Fujiwara no Mototoshi (?-1142) was a learned scholar who was often called upon to judge at poetry competitions at court, where he developed a reputation as a rigorous and irascible critic. So much so, in fact, that courtiers were known to react with dread upon learning that he had been selected to be a judge at a competition at which they were appearing. Mototoshi was an arch-conservative and a reactionary who fought relentlessly against any signs of innovation in waka composition. There are many tales of his rivalry with his contemporary, Minamoto no Shunrai, who was an innovator – particularly of Mototoshi’s flagrant breaches of uta awase etiquette by frequently awarding himself the majority of the victories in poetry competitions where both he and Shunrai were competing.
Mototoshi has the following poems in the Japan 2001 Waka:
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