Review: Hyakunin Isshu – One Hundred People, One Poem Each

Hyakunin Isshu edited by Fujiwara no Teika, Translation by Larry Hammer, Cholla Bear Press, 2011. Print edition through Lulu.com

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 that the anthology has survived in Japan’s popular culture down to the modern age. Continue reading