Iroha Karuta is a card game that originated in the mid-Edo period in Japan. It is played especially in new year and contains a variety of didactic expressions and humor. Through this game, one can learn life lessons while having fun playing it. In this study, researcher will try to clarify the characteristics of the Japanese people through Iroha Karuta. Expressions or short poems used in this game such as, "Chirimo tsumoreba yama to naru" which means "Pile of dust makes a big mountain", and "Raku areba ku ari" which means "There is no pleasure without pain" teach the importance of tireless effort, and perseverance in the face of difficulties. Other expressions like "Gei ha mi wo tasukeru" which means "Art brings bread" contains the lesson that it is better to learn some art or skill because it will be useful at some point and sometimes even earn you a living. Also "Tabi wa michidure yo wa nasake", which means "No road is long with good company", expresses importance of having someone as companion and to support each other on the journey. These and many other expressions used in the Iroha Karuta describe Japanese way of thinking, their values, and perception of life. It is a good way to understand characteristics of Japanese people and outlook on life that Japanese people consider important.
Expressions or poems used in this game can be categorized as expressions on "View of life", "Relationships", "Values", and "Sense of satire".
Aneesah Nishaat, Soka University, Japan