Tag Archives: 有原業平


Composed during a gentle rain and sent to a woman he had been secretly seeing since the first day of the Third Month.


oki mo sezu
ne mo sede yoru wo
akasite Fa
Faru no mono tote
nagame kurasitu
Not awake and yet
Not sleepless through the night, and
With the dawn
Comes a scene from Spring:
Ever-falling rain to gaze upon all day.

Ariwara no Narihira (825-880)

KKS XI: 476

At the archery display by the Bodyguards of the Right on the Sixth day of the Fifth month, faintly seeing a lady’s face through the curtains of her carriage, he composed this, and sent it to her.


mizu mo arazu
mi mo senu Fito no
koFisiku Fa
ayanaku keFu ya
Not unseen,
Yet not seen, lady;
Have I longed
To no purpose, today,
Lost in thoughts of you?

Ariwara no Narihira

KKS IX: 418

Once, when he had gone hunting in the company of Prince Koretaka, they dismounted by the banks of a river called Ama no Gawa (River of Heaven), and while they were tippling, the Prince commanded that Narihira offer him a wine cup with a poem expressing the feelings of a hunter arriving at the river of Heaven, so he composed the following:

kari kurasi
tanabatatume ni
yado karamu
ama no kaFara ni
ware Fa kinkeri
While hunting night is falling,
So from the Weaver Maid
Let us beg lodging
For to the Riverbank of Heaven
Have we come!

Ariwara no Narihira

KKS IX: 411

When they arrived at the banks of the Sumida River, between the provinces of Musashi and Shimotsūsa, they thought fondly of the capital and, dismounting for a while on the river bank, they thought sadly about how far they had come. While they were gazing into space, the ferryman said, “Get on the boat quickly! The sun is going down.” So, they boarded and were about to set off, each one thinking miserably about someone he had left in the capital, when they saw a white bird with a red bill and legs splashing about in the river shallows. As it was a bird never seen in the capital, none of them could say what it was, so they asked the ferryman, and he replied that it was a miyakodori (capital bird); hearing this, Narihira composed the following:


na ni si oFaba
iza koto toFamu
wa ga omoFu Fito Fa
ari ya nasi ya to
If your name fits you,
There’s something I would ask,
O, Capital bird:
Is the lady in my thoughts
Still quite safe?

Ariwara no Narihira

KKS IX: 410

Once, he was travelling to the Eastlands with one or two friends. On reaching a place called Yatsuhashi in the province of Mikawa, they saw there were irises (kakitsubata) blooming particularly beautifully by the river. Dismounting, and resting in the shade of a tree, he composed this poem, expressing the feelings of someone homesick, with the correct syllable of kakitsubata at the beginning of each line.


kitutu narenisi
tuma si areba
Farubaru kinuru
tabi wo si zo omoFu
A Chinese robe
I have worn so often I know it
As I do my wife;
Having come so far
This journey rests heavy on my thoughts.

Ariwara no Narihira