Learn Japanese From Ise Monogatari

Written byIchika Yamamoto

Ise Monogatari is also known as Tales of Ise, it is one of classical Japan's most important texts in the Uta Monogatari genre. This collection comprises about 125 episodes, each of them tells about the different adventures of Narijira de Ariuara, who was a nobleman known as the greatest male poet of his age. The exact date of the collection is uncertain, but many historians say that it was compiled in the mid 10th century. Although most of the authors are unknown, it is thought that Narihira authored some of them.

The influence of this work in the Japanese literature is awesome. Evidence is easily found in the frequent allusions to its Waka in many other famous works, the importance of Ise Monogatari is only comparable with that of Kokinshu, which have served as the basis for the development of Japanese literature.

Example 1







Kore ga attaga, baai,

sekai dono sakura e

Kanari gaikokudattashi,

osoraku haru ni watashi-tachi

no kokoro wa heiwa o

shitte irudarou.

If this were but a world

to which cherry blossoms

were quite foreign,

then perhaps in spring our

hearts it would

know peace.

Example 2










Kono yōna yoru ni

Toki ni gekkō no ketsujo

Watashi no iroai wa anata no hōhō,

Watashi wa nemuri kara me o

samasu watashi no Jōnetsu

ga moete, Watashi no mune

hageshii kasai, Bakuhatsu kaen

Watashi no kokoro no moji

watashi no naka no chū.

On such a night as this

When the lack of moonlight

shades your way to me,

I wake from sleep my

passions blazing,

My breast a fire raging,

exploding flame

While within me

my heart chars.

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Author: Ichika Yamamoto
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