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Monday, December 11, 2017

Iroha poem and Japanese letters

I felt like drawing children in kimono. Do you like it? A girl in kimono is practising writing Japanese hirakana, "Iroha," a poem. Young Sadami enjoyed only writing rather than Iroha. Once upon a time, children memorised the poem to learn Japanese 50 sounds. The Iroha poem cleverly uses only once each letter and has a profound meaning of life like "Ecclesiastes," vanity of vanities. If I freely translate the meaning, here we go. 

"Like the scent of flowers perishes, my beauty has gone. 
Who can last forever on the earth? I walked out of deep mountains. 
In a daydream, I still felt the world clearly without being drunk."  
いろは歌 The Iroha-uta 
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(ん) 
Many interpretations of the ihorha are available, because an old Japanese omits a subject. The hidden subject could be the crucial difference between Japanese and English in syntax. English always requires a subject in a sentence. Besides the unclear subjects, the old Japanese and poems do not show an identified punctuation. Once, young Sadami failed to remember the iroha (*Too young to get the meaning, but how many even grown-ups could understand the old Japanese today?). 

Anyway, I enjoyed writing on paper with sumi-ink! I might as well retry it one day. It's interesting that I can find some Chinese ink sets in an art supply that are different from a Japanese style. 
If you like kids in kimono, I'd post them from time to time. 
Friends, Happy Painting! 



  1. Love the kimonos. Lovely paintings, Sadami!
    A wonderful post!

    1. Thank u, sweet Chris! Me, too, love kimono. Cheers, Sadami

  2. The Japanese children are so lovely, Sadami! Writing those character looks very difficult.

    1. Thank u, so sweet Judy. Yes, writing hirakana is not easy. I'm sure any kids struggle in writing of any language. Cheers, Sadami

  3. Muy interesante conocer todo lo que en esta página nos explicas del "Iroha" y qué bonitas figuras has pintado para este artículo. Felicidades!
    Un abrazo.

    1. Muchas gracias, amable Joshemari. Estoy jugando en garabatos de niños con kimono en estos días. Los publicaré de vez en cuando. ¡Tú también disfrutas dibujando niños! Mis mejores deseos, Sadami

      Thank you very much, kind Joshemari. I'm playing around in doodling of children in kimono these days. I'll post them from time to time. You, too, enjoy sketching children! Best wishes, Sadami

      >>>>> Joshemari said...
      Very interesting to know everything on this page that explains us about the "Iroha" and what beautiful figures you have painted for this article. Congratulations!
      A hug.

  4. I love the children in kimonos paintings, and the Iroha-uta. I'm sure your enjoyment of Japanese writing as a child helped to make you such a good watercolourist?!

    1. Thank you very much, sweet Cathy! I love your sense of humour and admire your wit! I'm learning a lot and a forever learner. Best wishes, Sadami

  5. Thank you for the kimono clad children's sketches and a lesson for me on "Iroha" !

    1. Oh, kind Meera, thank you! I was an under achiever though, I enjoyed writing in ink. Hahaha, have fun!! Best wishes, Sadami