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Encyclopedia > Iroha

The iroha (Japanese: 伊呂波, いろは) is a Japanese poem most likely written sometime during the Heian era (AD 7941179). Originally the poem was attributed to the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, Kukai, but more modern research has found the date of composition to be later in the Heian Period.[1] The first record of its existence dates from 1079. It is famous because it is a perfect pangram, containing each character of the Japanese syllabary exactly once. Because of this, it is also used as an ordering for the syllabary. The following text needs to be harmonized with text in the article History of Japan#Heian Period. ... Dionysius Exiguus invented Anno Domini years to date Easter. ... Events Kyoto becomes the Japanese capital. ... Events Third Council of the Lateran condemned Waldensians and Cathars as heretics, institutes a reformation of clerical life, and creates the first ghettos for Jews Afonso I is recognized as the true King of Portugal by Portugal the protection of the Catholic Church against the Castillian monarchy Philip II is... Shingon (真言宗) is a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and the most important school of Vajrayana Buddhism outside of the Himalayan region. ... Painting of Kukai (774-835). ... The following text needs to be harmonized with text in the article History of Japan#Heian Period. ... Events Persian astronomer, Omar Khayyám, computed the length of the year as 365. ... Look up pangram in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Alphabetical redirects here. ...

Contents

The text

The text of the poem in hiragana (with archaic ゐ and ゑ but without voiced consonant marks) is: Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ...

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

i ro ha ni ho he to chi ri nu ru wo
wa ka yo ta re so tsu ne na ra mu
u wi no o ku ya ma ke fu ko e te
a sa ki yu me mi shi we hi mo se su


The text of the poem in kanji and kana, voiced where appropriate, is: Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Manyogana 万葉仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 For other meanings of Kana, see Kana (disambiguation). ...

色は匂へと 散りぬるを
我か世誰そ 常ならむ
有為の奥山 今日越えて
浅き夢見し 酔ひもせす

Unlike traditional Japanese poetry, where each line alternates between five or seven moras, the Iroha is traditionally rendered as seven lines, except for the last.[2] Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit of sound used in phonology that determines syllable weight (which in turn determines stress or timing) in some languages. ...


An English translation:

As flowers are brilliant but [inevitably] fall,
who could remain constant in our world? [No one could]
Today let us transcend the high mountain of transience,
and there will be no more shallow dreaming, no more drunkenness.

An alternative (and possibly more accurate) English translation by Professor Ryuichi Abe reads as: Ryuichi Abé. Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions at 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.[3]

Research by Komatsu Hideo also revealed that the last syllable of each line, when put together, revealed another hidden sentence, toka nakute shisu, which means "died without sin". It is thought that this might be eulogy in praise of Kukai, further supporting the notion that the Iroha was written after Kukai passed away.[4] Painting of Kukai (774-835). ...


Sound change

The iroha is used as an indicator of sound changes in the spoken Japanese language in the Heian era. Sound change or phonetic change is a historical process of language change consisting in the replacement of one speech sound or, more generally, one phonetic feature by another in a given phonological environment. ...


Strictly transliterated the poem runs:

 i ro ha ni ho he to chi ri nu ru (w)o wa ka yo ta re so tsu ne na ra mu u (w)i no o ku ya ma ke fu ko e te a sa ki yu me mi shi (w)e hi mo se su 

To obtain the meaning indicated above, one must read the poem with some flexibility. These changes yield:

Iro wa nioedo
Chirinuru o
Wa ga yo tare zo
Tsune naran
Ui no okuyama
Kyō koete
Asaki yume miji
Ei mo sezu.

Usage

The iroha contains every kana precisely once, with the exception of ん [-n], which was spelled just like む "mu" at the time. For this reason, the poem was frequently used as an ordering of the kana until the Meiji era reforms in the 19th century. Thereafter the gojūon (五十音, literally "fifty sounds") ordering system became more common. This order is partly based on Sanskrit. It begins with "a, i, u, e, o" then "ka, ki, ku..." and so on for each kana used in Japanese. Although the iroha is seen as more "old fashioned" than the gojūon, the earliest known copy of the gojūon predates the iroha. History of Japan Paleolithic Jomon Yayoi Yamato period ---Kofun period ---Asuka period Nara period Heian period Kamakura period Muromachi period Azuchi-Momoyama period ---Nanban period Edo period Meiji period Taisho period Showa period ---Japanese expansionism ---Occupied Japan ---Post-Occupation Japan Heisei The Meiji period (Japanese: Meiji Jidai 明治&#26178... The gojÅ«on (五十音) is a Japanese ordering of kana. ... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


The iroha is still occasionally encountered in modern Japan. For example, it is used for seat numbering in theaters, and (from right to left) across the top of Go game diagrams (kifu), as in Yasunari Kawabata's Meijin. Western go game diagrams use either letters or letters and numbers. In music, the notes of an octave are named i ro ha ni ho he to, written in katakana. Go is a strategic East Asian board game for two players. ... Kifu is the Japanese language term for a game record for a game of go. ... Yasunari Kawabata ); (14 June 1899 - 16 April 1972) was a Japanese short story writer and novelist whose spare, lyrical, subtly-shaded prose won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, the first Japanese to receive the award. ... The Master of Go is a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author Kawabata Yasunari, first published in serial form in 1951. ... In music, an octave (sometimes abbreviated 8ve) is the interval between one musical note and another with half or double its frequency. ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ...

