https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Portrait_of_Kobo_Daishi_%28Kukai%29%2C_14th_century_Art_Institute_of_Chicago.jpg

Iroha is a Japanese poem that is roughly 1000 years old. It was originally written in an older writing system (Man’yōgana) that many Japanese people now cannot read. The poem has deep and complex links to Kobo Daishi, as well as Japanese language, culture, and religion. There are a number of different translations in English but much of the poem is lost in translation.

Kobo Daishi may or may not have written the poem but regardless of the authorship it would not exist without his “unique, unprecedented, and unrepeatable” contributions to Japanese Buddhism.

Readers and researchers also have “unique, unprecedented, and unrepeatable” interpretations of the poem.



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