Karuta in English - Ogoola Karuta

Our mission is to spread
poetry and karuta all over the world

What is Karuta?

Karuta is a traditional Japanese card game played since over 400 years. This card game is unique because the cards have famous poems on them and it is about listening and being fast. Although it is a card game, it is very physical and sporty. Karuta became famous worldwide due to the anime and manga Chihayafuru.

How to play:
To begin with, a reader is chosen to read the reading cards aloud. The reading cards have poems on them and as soon as the reader starts to read the poems, the players compete to grab the matching playing card first. You have to be the first to grab the card to win!

Today, over one million karuta players in Japan compete in clubs and  they have a grand National championship every January.

Click here to see the game in action on Instagram


Above is an image of the Hyakuninisshu English Karuta, expansion pack using the Makurakotoba.

English Karuta since 2009!

For all of you interested in playing karuta in English, you have landed in the right place.

We specialize in making karutas in English, German, French, Swedish and Chinese.

It is important to know that we have different types of karuta.

  1. The Ogoola Karuta series using poetry quotations written originally in English or other languages.
  2. The Hyakuninisshu Translated Karuta.
  3. The Hyakuninisshu Romaji Karuta
Ogoola English Karuta

Ogoola English Karuta is an English karuta which the concept is based on the Japanese card game, karuta. It uses famous poetry quotations written by English, Irish, Scottish and American poets such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats, Byron, Blake, Dickinson, Tennyson, Yeats, Joyce, H.D., Frost, Eliot, Plath, Heaney, Merwin, Hirshfield and many more.

For the first time in history, you can play karuta with English, American, Irish and Scottish poems.

Hyakuninisshu English Karuta

The Hyakuninisshu English Karuta is an English translated karuta of the original Ogura Hyakunin-isshu. The Ogura Hyakunin-isshu is the anthology of the one hundred classical Japanese poems written by one hundred poets selected by Fujiwara no Teika in 1235. In the anime Chihayafuru, they play karuta with these 100 classical poems.

The Hyakuninisshu English Karuta features the original Japanese karuta from Shogundo in Kyoto on one side, and the English translation on the other side.

The translation is by Clay MacCauley (1917) which follows the original 575-77 syllables form of the Tanka. Tanka is the classical Japanese short poems. This translation enables you to sing the poems in the original melody sung at the karuta tournaments in Japan.

Hyakuninisshu Romaji Karuta

New! The Hyakuninisshu Romaji Karuta is the ultimate karuta for people who want to play karuta in Japanese but can not read Japanese characters.

With this karuta, you can play in Japanese like in Chihayafuru – without knowing the Japanese characters!

All 100 poems are carefully transliterated to western (roman) letters and each card has a clue (kimariji) that helps you recognize the correct card.

Romaji is the romanization of the Japanese written language. It is the transliteration of Japanese terms to the Roman text or other languages that use the Roman alphabet. There are different romanization systems of the Japanese language. This Romaji karuta uses the Hepburn system.

Each card has the original Japanese karuta from Shogundo printed on one side and the same text written in Romaji on the other side.

The companion reader apps for our karutas:

We offer a free reader apps for our karutas. The reader app can act as the reader if everyone wants to play or if you are only two persons and you need a reader.

Click below and listen to the new translation of the reading card no.17. The new translation uses the original Makurakotoba, Chihayaburu. The new translated cards are available in the expansion pack.