the royal road of Japanese culture, as a hilarious entertainment. The program includes stories about “snow, moon and flowers” and “love” in spring, summer, fall and winter, etc. It will make you smile and laugh, and also be a little bit informative. Waka DJ Ucchi will provide easy-to-understand explanations (including delusions), and Rocco, an English teacher of Japanese culture, will provide sharp insights.