Musical Notes
In English A B C D E F G
In Japanese イ (i) ロ (ro) ハ (ha) ニ (ni) ホ (ho) ヘ (he) ト (to)

The word いろは (iroha) can also be used to mean "ABCs" or "the basics" in Japanese.


Although the Japanese employ the heavenly stems for rank order besides both the Chinese and Arabic numerals as well as the Latin alphabet, the iroha sequence was used to note the rank of submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War. All long-range submarines had designations beginning with "I" (e.g., the largest submarine had "I400" painted on its conning tower), coastal submarines began with "Ro", and training or marginally usable submarines had "Ha". The ten heavenly stems (Chinese: 天干; pinyin: ) or ten stems (Chinese: 十干; pinyin: ) are an ancient Chinese cyclic numeral system. ... The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) (: 大日本帝國海軍 Shinjitai: 大日本帝国海軍   or 日本海軍 Nippon Kaigun), officially Navy of Empire of Greater Japan, also known as the Japanese Navy or Combined Fleet was the Navy of Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japans constitutional renunciation of the use of force... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... USS Los Angeles A submarine is a specialized watercraft that can operate underwater. ... The Sen Toku I-400 class (伊四〇〇型潜水艦) submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy were the largest submarines of WW2, the largest non-nuclear submarines ever constructed, and the largest in the world until the development of nuclear ballistic submarines in the 1960s. ...


Origin

Authorship is traditionally ascribed to the Heian era Japanese Buddhist priest and scholar Kūkai (空海) (774835). However, this is unlikely as it is believed that in his time there were separate e sounds in the a and ya columns of the kana table. The え (e) above would have been pronounced ye, making the pangram incomplete.[5] This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Painting of KÅ«kai (774-835). ... Events Charlemagne conquers the kingdom of the Lombards, and takes title King of the Lombards. ... Events Ragnar Lodbrok rises to power (approximate date) The celebration of All Saints is made an obligation throughout the Frankish Empire and fixed on November 1. ...


It is said that the iroha is a transformation of these verses in the Nirvana Sutra: See Mahaparinibbana Sutta for the sutta of the Pali Canon. ...

諸行無常
是生滅法
生滅滅已
寂滅為楽

which translates into

That everything is impermanent
Is the way all things come into and go out of existence.
It is when these processes are over
That we see true happiness in nirvana.

The above in Japanese is read Impermanence (Sanskrit: anitya; Pali anicca; Tibetan: mi rtag pa; Chinese: 無常, wúcháng; Japanese: mujō) is one of the essential doctrines or the three marks of Buddhism. ... ( Sanskrit: ; Pali: निब्बान Nibbāna; Vietnamese: Niết bàn; Chinese: 涅槃; Mandarin Pinyin: nièpán, Cantonese: nihppùhn; Japanese: nehan ); Korean: ì—´ë°˜, yeolbhan; Thai: nibpan นิพพาน), is a Sanskrit word that literally means to cease blowing (as when a candle flame ceases to flicker) and/or extinguishing (that is, of the passions). ...

Shogyōmujō
Zeshōmeppō
Shōmetsumetsui
Jakumetsuiraku .

References

  1. ^ Abé, Ryuichi. 2000. The Weaving of Mantra: Kūkai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse. Columbia University Press, page 392
  2. ^ Ibid., page 397
  3. ^ Ibid., page 398
  4. ^ Ibid., page 398
  5. ^ Ibid., page 392

See also

The Ametsuchi No Uta (Jp. ... Japanese literature spans a period of almost two millennia. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Iroha - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (501 words)
The iroha is used as an indicator of sound changes in the spoken Japanese language in the Heian era.
For this reason, the poem was frequently used as an ordering of the Japanese syllabary until the Meiji era reforms in the 19th century.
Although the iroha is thought of as being more "old fashioned" than the gojūon, the earliest known copy of the gojūon predates the iroha.
Iroha - definition of Iroha in Encyclopedia (362 words)
The iroha is distinctive in that it is a perfect pangram—it uses each and every kana precisely once (with the exception of ん [-n], which was added to the syllabary later).
For this reason, the poem was used as an ordering of the Japanese syllabary until the Meiji era reforms in the 19th century.
The word いろは (iroha) can also be used to mean "ABCs" or "The basics" in Japanese.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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