Ise monogatari [Tales of Ise] is a prose collection with interpolated waka poems, compiled anonymously in the early Heian period (ca. ninth century). The main narrative involves a man who travels across the country after losing his love to another. Included are many poems by one of the major poets of the period, Ariwara no Narihira 在原業平 (825-880). Shown here are paintings (ca. seventeenth century) illustrating Ariwara's wakas that describe the protagonist's lingering feelings for his lost love:

"Not sleeping, not getting up, but staying up, just gazing at the spring rain" (right)

"The moon is not the same, nor is the spring; but my self has remained constant since our last time together" (left)

Zusetsu Nihon no koten 図說日本の古典 [Classical Japanese literature, annotated with images] (J5863 6065)

Haiku 俳句

Representation of the four seasons is fundamental to much Japanese art. This book celebrates the beauty of the seasons by combining poetry and food: Japanese sweets associated with the seasons are paired with the words of Nakamura Teijo 中村汀女 (1900-1988), a well-known haiku poet. This page shows sweets shaped like sweetfish (a type of smelt evocative of late spring/early summer in Japanese culture), with a haiku that describes the way in which the fish swim swiftly upstream.

Shiki no meika goyomi 四季の銘菓ごよみ [Calendar of seasonal sweets] (TX783.N353 1985)

Senryū 川柳

This contemporary book contains anonymous senryū poems that meditate on the trials and tribulations of the search for one's life partner. This one reads:

"I wish that Amazon would sell rich men."

Konkatsu senryū 婚活川柳 [Mate-hunting senryūs] (PL760.K66 2013)