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.

Some could argue that only Japanese people or people fluent in Japanese with in-depth knowledge of Japanese literature can find “significant truths” in the poem. Others might state that a background in Buddhism or literary criticism are more helpful into finding significant truths.

Research into the poem’s use of language, different ideas about authorship are examples of areas that could be categorized under “finding truths” rather than “finding significant truths.”


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