Japanese tradition |Beautiful Japanese culture!|Popular songs of the Heian period(794 to 1185).


Have you heard of Japanese songs of the Heian period(794 to 1185)? There were popular songs primarily sung by courtesans while they danced. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!

Popular songs of the Heian period (794 to 1185).

An illustrated postcard.

I received an illustrated postcard from my Kampo (Japanese traditional) medicine teacher. The postcard was painted by the teacher to send to his granddaughter. The picture depicted a courtesan dressed as a man dancing, with a snail on which her granddaughter, dressed as a witch, was riding.

Popular songs from the Heian period.

The picture was accompanied by two poems from ‘Ryoujin Hishou,’ a collection of poems compiled by Emperor Go-Shirakawa Ho-oh. These were popular songs of the Heian period, primarily sung by courtesans while they danced. During that era, it was rare for women to dress as men, but it was considered alluring.

Reading the songs made me want to go outside and talk to a snail. I longed to hear children playing and felt a desire to play like a child once again.

In today’s age, when children often spend time on their smartphones and tablets, this postcard may be a message from the teacher to her granddaughter, “Let’s play outside as much as we can.”

As a Japanese traditional culture

For me, this postcard evokes images of the Heian period and brings back pleasant and nostalgic feelings as I turn my attention to old times and nature. I sincerely hope that these songs will be passed down to the next generation as an important part of Japanese traditional culture.

Poem 408 from Ryoujin Hishou

Dance, dance, snail. Dance, dance, snail, or I will let the horses and oxen kick you. I will make them trample you down. If you dance so gracefully, I will allow you to play in the flower beds.

Poem 359 from Ryoujin Hishou

Were you born to play? Were you born to play? When I hear the voice of children playing, my body begins to swing.”













Aki Sawaguchi.


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