‘Iroha-tatoe’ is phrases written by a form of Japanese poems and proverbs in Japanese card game called karuta. “Iroha-tatoe 8 Questions” were composed based on eight hiragana letters and accompanying short phrases from Iroha-tatoe; for example, ‘I’ followed by ‘Issun saki ha Yami (Nobody knows what may happen tomorrow)’ and ‘Ro’ followed by ‘Rongo-yomi no Rongo shirazu (a person reading “The Analects” don’t know the real meaning)’ were used as its musical theme. “Iroha-tatoe 8 Questions” is consisted of eight sections, ‘I’, ‘Ro’, ‘Ha’, ‘Ni’, Ho’, ‘He’ and ‘To’. Its order of performance is not designated.
A section composed with ‘Ha’ followed by ‘Hari no ana kara tenjō nozoku (looking at the ceiling from the eye of needle)’ is assumed to be of Cantilena. It has ironical taste that the left hand and the right hand follow the same tone by progressing toward the opposite way, and the movement overlaps with the meaning of the poem. Another section composed with ‘He’ followed by a phrase ‘Heta no Nagadangi (Being keen on something although one is not good at doing it)’, progress with repeating the same pattern of tone with grace notes. The musical idea of the section ‘He’ was derived from a technic called ‘Yuri’ in Shakuhachi playing. This can be related to his works for Shakuhachi “Chikurai Goshō” and “Taiwa Godai”. ‘Chi’ is the first letter of a phrase ‘Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru (Many a little makes a mickle)’ and the section written based on this text is a collection of small fragments. This section ‘Chi’ bears the role of cadenza and can be played with another seven pieces at a pianist’s discretion.
“Iroha-tatoe 8 Questions” is consisted of eight sections, so you can play them all at a time or play them by division. Moroi, who was a pleasure-loving man, said that it is not required to play all of the 8 sections (you can leave some part out), even more, you do not have to play it at all.’