Let’s recite classical waka poems and exchange ideas with friends of elegance!
In the past, poetry was at the center of Japanese culture. People used to gather together to play poetry, and this was the norm. But nowadays, poetry has become a pastime for a few hobbyists, and has become a classical culture.
I am not saying that this is the reason, but it seems that Japanese people, who have lost the common communication tool of “song,” are now divided by age, gender, educational background, and region, and are staring at each other as if they were looking at different creatures.
I believe that we should bring back “song” to the center of social interaction. I want to revive “song” as the bond of communication to realize rich and joyful human exchanges without distinction between men and women, young and old, as in the past.
I know that the poetry gatherings, as well as the 100-person poetry festival, are a great way to do this. I know that not only at poetry gatherings, but even over the interpretation of a single poem from the Hyakunin Isshu, people who have never met before can talk to each other in a friendly atmosphere. Japanese people are fundamentally fond of history and classical culture. Above all, they nurture the spirit of “snow, moon, and flowers,” or in short, the heart of waka poetry, in their daily lives. This is a precious asset that remains in the Japanese people today.
In the “Poetry School,” students compose and write down their own waka poems and practice exchanges with friends of elegance.
The essence of how to compose poems is learned from the “Kokin Waka Shu,” the sacred book of classical waka poetry, and the essence of kana writing is learned from the “Koyogiri” and the “Koyoha Hon Waka Rohyo Shu”. In addition, once a month, we hold a “Poetry Party” where students can show and appreciate their own compositions and demonstrate to the fullest extent the skills they have learned. (There is no other place where you can learn and practice waka in such a comprehensive manner.)
Let’s all become familiar with classical waka poetry at the “Uta Juku” and transform our daily lives into something elegant through exchanges with each other!
→What is “Composing a Poem: The Spirit of the Art of Poetry” (Katsuhiro Uchida)
Three pillars of learning
1. Acquire waka poem “kata” (input)
Japanese culture is, after all, a culture of “kata. Whether it is tea ceremony or Noh, art is achieved through the accumulation of kata. The same is true of waka poetry. The beauty of the subject matter, the choice of words, the way the words are carried, and the way the emotions are expressed are all supported by invisible kata. However, what makes waka “kata” different is that they are also the kata for various other forms of literature, art, painting, and crafts, in other words, waka is the foundation of Japanese culture. In other words, waka poetry is a cornerstone of Japanese culture.
At the Poetry School, the Kokin Wakashu, the first imperial anthology and the foundation of waka poetry, is positioned as the central text, and students will learn the basic forms of waka poetry.
2.”Expressing” waka poems (output)
The secret of learning is to balance both input and output in a well-balanced manner. If you only do input, you will tend to be overconfident, and if you only do output, you will tend to end up being complacent. At the Poetry School, you will practice “writing” and “composing” poems as much as you have learned. At first, you may feel intimidated. However, this is also a matter of habituation, so let’s take the first step and output poems without being intimidated by others. You will realize that waka is not a distant classic, but a play of today.
3.Above all, play and enjoy
The most important thing in learning, not only waka poetry, is to enjoy it. Even if you are interested in something, if you do not enjoy it, it will not last long.
The lectures at Honka Juku are not just a one-way talk by the instructor, but a place of communication where participants can deepen their understanding and awareness through conversation with each other. We use plain language that even beginners can understand, and we are always available to answer questions.
Our goal is that each lecture itself will be a place to practice “Fuga”. Please feel free to join us.
Contents of study
Anyone can join “Uta-Juku” at any time. We have already gathered many waka poem fans with various backgrounds, so beginners need not worry.
Currently, there are less than 20 participants, and about half of them are attending the real-time lecture (ZOOM). The group size is small and the atmosphere is very friendly, so please feel free to come and observe.
Lectures and Teaching (Kana Sho), plus a full song experience at the Uta Kai.
● “Lecture and Teaching (Kana Calligraphy)” (twice a month)
Date and time: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month from 8:00 p.m. (approx. 90 minutes)
Participants will learn the rhetoric of classic waka poetry and the basics of how waka poems should be composed through appreciation of selected poems from the Kokin Wakashu or Yatsushiroshu, mainly poems about the four seasons and love. Using the “Koyo-kiri” (the third type of poem) and the “Koyoha hon Waka rōyōshū” as models, students will practice the basics of kana calligraphy, variant kana, and renga writing, and learn how to write classic waka poems. In the lecture, we will write kana using pencils for the sake of simplicity. There will be a Q&A session and a presentation of “guess poems” to exchange ideas and experiences with the participants.
●Content of “Uta-kai” (once a month)
Date and time: Second Sunday of each month from 10:00 a.m. (about 90 minutes)
※Participants will compose their own original poem according to a pre-determined theme.
※The name of the poet will be withheld at the meeting, and everyone is invited to give their honest opinions.
※This is a unique opportunity to receive valuable comments and opinions from senior poets who have been writing poetry for many years. We hope you will make use of this opportunity to create your own poems (works)!
The “Poetry School” will be held online. (The URL for ZOOM will be provided at the time of booking the lecture.
If you are unable to attend the ZOOM lecture, a video recording will be shared after the lecture so you can learn from it as well.
You will be asked to submit your own “guess poems” and poems for homework each class.
(In addition, we plan to exchange poems via mailing list and hold face-to-face poetry gatherings in Tokyo once every six months.)
●What you need to bring
Please bring a writing utensil as we will be practicing kana calligraphy. Please bring a pencil, not a small brush.
2,800 yen (tax included) per month
Credit card payment only
If you are interested in a free trial or tour of the singing school, please click the button below to go to the reservation and application page and fill out the form.
Admission & Reservation
Step１：Admission (Member Registration)
To reserve a lecture, you must be registered as a member. Please click the button below to register as a member.
Step２： Reservation for Lecture
For lecture reservations, please use the calendar below.
※After making a reservation, you will receive an invitation to a ZOOM meeting by e-mail.