Iroha-ATU (Japanese: いろは歌, literally Song of Iroha ), or more usually Iroha , indicate the translation in Japanese of a Hymne of the Sūtra of the Nirvāna. Its date of writing is, according to the linguists, later in XIe century. Used a long time for the training of the kana , it was replaced by the Goinzu (table of five sounds) then by the Gojūonzu (table of the fifty sounds) during the time of Edo. Sometimes it is now used for initiation with penmanship, and is used as classification.
Of unknown author, this famous poem is composed with totality of the 47 kana , except for the ん (N) which dates from the era Edo, as of /ye/ which disappears before this date. This text is traditionally allotted to the monk and erudite Buddhist Kukai. Since the appearance of the kana ん , this last was added to continue to be a complete exercise.
Hiragana component the IrohaWe point out that, traditionally, Japanese penmanship is read initially top downwards and then from right to left. Let us note also the presence of the old characters ゑ (we) and ゐ (wi) which is not used any more nowadays. It is impossible to know the exact pronunciation; more signs of voicing did not exist.
Text of the poem in kanaCoupons lines at the good places to form sentences of 5 or 7 syllables as much as possible. Let us write in the direction which is common for us, i.e. from left to right. In the old version of the poem, that gives:
Text of the Japanese poem (Kanji and kana)In Japanese the phonetic writing of the kana is not enough. There is too many Homonyme S to allow an easy comprehension of written Japanese. Thus let us write the poem with the adequate kanji. The modern version differs slightly from that given above.
A translation of the poemAs often, to translate a poem in another language is a very difficult exercise, especially with a language like Japanese. The translation suggested below, without explanations, is inspired, in addition to literal translation of Japanese, several English and French adaptations.
The pleasure is enivrant but évanouit.
Ici-bas, nobody demeure.
Today crossing the summits of the illusion,
It is not any more nor of hollow dreams,
nor of ivresse.
Use of the Iroha
In certain old men Japanese theaters, the rows are organized according to the Iroha (i.e. the first rank is I (い), the second rank ro (ろ), etc).
Finally Microsoft Word and OpenOffice can number the chapters in Iroha .
Alternative of the Iroha
There exists an alternative of the Iroha which bears the name of Tori Naku (Song of the birds). Here this text in kana (the corresponding kanji are indicated between brackets).
ひんかしを (東 (ひんがし) を)
A phonetic transcription in rōmaji gives:
Tori naku wesu
yume sama se
miyo ake taru hin kashi wo.
Zochi iroha be oki tsu heko
Hafu nemu newi nu
A possible translation is:
The song of the birds draws me from my rêves
Look in the east the day lève.
The azure shines and between the broad one and the côte
A flotilla of sailing ships rests in the brume.
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