Poetry Contest held at the House of the Captain of the Middle Palace Guards, Right Division
右兵衛督実行歌合 Uhyōe no kami saneyuki uta’awase (‘Poetry Contest held by Saneyuki, Captain of the Middle Palace Guards, Right Division’)
29/6/Gen’ei 1 [19.7.1118]
Fujiwara no Saneyuki 藤原実行
Lord [Minamoto no] Toshiyori 俊頼朝臣; A Court Lady 女房 [Fujiwara no Saneyuki]; Lord [Tokudaiji] Saneyoshi 実能朝臣 (1096-1157); Lord [Fujiwara no] Nagazane 長実朝臣; [Lady] Bizen 肥前 ; [Lady] Daishin 大進; Tachibana no Atsutaka 橘敦隆; the Monk Rinken 琳賢法師 (1074-1150); Master of the Palace Repairs Office [Fujiwara no Akisue] 修理大夫; Tamekane, the Former Emperor’s Chamberlain 為真院蔵人; Inaba 因幡; Lord [Minamoto no] Masasada 雅定朝臣; Lord [Minamoto no] Akinaka 顕仲朝臣; [Fujiwara no] Michitsune 道経; 行宗朝臣; the Monk Yōen 永縁法師 (1048-1125); Lord [Fujiwara no] Akisuke 顕輔朝臣; [Lady] Tango, from the Shijō Palace 四条宮丹後; Tsunekane 経兼
Fujiwara no Akisue 藤原顕季 (1055-1123)
summer moon (natsu no tsuki 夏月); summer breezes (natsu no kaze 夏風); cormorant fishing on the river (ukawa 鵜河); summer love (natsu no koi 夏恋); love and spring waters (izumi ni yoru koi 寄泉恋)
Poetry Contest held at the House of the New Middle Captain
右近衛中将雅定歌合 Ukonoe chūjō masasada uta’awase (‘Poetry Contest held by Masasada, Middle Captain of the Inner Palace Guards, Right Division’)
5/Gen’ei 1 [5.1118]
Minamoto no Masasada 源雅定 (1094-1162)
Master of the Palace Repairs Office [Fujiwara no] Akisue 修理大夫顕季 (1055-1123); Master of the Left Capital Office [Minamoto no] Akinaka 左京大夫顕仲 (1058-1138); Director of Palace Storehouses [Fujiwara no] Nagazane 内蔵頭長実 (1075-1133); Captain of the Middle Palace Guards, Right Division, [Sanjō] Saneyuki 右兵衛督実行 (1080-1162); Middle Captain of the Inner Palace Guards, Right Division, [Minamoto no] Morotoki 右近中将師時 (1077-1136); Middle Captain of the Inner Palace Guards, Right Division, [Minamoto no] Masasada 右近中将雅定; Governor of Kaga [Fujiwara no] Akisuke 賀加守顕輔 (1090-1155); Former Director of Carpentry [Minamoto no] Toshiyori 前木工頭俊頼; Former Assistant Captain of the Middle Palace Guards Akinaka 前兵衛佐顕仲; Right Minor Counsellor [Fujiwara no] Munekane 右小納言宗兼; Ranked without Office, [Fujiwara no] Michitsune 散位道経 (1060-?); Ranked without Office, Tadafusa 散位忠房; Former Governor of Izumi 和泉前司
cuckoos (hototogisu 郭公); showers (samidare 五月雨); love (koi 恋)
Garden Contest held by the Fujitsubo Junior Consort
Autumn, Year unknown
autumn; bell crickets (suzumushi 鈴虫)
There is limited concrete evidence about this contest, with even the identity of the Fujitsubo Junior Consort is uncertain, with some suggestions that this is an alternate title for the Seventh Princess, while others make the case for it being her mother – whose identity is also unclear. If either of these theories were correct, however, it suggests that the poems here may, in fact, have formed part of the Teishi-in – onna shichi no miya uta’awase rather than being part of an independent contest.
There remains the fact, however, that the first of the two poems associated with this contest was included in Shokukokinshū 続古今集 (IV: 332) and attributed to Emperor Uda with the headnote:
Composed by His Majesty when he judged he poems in the Garden Match held by the Fujitsubo Junior Consort.
So there was clearly a belief on the part of the compilers of that anthology when it was put together in 1265 that it was part of an identifiable competition.
