Past Participle Hyakunin Isshu

Karyn, 15 3月, 2017
To help students remember the past participle of irregular verbs
Yomifuda reading cards, torifuda karuta cards, list of all verbs in the game

It’s difficult to memorize the past participle, but this karuta game hopefully makes it a little easier (and more fun).

Make a list of irregular verbs to be used in the game. My list has 28 verbs.

Make 2 sets of cards – the yomifuda (reading cards) with the present and past tenses & the torifuda (karuta cards) with the past participle. It helps to color them differently.

I played it in 2 lessons.

In the first lesson, we read the list out loud a few times before we played the game. I was the reader (yomite).

– Decide before the game starts if there will be penalties for taking the wrong card (otezuki). I didn’t have penalties, but banned them from slapping the cards more than once.

– If your students can manage it, do karafuda (read cards which are no longer in play) when you get to the last two or three cards to keep them on their toes.

In the second lesson, I made the oldest (or youngest/tallest/shortest…superlative practice!) person in the group the reader, and added a new rule that players had to say the past participle to get the card.

– Go around and make sure the readers aren’t just showing the cards to the players. Check their pronunciation too.

– Play at least twice if time allows. The readers usually get disappointed that they don’t get to play, so changing readers gives them a chance to play too.

– For groups that go really fast, I let them keep playing after changing readers again.


This is the perfect season for playing hyakunin isshu since they would have just played it recently.

For a quieter option, you can play memory with the cards

hyakunin1.docx (14.01 KB)


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