Ogura Hyakunin Isshu

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First poem card of the Hyakunin Isshu, featuring Emperor Tenji
Ogura shikishi by Teika

Hyakunin Isshu (百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred Japanese waka by one hundred poets. Hyakunin isshu can be translated to "one hundred people, one poem [each]"; it can also refer to the card game of uta-garuta, which uses a deck composed of cards based on the Hyakunin Isshu.

The most famous and standard version was compiled by Fujiwara no Teika (1162–1241) while he lived in the Ogura district of Kyoto.[1] It is therefore also known as Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (小倉百人一首).


One of Teika's diaries, the Meigetsuki, says that his son Tameie asked him to arrange one hundred poems for Tameie's father-in-law, Utsunomiya Yoritsuna, who was furnishing a residence near Mount Ogura;[2] hence the full name of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. In order to decorate screens of the residence, Fujiwara no Teika produced the calligraphy poem sheets.[3]

Hishikawa Moronobu (1618–1694) provided woodblock portraits for each of the poets included in the anthology.[4] Katsukawa Shunshō (1726–1793) designed prints for a full-color edition published in 1775.[5]

In his own lifetime, Teika was better known for other work. For example, in 1200 (Shōji 2), Teika prepared another anthology of one hundred poems for ex-Emperor Go-Toba. This was called the Shōji Hyakushu.[6]


  1. Emperor Tenji (天智天皇)
  2. Empress Jitō (持統天皇)
  3. Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (柿本人麻呂)
  4. Yamabe no Akahito (山部赤人)
  5. Sarumaru Dayū (猿丸大夫)
  6. Middle Counselor Yakamochi (中納言家持)
  7. Abe no Nakamaro (阿倍仲麻呂)
  8. Priest Kisen (喜撰法師)
  9. Ono no Komachi (小野小町)
  10. Semimaru (蝉丸)
  11. Councillor Takamura (参議篁)
  12. High Priest Henjō (僧正遍昭)
  13. Retired Emperor Yōzei (陽成院)
  14. Minister of the Left of Kawara (河原左大臣)
  15. Emperor Kōkō (光孝天皇)
  16. Middle Counselor Yukihira (中納言行平)
  17. Ariwara no Narihira Ason (在原業平朝臣)
  18. Fujiwara no Toshiyuki Ason (藤原敏行朝臣)
  19. Ise (伊勢)
  20. Prince Motoyoshi (元良親王)
  21. Priest Sosei (素性法師)
  22. Fun'ya no Yasuhide (文屋康秀)
  23. Ōe no Chisato (大江千里)
  24. Kanke (菅家)
  25. Minister of the Right of Sanjō (三条右大臣)
  26. Teishin-kō (貞信公)
  27. Middle Counselor Kanesuke (中納言兼輔)
  28. Minamoto no Muneyuki Ason (源宗于朝臣)
  29. Ōshikōchi no Mitsune (凡河内躬恒)
  30. Mibu no Tadamine (壬生忠岑)
  31. Sakanoue no Korenori (坂上是則)
  32. Harumichi no Tsuraki (春道列樹)
  33. Ki no Tomonori (紀友則)
  34. Fujiwara no Okikaze (藤原興風)
  35. Ki no Tsurayuki (紀貫之)
  36. Kiyohara no Fukayabu (清原深養父)
  37. Fun'ya no Asayasu (文屋朝康)
  38. Ukon (右近)
  39. Councillor Hitoshi (参議等)
  40. Taira no Kanemori (平兼盛)
  41. Mibu no Tadami (壬生忠見)
  42. Kiyohara no Motosuke (清原元輔)
  43. Acting Middle Counselor Atsutada (権中納言敦忠)
  44. Middle Counselor Asatada (中納言朝忠)
  45. Kentoku-kō (謙徳公)
  46. Sone no Yoshitada (曽禰好忠)
  47. Priest Egyō (恵慶法師)
  48. Minamoto no Shigeyuki (源重之)
  49. Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobu Ason (大中臣能宣朝臣)
  50. Fujiwara no Yoshitaka (藤原義孝)
  51. Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason (藤原実方朝臣)
  52. Fujiwara no Michinobu Ason (藤原道信朝臣)
  53. Mother of the Right Captain Michitsuna (右大将道綱母)
  54. Mother of the Honorary Grand Minister (儀同三司母)
  55. Upper Counselor Kintō (大納言公任)
  56. Izumi Shikibu (和泉式部)
  57. Murasaki Shikibu (紫式部)
  58. Daini no Sanmi (大弐三位)
  59. Akazome Emon (赤染衛門)
  60. Koshikibu no Naishi (小式部内侍)
  61. Ise no Taifu (伊勢大輔)
  62. Sei Shōnagon (清少納言)
  63. Master of the Left Capital Michimasa (左京大夫道雅)
  64. Acting Middle Counselor Sadayori (権中納言定頼)
  65. Sagami (相模)
  66. Senior High Priest Gyōson (大僧正行尊)
  67. Suō no Naishi (周防内侍)
  68. Retired Emperor Sanjō (三条院)
  69. Priest Nōin (能因法師)
  70. Priest Ryōzen (良暹法師)
  71. Upper Counselor Tsunenobu (大納言経信)
  72. Kii of Princess Yūshi's Household (祐子内親王家紀伊)
  73. Acting Middle Counselor Masafusa (権中納言匡房)
  74. Minamoto no Toshiyori Ason (源俊頼朝臣)
  75. Fujiwara no Mototoshi (藤原基俊)
  76. Lay Novice of Hosshō-ji Temple, former Kampaku and Chancellor of the Realm (法性寺入道前関白太政大臣)
  77. Retired Emperor Sutoku (崇徳院)
  78. Minamoto no Kanemasa (源兼昌)
  79. Master of the Left Capital Akisuke (左京大夫顕輔)
  80. Horikawa, attendant to Empress Taiken (待賢門院堀河)
  81. Later Tokudaiji Minister of the Left (後徳大寺左大臣)
  82. Priest Dōin (道因法師)
  83. Master of the Empress Dowager's Household Shunzei/Toshinari (皇太后宮大夫俊成)
  84. Fujiwara no Kiyosuke Ason (藤原清輔朝臣)
  85. Priest Shun'e (俊恵法師)
  86. Priest Saigyō (西行法師)
  87. Priest Jakuren (寂蓮法師)
  88. Attendant to Empress Kōka (皇嘉門院別当)
  89. Princess Shikishi (式子内親王)
  90. Attendant to Empress Inpu (殷富門院大輔)
  91. Gokyōgoku Regent and former Chancellor of the Realm (後京極摂政前太政大臣)
  92. Sanuki, attendant to retired Emperor Nijō (二条院讃岐)
  93. Minister of the Right of Kamakura (鎌倉右大臣)
  94. Councillor Masatsune (参議雅経)
  95. Former Senior High Priest Jien (前大僧正慈円)
  96. Lay Novice and former Chancellor of the Realm (入道前太政大臣)
  97. Acting Middle Counselor Teika/Sadaie (権中納言定家)
  98. Junior Second Rank Ietaka (従二位家隆)
  99. Retired Emperor Go-Toba (後鳥羽院)
  100. Retired Emperor Juntoku (順徳院)


