"Hyakunin-Issyu" means "the One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Celebrated Poets". This is a collection of "Tanka" poems. "Tanka" is a style of Japanese poetry.

The "Hyakunin-Issyu" were selected by Sir Teika Fujiwara(1162-1241). Sir Teika Fujiwara is a very famous poet in the history of Japanese literature. After him, many hyakunin-issyu were selected by many people. Therefore, the original "Hyakunin-Issyu" are called another name. That is called "Ogura-Hyakunin-Issyu".

In the early Edo-era, someone devised a card-game from "Ogura-Hyakunin-Issyu". This card-game is called "Karuta". We call the playing cards "Karuta", too.

In 1904, Ruikoh Kuroiwa, who is owner of the newspaper company "Yorozu-cho-ho", established the modern rules of "Karuta" in Japan. Nowadays, we comply with these rules.

This game of Karuta is called "Kyogi-Karuta". At present, about 1,000,000 players play "Kyogi-Karuta". Players organize the All-Japan Karuta Association.

I am a "Kyogi-Karuta" player. I have an "A"-class license for this card game. I was ranked in the Top 50 "Kyogi-Karuta" players, under the All-Japan Karuta Association, in 1983 and 1985. I continue to practice playing "Kyogi-Karuta", even now.

Written by Hitoshi Takano

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