Prof. Haruo Shirane’s seminar, Columbia University.
× Prof. Hirano Tae’s seminar, Seikei University
(Children of the gods from ancient times have gathered here, and this divination has proven to be correct.)
1) Recite the incantation poem out loud.
2) Think about the matter you want to divine (love, interpersonal relationship, work, study, health, money, etc.), focus your emotion, and press the button below.
* If you recite a poem sincerely, focusing your whole mind on it, you will receive an accurate result.
Utaura is a method of divination using classical Japanese poems (waka).
In Japan, it has been believed since ancient times that the gods communicated with humans through waka.
“Good Luck ☆ Seimei Utaura” is based on the Edo-period waka divination book Seimei Utaura, in the possession of Seikei University. As the title suggests, the book is believed to have been written by the Heian-period onmyōji Abe no Seimei.
Under Professor Hirano Tae’s guidance, her seminar students have translated the divination poems into modern Japanese and written good-luck messages. This content was then translated into English by the graduate students under the guidance of Professor Haruo Shirane (Columbia University, USA).
The poem displaying the divine message from the gods. Here it says: "When my joy and your joy overlap, our happiness will multiple"
A short sentence that concisely explains the content of the poem, in the form of a metaphor. Here it says: "Like parents getting to see their child."
A picture that helps you understand the metaphor at a glance. Here it shows a pair of father and son.
Edo-period waka divination may sound a little critical, but as long as you read the message, you will be fine. Your luck will improve.
※Within the “Divine Waka Message” and “Metaphor” sections, there may be some phrases or expressions that may be deemed discriminatory from a modern perspective, but these have been left the way they are so that the reader can grasp the contents in accordance with the historical context of the time.
Abe no Seimei (921-1005)
He was a mid-Heian onmyōji and the ancestor of the Tsuchimikado family. Onmyōji was the name of a government post in the Onmyōryō (Bureau of Divination) under the Ritsuryo legal system in ancient Japan.
A disciple of Kamo no Tadayuki and his son, Yasunori, Seimei went on to become a master of onmyōdō. In particular, the Abe clan came to be exclusively in charge of producing confidential reports to the emperor on astronomical events and their astrological interpretations. The Abe family (later Tsuchimikado family) became hereditary court astrologers, rivaling the Kamo family, who were hereditary keepers of the calendar.
Anecdotes about Seimei’s undertakings, many of legendary and highly exaggerated, such as his prediction of Emperor Kazan’s abdication based on observations of natural phenomena, are included in several collections (e.g. Ōkagami or Konjaku monogatari shū).
Many texts are also attributed to him, but the only one that can be definitely confirmed as having been written by Abe no Seimei is the first volume of the Senji ryakketsu.
The Seimei Utaura is an Edo-period waka divination book that was supposedly written by Abe no Seimei.
To get their fortune, the reader chants the incantation poem, rolls a dice, and picks out one of the 64 poems.
The number 64 is based on the 64 signs in I Ching divination. In the preface, it says that Seimei became a disciple of Hakudō Shōnin and learned the art of divination from him.
Throughout the Edo period, Seimei was a popular figure who was considered a great authority on divination; and from the mid-Edo period onward, many divination books bearing his name were published such as Seimei tsūhen uranai, Seimei hiden mitōshi uranai, and Seimei hiden sodekagami.
Based on the original Japanese version, the English version of “Good Luck ☆ Seimei Utaura” was created with the cooperation of Professor Haruo Shirane at Columbia University in the United States, along with his graduate students who are doing research in Japanese literature. Nhat-Phuong Ngo-Vu, a graduate student specializing in classical Japanese waka, played a central role in translating the content into English.
Founded in 1754, Columbia University is one of the top universities in the United States. It is part of the prestigious Ivy League (a group consisting of eight private universities in the northeastern part of the United States), and it is a world-famous research institution, having produced many Nobel laureates.
Professor Shirane is one of the leading researchers among English-language scholars in the field of Japanese literature. He has published many translations and studies of classical Japanese literature. The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, where Professor Shirane is based, is also highly regarded worldwide as a leading research center for Japanese studies.
He was awarded the 26th Yamagata Banto Prize for his book Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons (Columbia University Press).
Hirano Tae is a Professor in the Faculty of Literature at Seikei University, with a PhD in Literature. She was born in 1973 in Toyama Prefecture. She obtained a B.A. in Humanities Education from Ochanomizu University, and completed her PhD coursework at Tokyo University. Prior to coming to Seikei University, she was an associate professor at Jumonji Junior College.
Her research mainly focuses on medieval Japanese literature, the cultural history of omikuji (fortune slips), and waka divination. She is interested in the implementation of teaching classical literature via active learning.
During the annual University Festival (Keyaki Fes) held in November, all the students in Professor Hirano’s seminar put together an exhibition on Seimei Utaura and won the President’s Award.
Facebook page of Hirano Seminar, Faculty of Literature, Seikei University