The beginning of the song


January 18, 2022

Utakai Hajime is a "Utakai" where Japanese poems (tanka) are performed at the beginning of the year. Nowadays, the "Utakai Hajime" held in the palace at the beginning of the year is especially famous.


Originally, it is a "kakai" where the imperial family and aristocrats gather to perform waka poems (tanka) in the ancient times, and it refers to the one held at the beginning of the year. Today, in addition to the beginning of the Miyanaka Utakai (described later), the ones held at the Kyoto Reizei family (following the flow of public houses) are famous. At the Reizei family, dozens of people wear Heian costumes such as kariginu and uchiki, and are introduced in the media reports and ancient textbooks (collection of materials) every year as a Kyoto tradition. In addition to this, there is also a place where instructors and students perform songs at the beginning of the year in a general waka class (tanka party), which is called "the beginning of the song party".

Miyanaka Utakai Hajime


The origin is not always clear, but in the middle of the Kamakura period, a poem called "Dairi Hajime" was held in the palace on January 15, 1267, during the Emperor Kameyama period. It has been recorded. However, at that time, it was regarded as a series of events combined with the beginning of composition and the beginning of the orchestra (orchestra), and it was called the beginning of the meeting (the beginning of the song), and it is customary to do three in one day. It was being considered. In addition to the beginning of the year, it was sometimes held after the emperor and Chiten no Kimi started their administration. However, the beginning of the meeting itself was aborted during the Muromachi period, and according to the book "Haruwaka Gokai Hajime" (the author is unknown, but there is a book in the National Museum of Japanese History and Folklore, which is a copy of Emperor Reigen). It is written that Emperor Go-Kashiwabara held the monthly poetry of the New Year in the 10th year of Meiō (first year of Bunkame / 1501) as an independent ceremony, using the example of the beginning of the Waka poetry of Emperor Go-Enyu during the Eiwa period. This is believed to be the direct origin of the beginning of the poetry. It has been held almost every year since the Edo period, and it continues to change little by little. In modern times, it was first held at the small palace of the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1869 (Meiji 2). In the 7th year of the Meiji era (1874), the chanting from the general public became widely accepted, and from the 12th year of the Meiji era (1879), the chanting song was also sung. Furthermore, after 1882 (Meiji 15), the emperor's productions and general songs were published in newspapers and official bulletins. The selection of the song was performed by the Imperial Poetry Bureau in the Imperial Household Ministry. Hirao, who was a lady-in-waiting officer from a samurai family, entered the palace at the recommendation of Tomonori Hatta, a singer at the age of 18, and she was given the name of Utako by Empress Meiko. Some people were recognized and used heavily. The title of the beginning of the song (designated theme) is called the "Chokudai". In 1928, the ceremony for the beginning of the song was decided, and the name of "Utakai Hajime" was changed to "Utakai Hajime". From 1947 (Showa 22), waka poems were solicited not only from the imperial family but also from the people as they are today, and the selection of poems was commissioned by a prominent poet (selected) in the field. Along with that, the title became simpler. As a result, it has changed from an event of high society to a cultural event in which the general public can participate.

Current song start

Every year, one Chinese character is specified as the theme, and it is a condition that this character is included in the song (reading does not matter). Until the deadline around the end of September, the Imperial Household Agency is under the jurisdiction of accepting applications for singing songs from the general public. The application method is basically to write by yourself with a brush and mail it, but if you have a physical disability

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