“Karuta “, Japanese Cards,
represented by “Ogura Hyakunin Isshu”, bearing pictures and writing have been a
familiar form of amusement in Japan since around the Heian Era ( 794 ～ 1185 )
“Ogura Hyakunin Isshu” features a
collection of waka poems, one from each of 100 great poets in Japanese history.
There are two kinds of cards used in the game of “Hyakunin Isshu “, Yomi-Fuda and
Tori-Fuda. Each Yomi-Fuda has one of the poems printed in its entirety. Each Tori-Fuda has only the second half of a
poem printed on it. A reciter reads out Tomi-Fuda
and the players compete to grab the corresponding Tori-Fuda.
In the Meiji Era ( 1868 ～ 1912 ), a new way of playing
man to man game emerged. It is called competitive karuta . The players’
movements as they reach out for the
Tori-Fuda are so fast, you can barely tell whats going on because of its
intensity. It has been called a martial
art on Tatami and become a hot game
casted on TV.
Hyakunin Isshu karuta are the
ingenuity and passion of the Japanese people for elegant family game and should
not be missed when family members and relatives irrespective of ages get
together during New Year days.