It was an absolute delight to once again see the entire crew of Chihayafuru. Each time I watch this anime I get chills, inspiration, and exhilaration all at the same time—a nice set of feelings, I would say—as if I’m trapped in this subtle yet impassionate spell of Karuta.
As it was revealed, the Chihayafuru (Chihayaburu) card is rich with meanings. The original point of the poem was to compare the surface of the Tatsuta River with floating red autumn leaves, to a band of blue cloth tie-dyed with scarlet. As Chihaya would simply put, this special card talks about the scenic autumn view of the red Tatsuta River.
Another way to look at it, as Kana would point out, is that the poem talks about the passionate affair between Ariwara no Narihira and Nijo no Kisaki who later on married the emperor. It was said that the poet, Ariwara no Narihira, was trying to express his secret relationship with the future empress by likening his love to the unchanging nature of the screen picture of the beautiful autumn image of the Tatsuta river.
But for us, the viewers, we integrate this lovely card to the shoujo and sports aspects of Chihayafuru. Apparently, the empress could be associated to Chihaya. But what about Ariwara no Narihira? Is it Arata or Taichi? It definitely depends on who we ship.
Arata doesn’t appear as often as Taichi. However, not only he unlocked the fun world of Karuta, it’s also evident that he was the one who could inspire Chihaya the most. In fact, even other characters such as Taichi and Shinobu are moved by his presence. Hence as a catalyst character and Karuta genius, it seemed like this megane bishie is being favoured to end up with Chihaya. Come to think of it, Arata and Chihaya were once likened to Hikoboshi and Orihime, having karuta as their bridge.
Then there’s Taichi. Between the two guys, it’s apparent that he’s the underdog. I personally like him because he works extra hard in everything he does and he evolves from a jerk to a mature leader—a very interesting and relatable character. But what I liked the most about him is how he’s always there for Chihaya no matter what happens.
Since Arata is highly implied as soon-to-be Karuta master, I’d like to think of him as the emperor and Taichi as Ariwara no Narihira. However, I hope that the empress will prefer the poet over the emperor in the end.
Moreover, Chihayafuru inspires me to explore Karuta as a sport. I truly find it remarkable how poem reading was turned into athletics with elegant wardrobe. Every swing, hit, stoop, and bend are just as important as mentally engaging with the cards and carefully listening to the words of the reader. Most of all, it’s fascinating how “every poem read sends you back a thousand years. How many sports are capable of such a feat?”
I may not be able to play competitive Karuta for the rest of my life. It may be shallow for me to say, but I’m truly happy that Chihayafuru introduced me to the wonderful offspring of shoujo, poetry, and sports.
Other Chihayafuru Posts:
- Let’s Face It. Expressions and Emotions in Chihayafuru
- 8th Day of Anime: Watching Chihayafuru on Fangirl Mode
- Gestures, Movements, and Karuta
- Authenticity of Chihaya’s Dream
A few more thoughts:
- Chihaya is such a sweetheart. I love her so much~ ♡
- Chihaya x Shinobu still remains my official ship. I hope to see more of them together.
- I’m hoping that one day I can play competitive Karuta.
- My absence in blogging is due to the projects that I’m working on in order to complete my placement. And lately, it’s really difficult for me to get back into the blogging groove. On the flip side, I’m learning how to draft a post.