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The video clip provides excerpts from a conversation with poet and translator Peter MacMillan. His insights infuse these classics with life, rendering fresh relevance for today.
One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each (Ogura Hyakunin Isshu) is one of Japan's landmark works of literature. This compilation of waka poetry hails from the 14th century, and includes compositions originating as early as the 7th century. The popular companion card game based on the text's poems is familiar to school children and adults nationwide.
Famed Japanologist Donald Keene praised Peter MacMillan as "the premier translator of Japanese literature of his generation," but MacMillan makes clear his humble struggles to communicate both the beauty and original sensibility of these classic texts to readers of modern English.
Peter MacMillan is a prize-winning translator, scholar, poet, and artist. He graduated first in his class from the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin, and then went on to take an M.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in English literature. He spent two years as a Visiting Fellow at Princeton, Columbia, and Oxford universities. MacMillan teaches at The University of Tokyo and Tokyo Women's Christian University. A citizen of both Ireland and Britain, he has lived in Japan for about thirty years and strives to be a bridge between Japan and the world. He creates prints under his artist name, Seisai. Peter's translation, One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each (Hyakunin Isshu), was published in 2008, winning prizes in both Japan and the United States. His English translation of the Tales of Ise (Ise Monogatari) was published by Penguin in 2016. He has also published a collection of poetry, Admiring Fields. MacMillan serves as a Councilor of the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan.
One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each <Set A>
1. Peter MacMillan on encountering One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each (Ogura Hyakunin Isshu)
In this set of clips, Peter starts by describing his dilemma on whether to remain in Japan, and the work of literature that helped him to decide.
2. On why readers should choose One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each (Ogura Hyakunin Isshu)
In the second clip, Peter details how readers may find the true spirit of the Japanese in One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each, the poems' main themes and their variations, and why the text is an essential choice.
3. On the role of women in One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each (Ogura Hyakunin Isshu)
In the third clip, Peter explains the extraordinary contribution of women in writing One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each. Peter reads a selection authored by a female poet, and provides explication.
4. Peter MacMillan sings a poem from One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each and explains the classic card game.
In the final clip, Peter sings one of the poems from Japan's traditional card game based on One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each. He explains the game's unique features, and how it is played.