The world of “Waka fortune-telling” revived in modern times (Part 2)


“Waka fortune-telling” teaches us the power to live in the present

It is the beginning of the 4th year of Reiwa. After praying for good health on New Year's visit, many people may have been overwhelmed by the contents of their fortune.

Tae Hirano's attempt to revive ``Waka Fortune-telling'', which has been passed down since the Muromachi period, as a modern ``Waka Fortune-telling''. In the second part, I will introduce various projects I am conducting with students at Seikei University.

Waka poetry as an entrance. Developing the ability to live strongly in modern times

``Seimei Poetry Fortune Telling'', which was distributed in the late Edo period, is a waka fortune-telling book related to Seimei Abe, and contains 64 numbered waka poems. When you want to divine something, you think of a question in your head, then throw the die and choose the one with the appropriate number. That song is a ``telling'' to the question. At Seikei University's Hirano Seminar, two people play the role of a fortune teller and a guest performs a waka fortune-telling role play.


"We do this as part of our active learning program, where we actively learn about classical literature. At school festivals, we set up a waka fortune-telling booth and actually tell customers their fortunes."

Let's read the ``Seimei Poetry Fortune Telling'' while reading fortune telling. Let's read the ``Seimei Poetry Fortune Telling'' while reading fortune telling.

Let's read the ``Seimei Poetry Fortune Telling'' while reading fortune telling.

Practicing to perform waka fortune-telling at the school festival. Practicing to perform waka fortune-telling at the school festival.

In response to the question, ``I got into a fight with my boyfriend, what should I do?'' I read from the waka poem. She is practicing to perform waka fortune-telling at the school festival.

The question here is communication skills. What are the people who seek fortune-telling worried about, and what kind of solution do they think they would be happy with? He interprets waka poems in accordance with this and conveys his interpretation in a way that is close to the heart of the other person.


``Rather than deciphering the waka poem itself, it may be more important how to convey it. It's in the words inside. Interpreting waka carefully will lead to understanding people's hearts."

In the preface to the Kokin Wakashu, there is a line that says, ``Yamato-uta (Japanese poetry) takes the human heart as its seed and follows the words of all kinds of words,'' and it is said that Waka fortune-telling can tell you exactly what it is trying to say.


``It's frustrating when people say that studying at the Faculty of Letters is useless.Words are a weapon in life.When you hit a wall or want to change reality, you can use the power of thinking and communication that you have cultivated through words.'' will protect you. I want you to learn that through waka fortune-telling."


Top page of "Good luck ☆ Seimei Uta-divin". Top page of "Good luck ☆ Seimei Uta-divin".

This is the top page of the Japanese poetry fortune-telling "Good Fortune☆Seimei Poetry Fortune-telling" created through a collaboration between the Hirano Seminar of the Department of Japanese Literature, Faculty of Letters, Seikei University, and Japan Knowledge. Recommended for those who are interested in Japanese poetry fortune telling.


``Waka'' created with students becomes fortune at shrine


Since 2014, Tenso Shrine in Tokiwadai, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo has been offering fortune-telling fortune-telling from the gods through waka fortune-telling. If you draw a strip of paper tied to a bow while chanting a spell, the name of the god will be shown on it.

Tenso Shrine Omikuji Tenso Shrine Omikuji

The idea began when Mika Kobayashi, chief priest of Tenso Shrine, and Mr. Hirano met as members of a joint research project on fortune telling fortunes. It is attracting attention as a unique collaborative project between Tenso Shrine and Seikei University.

``It is a waka fortune-telling that will help you find your guardian deity.The fortune-telling you draw can be taken home as a talisman.This project began when we met the chief priest of Tenso Shrine during joint research on fortune-telling.Little by little, the gods The number is increasing, and currently I choose one out of 20."


Each omikuji you receive is carefully made at the shrine, giving you a sense of the warmth of handmade craftsmanship. A graduate student at Seikei University created the Japanese poem and explanation for this fortune.


``How can we express the divine virtues of God in waka poems?'' We searched a huge amount of waka poems based on the database of classical waka poems called National Anthem Taikan. We have created a new waka poem.It has been featured in the media as ``you can experience the roots of fortune telling that has been passed down since the Muromachi period.''

Tokiwadai Tenso Shrine Tokiwadai Tenso Shrine

Pull a strip of paper from a bow to connect with the god and receive a message. Tokiwadai Tenso Shrine 2-4-3 Minami-Tokiwadai, Itabashi-ku Reception hours: 9:00-17:00

Its reputation has become a hot topic, and a joint project with Musashino Zareiwa Shrine called ``Millennium Waka Fortune'' is currently underway. This is an original waka omikuji that carefully selects famous poems from ancient and modern waka poems spanning more than a thousand years, from mythical waka poems to modern poets. On December 2021, 12, 24 out of 64 omikuji were released. You can draw fortunes at the same shrine.


The fortune consists of 64 waka poems and is A5 size. It consists of an illustration side and an explanation side. There are no good or bad fortunes in the fortunes that receive messages from waka poems. Each includes a modern translation, the background of the song, the message of the song, and the keys to meeting luck, creative luck, health luck, and good luck.


“My seminar students and I are in charge of selecting waka poems and writing explanations.From myths and poems from the Manyoshu to modern tanka, this is a story from the history of 1300-character poems that spans over XNUMX years. We have carefully selected the most suitable songs."


Illustration by illustrator Mutsuki Munch Illustration by illustrator Mutsuki Munch

The fantastical illustrations by illustrator Mutsuki Munch are beautiful.

I used to draw fortunes without thinking about them. Since the Meiji period, the messages from waka have been added with good or bad fortune, and we have experienced joys and sorrows. Originally, rather than knowing the good or bad fortune, one should read the intention written there, question one's own heart, and face it. The next time you draw a fortune, think about the meaning behind the waka poem. It's supposed to be sending a sign to our hearts deeper than good or bad news.



Tae Hirano Tae Hirano

Mr. Hirano and all the seminar students. (I am temporarily removing my mask for the photo shoot)

Tae Hirano

Graduated from Ochanomizu University and completed doctoral course at the University of Tokyo Graduate School. She is a Ph.D. (literature). She is a professor at Seikei University's Faculty of Letters. Her specialties are Japanese medieval literature, Japanese poetry literature, and Buddhist literature. She practices active learning of classical literature through waka fortune-telling. She created ``Tenso Shrine Poetry Fortune Telling'' as a joint project between the shrine and the university.


Text by Junko Morita
Photography by Natsuko Okada (Studio Mug)

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