An Edo-period illustrated Hyakunin Isshu book, with Priest Kisen and Ono no Komachi.

Poem number 1[edit]

A poem by Emperor Tenji about the hardships of farmers. Teika chose this poem from the Gosen Wakashū:


aki no ta no kariho no io no toma o arami
waga koromode wa tsuyu ni nuretsutsu

In autumn paddies under the temporary dwelling made of rushes, my sleeves are wet with the dew.
(Gosen Wakashū 6:302)

Poem number 2[edit]

A visually-descriptive poem attributed to Empress Jitō. Teika chose this poem from the Shin Kokin Wakashū:


haru sugite natsu kinikerashi shirotae no
koromo hosu chō Ama no Kaguyama

Spring has passed, and the white robes of summer are being aired on fragrant Mount Kagu—beloved of the gods.[7]
(Shin Kokin Wakashū 3:175)

The original was likely based from a poem of the Man'yōshū (book 1, poem 28) by the same poet.

Poem number 26[edit]

A quite different poem is attributed to Sadaijin Fujiwara no Tadahira in the context of a very specific incident. After abdicating, former Emperor Uda visited Mount Ogura in Yamashiro Province. He was so greatly impressed by the beauty of autumn colours of the maples that he ordered Fujiwara no Tadahira to encourage Uda's son and heir, Emperor Daigo, to visit the same area.

