Recovering from Japan earthquake, reviving Japanese culture

August 15, 2011

In light of the terrible damage and trauma from the Great Tohoku Earthquake in Japan, I found this article by the Asahi Shinbun very touching. As mentioned in this post, high-schools in Japan often have a karuta club of some kind devoted to the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology, and the game which involves grabbing the right card (カルタ, karuta in Japanese) as the poem is read aloud.

The game involves three people: 2 people who compete, and 1 reader who reads the poem. The two competitors have to find the right card, containing the last two verses of the poem the reader recites. The reader of course uses a card with teh full poem. As the article explains, it’s important to be able to read a poem clearly, with the right tone and rhythm, or the two players might be distracted. The Hyakunin Isshu iPhone app I bought a while ago has nice, professional recitations of each poem.

Anyhow, quite a nice story to read about young people recovering from the Earthquake, and ancient cultural traditions that still thrive admist modern culture and natural disasters. 🙂

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