Two Waka-Haibun—Translations, Original Prose, and Visual Expressions
Waka is the term for classical Japanese poetry, including royal court poetry, written from approximately the 8th to the 13th centuries CE, which began the important Japanese tradition of large poetry anthologies. Some of waka’s chief characteristics are rarely used today, like chōka (long poems) and sedōka (poems with repetition). However, many of its features live on in tanka.
Waka was experimental in the deepest sense: poets trying to build something brand new in their culture. It is more fluid and varied than the haiku and tanka in translation most English speakers read today.
Naoko Fukimoto has translated waka poetry and created original prose prefaces to this poetry. The prefaces are very much in keeping with the work of many waka artists, who combined memoir or history with their poems. In doing this, she has created a kind of waka-haibun, two of which are included here, along with visual expressions related to each work.
Click each link to go to the waka-haibun and visual expression:
- Prose by Naoko Fujimoto/Translation of poem by Sei Shōnagon (966 CE–unknown)
- Visual expression of translation of poem by Sei Shōnagon
- Prose by Naoko Fujimoto/Translation of poem by Fujiwara no Teishi, Empress Teishi (977–1001 CE)
- Visual expression of translation of poem by Fujiwara no Teishi, Empress Teishi