Prince Tenshin or Teishin (貞信公, Teishin-kō) was Tadahira's posthumous name, and this is the name used in William Porter's translation of the poem which observes that "[t]he maples of Mount Ogura / If they could understand / Would keep their brilliant leaves / until [t]he Ruler of this land / Pass with his Royal band." The accompanying 18th century illustration shows a person of consequence riding an ox in a procession with attendants on foot. The group is passing through an area of maple leaves.[8]

Teika chose this poem from the Shūi Wakashū for the hundred poems collection:


Ogura-yama mine no momijiba kokoro araba
ima hitotabi no miyuki matanan[9]

Maple leaves on Ogura mountain: if you had a heart, I would have you wait for one more royal visit![10]
(Shūi Wakashū 17:1128)

English translations[edit]

The Ogura Hyakunin Isshu has been translated into many languages and into English many times, beginning with Yone Noguchi's Hyaku Nin Isshu in English in 1907.[11]

Other translations include:

  • William N. Porter, A Hundred Verses from Old Japan (1909)
  • Clay MacCauley, Hyakunin-isshu (Single Songs of a Hundred Poets) (1917)
  • Tom Galt, The Little Treasury of One Hundred People, One Poem Each (1982)
  • Joshua S. Mostow, Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in Word and Image (1996)
  • Peter MacMillan, One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse (2008; Penguin Classics, revised edition 2018)
  • Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch, 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court (2008)

Other Hyakunin Isshu anthologies[edit]

Many other anthologies compiled along the same criteria—one hundred poems by one hundred poets—include the words hyakunin isshu, notably the World War II-era Aikoku Hyakunin Isshu (愛国百人一首), or One Hundred Patriotic Poems by One Hundred Poets. Also important is Kyōka Hyakunin Isshu (狂歌百人一首), a series of parodies of the original Ogura collection.

Card game[edit]

Teika's anthology is the basis for the card game of karuta, which has been popular since the Edo period.[12]

Many forms of playing games with Hyakunin Isshu exist in Japan, such as Uta-garuta, the basis for competitive karuta (kyōgi karuta).[13]


  1. ^ Mostow, Joshua. (1996). Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in Word and Image, p.25.
  2. ^ Ogurayama: Latitude: 34° 53' 60 N, Longitude: 135° 46' 60 E; Kyoto Prefecture web site: northwest of Arashiyama Park Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Mostow, p.94.
  4. ^ Hishikawa, Moronobu; Fujiwara, Sadaie (1680). "100 Poems by 100 Poets". World Digital Library (in Japanese). Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  5. ^ Carpenter, John T. (2008). Designed for Pleasure: The World of Edo Japan in Prints and Paintings, 1680-1860. Asia Society and Japanese Art Society of America. p. 106.
  6. ^ Brower, Robert H. (Autumn 1976). "Fujiwara Teika's Hundred-Poem Sequence of the Shōji Era". Monumenta Nipponica. 31 (3): 223–249. doi:10.2307/2384210. JSTOR 2384210.
  7. ^ Fujiwara, Teika (2018). One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse. Translated by MacMillan, Peter. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780141395944.
  8. ^ Fujiwara, Sadaie (2007). A Hundred Verses from Old Japan, Being a Translation of the Hyakunin Isshu. Translated by Porter, William N. (illustrated, reprint ed.). Tuttle Publishing. pp. 25–26. ISBN 9784805308530.
  9. ^ The modern romanization of the last line would be miyuki matanamu (“await the emperor's pilgrimage”); by applying the historical kana orthography, matanamu would be pronounced matanan.
  10. ^ Kamens, Edward; Kamens, Howard I. (1997). Utamakura, Allusion, and Intertextuality in Traditional Japanese Poetry (illustrated ed.). Yale University Press. p. 102. ISBN 9780300068085.
  11. ^ Yone Noguchi, Hyaku Nin Isshu in English, Waseda Bungaku (1907)[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Honan, William H. "Why Millions in Japan Read All About Poetry," New York Times. March 6, 2000.
  13. ^ Bull, David (1996). "Karuta: Sport or culture?". Japan Quarterly. 43 (1): 63 – via ProQuest.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, Peter McMillan, foreword by Donald Keene. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-231-14398-1
  • One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse, Peter McMillan. London: Penguin Classics, 2018. ISBN 9780141395937
  • 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court, Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch, translators. Tokyo: PIE Books, 2008. ISBN 978-4-89444-757-8 This book is also available as an iPad/iPhone application.

External links[edit]