Title: Hyakunin Isshu Karuta, Early 20th Century. Faded, Decorated Box
An undated early 20th century edition of the Hyakunin Isshu Karuta, a traditional Japanese card game.
A type of uta-garuta card game, Hyakunin Isshu is a game with 200 cards, with a poem written on 100 of them. One person will read out the first half of the poem, and the other players must then quickly attempt to match the poem with the corresponding poet’s image who penned it.
This card game utilizes illustrations and poems of the poets from Fujiwara no Teika's popular anthology, the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. Roughly translated, it means One Hundred People, One Hundred Poems.
Teika has long been renowned as one of the greatest poets in Japan and dominated the poetry scene for centuries from the Heian period to the Meiji period. It's no surprise that he would eventually create an anthology of poetical works, including one poem of his own. The full name of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu comes from the fact that he had arranged these poems for Utsunomiya Yoritsuna, the father-in-law of Teika's son Tameie, who was working near Mount Ogura at the time.
All of the illustrated cards have been woodblock printed and colored by hand. The cover to the box has been decorated but is peeling away.
There are 100 cards containing poems, and 100 cards depicting their respective poets, making for a complete set.
One box of cards, 200 cards. Box Size, 12.2 x 9 x 17.5 cm
This card game is in good shape, with minor rubbing and some chipping to the box, with parts of the box loosening. Some of the cards have some rubbing and wear, with the borders having come away on a few. The cards have all somewhat curved.