“In the game of Uta-garuta (‘poem cards’), there are two hundred cards. One hundred of these are decorated with portraits of poets and the first two lines of famous classic verses. [The standard collection of poems used is the Hyakunin Isshu, chosen by poet Fujiwara no Teika in the Heian period.] These are to be matched with the corresponding hundred on which the remaining lines of the poems are inscribed.
“Of the many ways of playing uta-garuta, chirashi, ‘spread out’, is the most exciting. The cards bearing the last part of the poems are laid face up on the floor. Those inscribed with the first lines are held by the ‘reader’, who reads them aloud one by one. The other players strive to pick up the corresponding card and he who at the last holds the most in declared winner.”
– “The Japanese New Year’s Festival, Games and Pastimes”, by Helen Gunsaulus, Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago), 1923