Welcome to WakaPoetry.net – a site devoted to the many types of classical Japanese poetry. This site started life as the Japan 2001 Waka, as part of the Japan 2001 Festival marking the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Great Britain. During the course of the festival, I built up a collection of 2001 poems, covering approximately the first thousand years of poetry in Japan. After the end of the festival in 2002, I continued translating and adding poems, including some complete collections, with the result that there are now 6444 translated poems here, making this the largest resource of translated classical Japanese poetry on the web.
The poems appear in the original Japanese, transcribed into the Roman alphabet (Romanised) and translated into English. They are accompanied by commentary and background material to fill in the blanks on the world the Old Japanese poets lived in, their beliefs and society.
From here, you can also sign up to the Waka mailing list and receive postings of poems on a weekly basis in Romanised and translated form before they are posted on the website, as well as updates on the development of the site itself.
In addition to the translated poetry, there are some recently added sections on poetic tourism in Japan, with a focus on botanical gardens which display the plants mentioned in the eighth century poetry anthology, Man’yōshū. Anyone thinking of paying Japan a visit, and with an interest in poems, plants, or gardens, is welcome to use the materials there to fit a visit to a Man’yō Botanical Garden into their itinerary!
If you’re interested in hearing me read some waka with short explanations, you can check out my TikTok, too! Scan the QR code below, or find me at: https://www.tiktok.com/@wakapoet
This contents of this site are produced by Dr Thomas McAuley of the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield. The site was initiated as part of a contribution to the Japan 2001 Festival activities and was an officially recognised Japan 2001 event. Production of this site, both in its original, and this new form, has been made possible due to the generous support of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.