Grandmaster of the Japanese Karuta card game in Shiga Prefecture

Otsu, Japan (ots / PR Newswire) – Popularity fueled by the comic series “Chihayafuru” –

Heated battles unfolded on the “tatami” mat floor during the competitive karutas (card game) national championship tournaments held on January 9, 2021 at Omi Shrine in Shiga Prefecture in western Japan to determine the best national players – the “Meijin” winner (champion) of the men’s division and the “Queen” winner of the women’s division.


The quiet and quiet venue was filled with a tense atmosphere every time the reciter wrote a poem (on the “yomifuda” or reading card) from the “Hyakunin Isshu” collection (a classic anthology of 100 “waka” poets, each one Poem). When the players heard the first syllable of an average 17-syllable first half of a poem on a Yomifuda, they quickly reached for the appropriate card (“torifuda”, cards for players that each contain the second half of the same poem).

An Israeli man watching the competition said, visibly agitated, “I felt the same tension as I did with the anime version.”


Photo 1: Players taking part in the women’s tournament in the Omi Shrine (the championship tournament for the title of queen) (January 9, 2021)

Photo 2: The men’s championship tournament for the Meijin (master) title

Photo 3: The new Queen Yuri Yamazoe (left) and Meijin Keitaro Kumehara (right)

Photo4: Viewers listen carefully to the comments while looking at the screen

All games can be viewed on YouTube:

“Martial Art on Tatami”

In competitive karuta, the reciter reads one Yomifuda card after the other while the players compete to quickly get hold of the corresponding torifuda. It is called a martial art on the tatami because it requires good memory, focus, immediate strength, and physical strength.

In recent years, the popular animated series Chihayafuru has helped spark a karuta boom, especially among the youth, and the number of overseas players has increased.

Photo5: image of karuta cards


Omi Shrine, the “holy place” of Karuta

Omi Shrine, also known as Omi Jingu, is dedicated to Emperor Tenji, who wrote the first poem of Hyakunin Isshu, and is considered a sacred place for karuta. In addition to the national championship tournaments, the Japanese national high school karuta championship is held at the Shinto Shrine every year. In addition, heated competitions were held between players from Japan and abroad when the competitive karuta world championship was held at the shrine in 2019
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Photo6: Omi Shrine (Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture)

Photo 7: Omi Kangakukan (on the grounds of the Omi Shrine)

Inquiries & contact:

Yuko Sanda
Public Relations Department
Shiga Prefecture Government
Tel .: + 81-77-528-3041 (direct)


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