Waka Poems, Translated from Japanese by Naoko Fujimoto

The Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each)


we meet        we sprawl
East        to Kyoto    to home
once we pass this gate.            Here.


-- Semimaru

Collects drips
from the ridges, a stream 
wider & deeper brimming the minano-river as if 
my koigokoro        cascades into an abyss.

--Emperor Yōzei
Graphic Poem by Naoko Fujimoto

Into the inner Oku province,
a stone rubs silk with wild grasses 
dying complicated paths 
like my heart
tangles into yours
forgetting who I am.

--Kawara no Sadaijin

You’re in my prayer—
I am out to pluck spring 
seven herbs
snow is falling        on my sleeves.

--Emperor Kōkō

I’m leaving to Mount Inaba        pine-trees on its peak 

If you pine for me—
I will come back right away. 

--Ariwara no Yukihira
Graphic Poem by Naoko Fujimoto

About the Work

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each) is a classic waka poetry anthology curated by Fujiwara no Teika around the twelfth century. These poems have been deeply associated with Japanese history and modern cultures.

Translator Bio

Naoko Fujimoto was born, raised in Nagoya, Japan and studied at Nanzan Junior College. She was an exchange student at Indiana University and received a BA and MA there. Her poetry collections are “Where I Was Born”, winner of the editor’s choice by Willow Books (2019), “Glyph:Graphic Poetry=Trans. Sensory” by Tupelo Press (2021), and “Mother Said, I Want Your Pain”, winner of the Shared Dream Immigrant Contest by Backbone Press (2018). Her first chapbook, “Home, No Home” (2016), which won the annual Oro Fino Chapbook Competition by Educe Press and another short collection, “Silver Seasons of Heartache” (2017) by Glass Lyre Press, are available from each press. She is the Translation Initiative Editor at RHINO Poetry, a non-profit literary organization.

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