Monday, 8 July 2019

Karuta Memorisation Technique

Hey there fellas!

Hi, it's me Yash Soni, a karuta enthusiast. This post is meant for memorisation technique which proves to be very effective in memorising the position of cards.

So, karuta is based primarily on your hearing and reflexes but you cannot just target a random place when the card is read aloud (neither do you have time to find the cards). You are supposed to memorise the position of 50 cards and also remember how to approach each and every card. Well, the technique I'm about to tell uses this mnemonic for going the cards on the field.

Mu Su Me Fu Sa Ho Se

U Tsu Shi Mo Yu

I Chi Hi Ki

Ha Ya Yo Ka


Ta Ko

Wa O



Each card represents the family of cards that a particular card may belong to. This representation has a meaning in a row-wise arrangement. Each row member is associated with it's neighbouring same row member in a way. I want you to figure this out and tell me down in the comments below.

There are few points always to remember:

One, always be thorough of your opponents cards position.

Two, start memorising from shorter cards (1 syllable, 2 syllables)

Three, always memorise a card imagining yourselves swinging your hand to take the card (Yes! Imagination helps a lot!)

As you play you will get a fixed kind of card placement (which can be improved at timely intervals by changing the fixed positions of certain cards), so you need to focus more on what you have across the line to attack.

First syllable cards are easier to take so, it's kind of obvious to take them in note.

Imagining actually helped me improved the way I take a card, so just it's a piece of personal advice

Now we come to the point that 15 minutes interval has started and you have to make most out of it. But you may cheat a little and pay attention while placing your cards in your territory before the time interval has started.

Once time starts, start from the lower right to the upper left of opponents field and scan the cards present in zigzag fashion (actually any order may do but try being deterministic and follow the same order every time)

Now, only recall the positions of the cards as if the cards are being in the mnemonic order given above. Mu stands for murasame no itself and U for both Uka and Ura, similarly A stands for all 16 cards starting from A like Akino, Akika (I know that's too much for 'A' but beware of those cards, you really have to be careful in the endgame because you cannot tell whether the card has turned into a 1 syllable or not)

Repeat this again for the second time for your opponent's territory a little faster this time.

Next time, include your cards too.

Until now you have gone through the field thrice, but that is not sufficient. Go for another two rounds sitting the position that you are making a swing looking at a fixed location like the middle of the lower row of your opponent (do not make practice swing before 13 minutes).

When 13 minutes are over practice swings in the same order. This helps to firm your memory. During this time also think of the first three cards that you will send as Okuri Fuda.

Whenever you get time in between two poems revise the positions and keep track of the changing kimariji.

And the last thing, though memorising time is just 15 minutes, but you can keep memorising until the game is over.

Happy Karuta!!!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Answer to the previous question I asked in a former post

Ok guys, remember that I asked you a question in the part two of the rules.

The question was if both the players committed fault, would there be a exchange of cards?
Well, the answer is no. No, there won't be any exchange of cards. Although, both committed a fault we don't even think of cards being exchanged between the territories.

Next post will be on how to learn the cards or how to place them.

See you then.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

My Karuta video

Hi, everyone!
I am back with a karuta video to show how a Karuta game works.
The link to my YouTube video is below:
Click here.

