11 December 2020

Japan Songs: A musical exploration of translated Japanese Poetry

Are you are looking for a cultural activity this December? Dr McAuley, our resident Japanese poetry expert, has teamed up with Kyo-Shin-An Arts to bring you Japan Songs, an online concert showcasing a selection of his translated poems set to music.

Event information


Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 3PM EST

An eclectic collection of songs based on ancient Japanese poetry

Six songs – Six composers

Including a live chat with the composers and performers, plus a special chat guest: The man who translated all of the song texts, Dr. Thomas E. McAuley.

Dr McAuley’s current research project involves studying the judgements in classical poetry competitions with a view to analysing how they functioned as criticism, how they illuminate the attitudes of poet-critics to the use of different types of lexical and cultural material in the composition of waka poetry, and finally, their role in the construction of mediaeval Japanese poetics.

The long-term aim of this project is to produce a book on the development of the poetry competition between the eighth and thirteenth centuries in Japan. The first output, however, the complete translation of, and commentary on, Roppyakuban uta’awase (‘The Poetry Contest in Six Hundred Rounds’; 1193) was published in December 2019. It is the largest extant poetry competition judged by a single judge, Fujiwara no Shunzei.

To find out more about Dr McAuley’s work on Japanese poetry translation, visit his website http://www.wakapoetry.net/. Here you will find 5754 translated poems, which is the largest resource of translated classical Japanese poetry on the web.

All the Japan Songs poems were chosen by the composers from this collection.

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