A reference to Henjō (816-890) one of the major poets of the Kokinshu. In the Preface to this anthology, Ki no Tsurayuki describes Henjō as one whose ‘style is good but who lack sincerity. His poetry is like a painting of a woman which stirs one’s heart in vain.’ (as translated by Laurel Rasplica Rodd (1996: 43)) 「僧正遍照は、歌の様は得たれども、誠少し。たとへば、絵に描ける女を見て、いたづらに心を動かすがごとし」[sōjō henjō wa uta no sama wa etaredomo makoto sukoshi. tatoeba e ni kakeru onna o mite itazura ni kokoro o ugokasu ga gotoshi.]
The Japanese reading of the characters 長康, which made up Gu Kaizhi’s style name of Changkang.
Gu Kaizhi 顧愷之 (c.344-406) a famous Chinese painter.
The name of a village in the state of Qi (齊) where Chong’er (重耳 – Duke Wen’s given name) spent some years in exile.
Duke Wen of Jin (晉文公; Jìn Wén Gōng, 697–628 BC) was the ruler of the state of Jin from 636-628 BC. He is remembered in the histories for having spent much of his life in exile from his home following a breakdown in relations with his father. Upon his assumption of the Dukedom, the state of Jin expanded and became one of the most powerful in ancient China.
Shunzei here is referring to how the Japanese word for ‘waves’ (nami) is transformed to the word for ‘tears’ (namida) with the addition of voiced ta (da).
The commentators speculate here that Shunzei’s basis for this judgement is a personal preference for the Right’s more negative outlook, as opposed to the positive one of the Left.
The suggestion here is that the poem conveys too much expectation that event will work out as the poet wishes, and so lacks the nervousness which a proper lover should display.
蓬莱山 a mystical land in Chinese mythology, said to be home to the Eight Immortals. Qin Shihuang sought it in his later years, in search of the elixir of immortality.
259 BC-210 BC (r. 221BC-210). First emperor of a unified China and a pivotal figure in Chinese history.