Ametsuchi no Uta (a Japanese pangram) (天地の歌)

Ametsuchi no Uta (literally, song of heaven and earth) is a pangram, which contains all the kana (the Japanese syllabary) characters as syllables of song. Actually, Ametsuchi no Uta (Uta means a song) is not a song and it may be appropriate to be called as Ametsuchi no Kotoba (literally, words of heaven and earth), however, it is commonly called as Ametsuchi no Uta. The first appearance as written reference to this song was in the Kutsukoburi no Uta (a suite of waka with acrostic technique) in which the syllables of Ametsuchi no Uta were quoted, picked up in a Shikashu (a private poetry collection) "MINAMOTO no Shitago's Poetry Book"(established during the middle to end of Heian period) written by MINAMOTO no Shitago (911-983). Because two kinds of characters to express the pronunciation of "ko" found in the ancient special Kana usage are not distinguished while エ of the row of ア in the gojuonzu (a "fifty-sound" syllabary chart) and エ of the row of ヤ are distinguished, Ametsuchi no Uta is thought to have been established in the beginning of Heian period (around A.D. 900). Following the structure of the Senjimon (a poem consisting of one thousand Chinese characters) in China, four nouns constitute one line of the poem at first, but it shows collapse already in the fifth line in terms of formality as verbs are used there and in addition meaningless words are placed in the sixth line; therefore it is hard to say this poem is a good piece. However, still Ametsuchi no Uta had been used mainly as a pangram until the late Heian period when The Iroha became popular, probably because there had been no appropriate alternatives until then. It is also called as 'Ametsuchi' or 'Ametsuchihoshiso'.

[Original Japanese]