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Report: Japanese Studies Seminar - Seeds in the Heart and Leaves of Words: Traditional Japanese Poetry Beyond the Haiku

We were honoured to invite Dr Thomas McAuley, Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield, to give the talk, Seeds in the Heart and Leaves of Words: Traditional Japanese Poetry Beyond the Haiku on Thursday 7 December at 18:30, in the event hall at Japan House London.

We embarked on a journey into traditional Japanese poetry, focusing on ‘Yamato-uta’, or ‘Waka’ (和歌 (Waka) = (Wa): Japanese, (Ka): Song or Poem), to introduce us all to a different poetic form that predated the poetic form of Haiku that is so well known around the world. How poetry was so integral in the daily life of nobles, used to show status, in courtship, in expressing themselves, was rendered to us through Dr McAuley’s enthusiastic and engaging poetic examples and demonstrations.

For an hour, it felt as though we were transported to Japan. The talk was enthusiastically received, according to the large number of questions during the Q&A at the end, and the positive comments from our audience members afterwards.

Here are a small handful of comments we received:

‘[The] speaker was lively, vivid, always interesting and his talk really illuminated waka poetry. Fabulous talk!’

‘Dr Macauley’s astounding expertise and facility in the topic together with his measured and very entertaining and accessible style [were the highlights].’

‘It was all interesting and completely new to me. Excellently delivered and illustrated talk.’

Thank you to everyone who came along for the fun and fascinating evening! We would also like to thank Dr Thomas McAuley for his time, and Japan House London for their assistance in hosting the event.

We will be planning more talks in the future. Keep an eye on our website, Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) or sign up to our e-bulletin so you don’t miss out!