いろは Iroha 1

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いろは I Ro Ha is a Japanese poem that is unique, in that it uses all of the phonetic Hiragana characters, and uses each one only once. For this reason, it is also used as the order for “alphabetizing” things in Japan, like train seats, etc., in the way we use A, B, C…  (The poem does not include the character which was added to the syllabary in the 20th century, but  does includes two archaic hiragana characters  and . Here’s the entire poem…

いろはにほへと
ちりぬるを
わかよたれそ
つねならむ
うゐのおくやま
けふこえて
あさきゆめみし
ゑひもせす

This translation by professor Ryūichi Abe (阿部 龍一) of Harvard University.

Although its scent still lingers on
 the form of a flower has scattered away
For whom will the glory
  of this world remain unchanged?
Arriving today at the yonder side
  of the deep mountains of evanescent existence
We shall never allow ourselves to drift away
  intoxicated, in the world of shallow dreams.

Sumi and watercolor on paper, 2020
27”H x 20”W
Signed

Local Pickup at this time. Contact us for artwork shipping (estimated to be about $60.00).