Ok, now some data on the game.
1. Kaku and Wagai are the first and second card read, respectively. Both were ghost card and do not appear in the video.
3.(numbers are according to the number of cards read by now) Kokoroni is read. It is a ghost card and I react to Kokoroa kept in the lower left corner of the opposite territory.
4. Asaborakeu is read and I cover the Asaborakea and after realizing that it's the other card I reach for it.
 I sent Yamaga (separating both tomofuda Yamaga and Yamaza; we'll discuss on it later) to opposite territory which is kept in the right top row of the same.
5. Hisa is ghost card.
6. Tsuki is ghost card.
7. I take Ashi card
 I sent Asaborakea to separate it from Asaji. Asaborakea is kept in the right mid row.
8. I was confused between the Hanano and Hanasa. As a result, I considered the card to be taken by opposite side.
9. Momo card was read. I took it with my fierce swing from my left lower row.
10. When Ooko was read, I committed a fault by touching Ooke in my side of the territory but soon touched the correct card in the opposite territory. As a result there is no sending of cards.
11. Arima. I took it and sent Oku which was placed in thr right mid row of opposite territory.
12. Wabi. Ghost card.
13. Nanishi. I sent Sa which was placed insides of the lower most row of right side of the opposite territory.
14. Ai. I sent only that card with higher precision.
15. Hana(sa) . I took the card.
16. Wasure. Ghost card.
17. Imawa. Third consecutive card from my territory.
18. Amatsu. Ghost card.
19. Michi. I took it and sent Kasa which was placed insides of the left top row of opposite territory
20. Kimigatameha. A suucsucces cover hand or Kakoi te (I will write a sepersep posts on methods of taking cards).
21. Yae. Ghost card.
22. Konu. Ghost card.
23. Watanoharako. Ghost card
24. Wasu(ra). I took it.
25. Yamaga. I took it with aggression and I sent Ari(a) which was kept in left bottom row of the opposite territory.
26. Chigirio, 27. Kono, 28. Mikano, were all ghost cards.
29. Yononakayo. I covered the card.
30. Asaji. I took this card tio.
31. Yono(nakawa) . It was a ghost card again.
32. Nageke. I touched this card. Then I sent Yamaza which was placed in the right top row of opposite territory.
33. Oto. I took the card and sent Yomo to opposite territory. It eas kept in the right top row.
34. Tama. I took and sent Tago in the same place of Tama. I moved Akika to left mid row in my territory.
35. Ama(no). It was a ghost card.
36. Nagaka. I was very late to react. I let this card being scored by opposite territory.
37. Miyo. Ghost card.
38. Oku. I took it and sent Omo. Omo was placed in the outer side of right middle row of the opposite territory.
39. Ogu, 40. Yura, 41. Mise, 42. Ake Ake were all ghost cards.
43. Haruno. I considered it to be scored for opposite territory due to my sloppy move.
44. Yama(za). Aggressively attacked. I sent Akika which was placed in the right mid row.
45. Waga(so), 46. Mo(to) both were ghost cards.
47.Tago. I sent Arashi which was placed left top row of the opposite territory.
48. Kiri. I took it and sent Se which was placed near Sa. Ooke was moved to Se's initial position in my territory.
49. Hitomo. I patiently waited as there was also Hitowa in my territory. I took it and sent Hi(towa) to the Hitomo's place.
50.  Araza. It was a ghost card but still I was about to touch Arashi.
51. Omo. I took it and sent Ooke and placed it in the right top row of the opposite territory.
52. Shira. It was a ghost card.
53. Kasa. I took the card and sent Me card which was placed near Mu card in the opposite territory.
54. Tachi, 55. Ura were ghost cards.
56. U(ka). I touched unwanted cards in the opposite territory but it wasn't a Otetsuki. I sent the last card bringing my cards to zero and the game to an end.
I won by 21 cards, as there were 21 cards in my opponent's territory.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Rules of Karuta (continued)

Ok, guys I hope that I didn't make you wait too long. Here's the further information on the rules of Kyougi Karuta. Today, I'll tell you about the otetsuki (also known as 'foul touch' or just 'foul').

To make my platform of teaching more interesting I have decided to teach you in collaborations of some case studies.

"> So, her's a case where the cards on the field have come down to 3 vs. 3 with cards like 'chiha' and 'ura' on my right corner and the 'su' card in the left corner. On opponent side we have 'mu' and 'uka'(a friend card or tomofuda of 'ura' card, one which is on my side) topmost left corner of the image and 'se' on the topmost right corner of the image. So, here are different cases of Otetsuki( now onwards foul touch is referred as otetsuki, it's painful to type so much :'D):

  1. If the card read by the reader, is not one of the 50 cards that we took in the beginning of the game(I mean to say if it is a ghost card) touching any card would result in a otetsuki.
    In above case, if 'yura' is read and I touch 'ura' it is a otetsuki and I have to accept a card from opponnt's territory. This would bring the score down to 4 cards on my side and 2 cards on the opponent's side.
  2. If you touch cards on both opponents side and on your side you end up committing double otetsuki or daburu(as in Japanese). This is explained as a video from my YouTube channel, please click here. It says that, if in case a ghost card 'sa' is read and I end up touching cards in both his and my territory I have to accept to cards from the opponent's territory making the score down to 1 on opponent's side and 5 on my side, which is 1 card away from losing the match. Better to avoid these otetsuki if you are in any decisive match.
  3. If you touch wrong card BUT the card being touched lies in same territory where the correct card lies it isn't considered as an otetsuki . If 'chiha' is read and I touch 'su' on my left there's no harm in doing so. So, if 'chiha' is read it makes sense that I can send both cards flying in my right corner. Although I have to keep the card that wasn't read in it's correct position.
  4. If 'mu' is read which is on opposite side and the leftmost top corner and I touch 'ura' in my right corner, I again commit because of which I have to receive one card from my opponent making the score 1-4 (one card on opposite side).But if I manage to take the correct card even after maqking a mistake, there will be no exchange of cards (think itover).
  5. If 'su' is read which is in my left corner and I touch 'se' then again there are two possibilities.
    • If opponent has taken the correct card then I have to accept two cards from opposite territory (one as otetsuki and other being because am card on my side was being taken) bringing the number of cards down to 1-4 (one card on opposite side)
    • If I manage to take the correct card despite committing a otetsuki, I have to receive one card for otetsuki which results 2-3 (two cards on opposite side)


