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Library Exhibition “When One Composes Uta: From the Man’yoshu to Waseda’s School Song”

397Period : 2013/10/18(Fri)~2013/11/20(Wed)
Venue : Exhibition Room on the 2nd floor of the Center for Scholarly Information (Building No. 18)
Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Closed: Sundays and October 31, but open on October 20
Organized by: Waseda University Library


What do you do when you encounter impressive scenery during a walk or a trip? Many people might reach for their cell-phones or digital cameras and take a snapshot of the scene right away. In such moments, people in the past captured their feelings in uta just like we capture the scenery in a photograph. Uta, which is also in the title of this exhibition, is the generic term for Japanese classical poetry in various styles. People composed uta in response to both their ordinary feelings in daily life and sometimes an extraordinary occasion they happened to experience. Their feelings were extremely diverse; uta could not be composed without a poet’s sensibility to the phenomena close to all of us.
In this exhibition, we focus on this sensibility of poets and introduce various of their uta. When they felt something about their lovers, friends, alma mater, people who had passed away, and death, they composed diverse uta such as waka (31 syllables), kyōka (literally “crazy poems”), haiku (17 syllables), and free-form modern poems. So far as possible, we display these uta in handwritten manuscripts; for even well-known uta may give you a different impression when you see what they looked like as the poet breathed life into them.
We hope you enjoy the feelings that people in the past captured in uta.

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