Fana no iro Fa konatakanata ni miyumeredo aki no kokoro Fa Fitotu narikeri
The blossoms’ hues So varied Do appear, and yet The heart of autumn Is the same in every one.
ne ni takaku itodo narimase suzumusi Fa siratuyu koto ni okitu to naraba
Their piercing cries Grow all the louder – Should on the bell crickets Silver dewdrops especially Fall…
Poetry Contest held by the Seventh Princess of Former Emperor Uda
13/8 Engi 13 [15.9.913]
Imperial Princess Kaishi 誨子内親王 (?-953) or Imperial Princess Ishi (Yoriko) 依子内親王 (895-936)
garden streams (yarimizu 遣水); high crags (iwao 巌)
As can be seen from the table above there remains uncertainty about the identity of the sponsor of this contest, as both Kaishi and Ishi (Yoriko) are referred to as Uda’s ‘Seventh Princess’ (onna shichi no miya 女七宮) in different texts and thus either could have been the formal sponsor of this contest. Little else is known about it, due to the fact that only two of its’ poems have survived, although the headnote suggests that the contest took place as part of the celebrations of the princess’ mogi 裳着 (‘skirt wearing’) ceremony. This was an event which functioned as a rite-of-passage for noble women when they put on adult clothing for the first time, and was generally conducted at the same time as another ceremony, kamiage 髪上 (‘lifting of the hair’), when they unbound their hair from its childish style and allowed it to flow freely behind them. Combined, these ceremonies indicated that a girl had become an adult and was thus ready for marriage. The mogi ceremony had no fixed age, but was usually carried out between the ages of twelve and sixteen.
These poems are from the evening of the Seventh Princess mogi celebrations, when Her Highness led her gentlemen retainers as participants in the competition.
iFa wakete nagaruru midu no soko ni koso Fisasiki kage Fa mirubekarikere
Passing through the rocks The flowing waters, Indeed, hold beneath An everlasting face which We will behold!
kazoFetutu kimi ga mirubeki iFa no uFe ni kage sashinarabe oFuru Fimematu
Constantly count them and, My Lady, you will surely see Atop the crags, Forms all arrayed, Full grown princess pines!
This is a small-scale contest sponsored by Yōzei some years after he had left the throne. Other than the first round, where a ‘Tie’ is noted, there are no judgements, nor have the poets’ names been recorded. The competition’s most significant feature, therefore, is that it is the sole extant contest on the topic of ‘Love and Summer Insects’ and as such established many of the images and vocabulary usages which subsequent poets used when composing related poetry (Hagitani 1963, 183).
This is one of the most historicially significant poetry competitions because it is the first example we have of an uta’awase as a formal event, where a range of rituals and procedures took place, and poems were judges. We possess this information about it thanks to an extended preamble to the contest text, believed to have been written by Ise, describing who participated in it and how the contest was conducted.
As can be seen from the list of participants above, the majority of poems for the contest were composed by well-known and respected poets of the time. However, these poets did not, in fact, actually present their own work when the contest took place. This was done by a number of more senior nobles, as follows:
(Leader) Imperial Princess Kaishi 誨子内親王 (?-953) Imperial Prince Atsuyoshi 敦慶親王 (888-930) Imperial Prince Atsukata 敦固親王 (?-927) Middle Counsellor (chūnagon 中納言) Fujiwara no Sadakata 藤原定方 (871-931) Captain of the Outer Palace Guards, Left Division (saemon no kami 左衛門督) Fujiwara no Arizane 藤原有実 (847-914) Minamoto no Muneyuki 源宗于 (?-939) Taira no Yoshikaze 平好風 (dates unknown)
(Leader) Imperial Princess Ishi (Yoriko) 依子内親王 (895-936) Imperial Prince Atsumi 敦実親王 (893-967) Imperial Prince Sadakazu 貞数親王 (875-916) Prince Kanemi 兼覧王 Middle Counsellor (chūnagon 中納言) Minamoto no Noboru 源昇 (848-918) Captain of the Outer Palace Guards, Right Division (uemon no kami 右衛門督) Fujiwara no Kiyotsura 藤原清貫 Kiyomichi きよみち
The judgements on the poems were provided by Uda himself, after Fujiwara no Tadafusa 藤原忠房 (?-929), who had been asked to perform the role, failed to attend.
The contest was originally intended to have ten rounds on each of its topics for a total of eighty poems, but as a result of the performance taking longer than expected, the second two topics on Summer and Love were curtailed to five rounds each.