What if both the players end up committing fault? Is there any possibility of card exchange?


The Queen who is the benchmark of the Chiihayafuru character is M/s. Kusunoki Saki. She is the youngest queen in Karuta history and probably the only one who hasn't lost single Queen Rank Title Finals held at Omi Shrine, Shiga Prefecture.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Rules of Karuta

Ok, now we start on the rules of Kyougi Karuta.

                     Laying the cards

1.The game is played on tatami mat(If Judo mat can be made available it can do). You can also use tile floor but make sure that you have knee support. Don't hurt your knees.
        (Photo of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu cards)

2.The set of cards used is Ogura Hyakunin Isshu made by Oishi Tengudo. The players sit facing each other, bow to each other and shuffle cards in between them facing upside down.

  (Cards placed on floor facing upside down)

3. Pick some cards from the shuffled cards and pick only 25 cards. I have no one to play with me so I select the cards for both sides. Playing alone is known as hitori renshu.(You can do that by making 5 decks of 5 cards each.)

(50 cards are used in one game and are also known as de-fuda. Rest are known as Kara-fuda or empty cards or ghost cards)

4. Now, we place the 25 cards in the place between the players in the length approximately equal to 87 centimeters or length equal to row when 16 cards are laid side by side and the breadth equal to 3 rows of cards with space of 1cm each between the rows. The opponents area also known as territory is separated from yours by 3 cm and the complete area makes the Kyougi sen(or field of play). The choice of place for each card is kind of a characteristic of a Karuta player. Now, here's a image of my arrangement (down) and opponents (up). I generally shuffle and lay cards for my oppositfe field.

5. You now get 15 minutes to memorize the placement of cards. In the last two minutes you can practice swings imitating taking a card but you are not suosupp to touch them.

6. The 15 minutes end and the game begins......

                      The game proceeds......
7. You bow to your opponent and to the receiver and the game begins.
You must say Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu(Wishing good game to you) while bowing.

8. The reciter reads the poem Naniwazuni as the opening poem.

'Naniwa zu ni
Sakuya Kono Hana
Fuyu gomori
Ima wo harubeto
Sakuya kono Hana.'

This poem translates as ''In the Naniwa bay bay the blossoms bloom , the winter is passed now and the spring comes and the blossoms bloom'.

The second half of the poem is read and after a pause of one second, only yht first half of the poem is read from which we have to identify the card which bears the second half of the poem.

9. One who touches the card first gets the card. The motive is to reduce oneself's count of territory to 0. The player who succeeds is declared as the winner.

10. When you get a card from your side, you keep it in a neat pile beside yourself but if you get a card from opponent you are allowed to send a card from your territory to his/her territory. The choice of card to be given is yours and the choice of the position of the card in his/her territory is completely dependent on him/her.

This is what sending cards look like:

       (You just have to place a card in the middle of the top row.)

Ok, one good rule of the Karuta is that you can push the card you want out while knocking the ones surrounding it to, but you have to place them back in same order(except the one which was read). However, this rule has a exception which is to be discussed later.

Continuing this, the cards on the field keep dwindling and the number of cards left on the losing side can be considered as a score. However, losing with one card or losing with 25 makes no difference.

Fun fact: The queen whose image is been idealised by the character Wakamiya Shinobu never lost a game to a Challenger in finals of Queen title. She holds the record of 10 straight titles and 20 victories.

Thank you!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Introduction to Karuta

Hi everyone!
This is Yash Soni. A undergraduate student who got to know about Competitive Karuta while in senior grade school. I have been practicing on my own since five years. I got to know about Karuta from the anime Chihayafuru. I have decided to shsrs my knowledge of Karuta to help you become a good player.
          As in my case, I haven't participated in any of the Karuta tournaments but I will be glad if someone used my knowledge as resource to compete if he visits some tournament.
          The next post is going to be about basics of the game.