Tag Archives: asa

Love IV: 10


asa tode no
imo ga furikosu
kurokami wa
miru yosome sae
kokoro midarenu
In the morning, opening the door
Draped with my love’s
Tresses of black:
The sight any
Heart would excite!



oshimishi sode no
utsuriga o
yoso ni mo ima wa
omoi koso yare
To leave, upon my sleeves
Her scent was left, and
Now, so far away,
It recalls her still…


The Right state: the Left’s poem is pretentious. The Left state: the conception of morning fails to appear in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: Although the Left’s ‘tresses of black’ (kurokami) is used extremely frequently, the configuration of combining it with ‘my love, opening the door in the morning’ (asa tode no imo) whose ‘sight any heart would excite’ (miru yosome sae kokoro midare) is terrifying, is it not? The Right’s ‘upon my sleeves her scent was left’ (sode no utsuriga) does not sound objectionable. Although the conception of morning there is lacking, the Left simply has ‘tresses of black’ the ‘heart would excite’, which does not sound particularly in keeping with Love so, overall, the round should tie.

Winter II: 22



kiehito no
madarabusuma wa
itama yori
shimo oku yowa no
na ni koso arikere
The Kie folk’s
Motley-coloured coverlet:

From between the boards
The falling midnight frost has
Given that name to mine!

Lord Ari’ie.




sayuru yo wa
ama tsu otome mo
ika naran
kaze mo tamaranu
asade kobususma
On this chill, clear night
The maidens of the Heavens, too,
How must they feel?
Unable to avoid the wind,
With only a meagre hempen blanket!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Gentlemen of the Right state: we don’t understand the reference to ‘Kie Folk’ (kiehito). In response, the Gentlemen of the Left state: it occurs in the Man’yōshū. We have nothing more to say than that.

Shunzei’s judgement: although various remarks have been made about ‘Kie Folk’, and it has been said that it occurs in the Man’yōshū, it is not acceptable to simply say that and then say nothing more. It does appear to be something which it is acceptable to extract from the Man’yōshū and compose with, though. The Right’s poem, too, with its conception of frost falling on a ‘meagre hempen blanket’ (asade kobususma) is in a Man’yō style [fūtei]. It is also certainly the case that it is not unreasonable for the Left to have used ‘motley-coloured coverlet’ (madarabususma). The Round should tie.

Winter II: 20



kasanezu wa
ake no koromo
nani naraji
mi o atatameyo
asade kobusuma
With no garments piled with
My vermillion robe
What good is it?
Come, warm my flesh,
O meagre hempen blanket!

Lord Suetsune.




sayuru yo no
samusa mo ima wa
araji kashi
ake no fusuma no
atsuku miyureba
On this chill, clear night
The cold now
You feel not, I think, for
With vermillion has your bedding
Grown thicker, it seems!

Lord Tsune’ie.


Both Left and Right say that the other’s poem is undesirable.

Shunzei’s judgement: The conception and diction [sugata kotoba] of the Left’s ‘come, warm my flesh’ (mi o atatameyo) and the Right’s ‘the cold now’ (samusa mo ima wa) have the Gentlemen of each team stated to be undesirable, but this is not sufficient criticism. Neither poem expresses enough. They are of the same quality.

Winter II: 5



sabishisa no
hajime to zo miru
asa madaki
hadarejimo furu
ono no shinohara
The loneliness
Has begun, I feel,
Early in the morning, with
The dusting frost
On the arrow bamboo groves…

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


asado akete
miyako no tatsumi
yuki no kozue ya
fukakusa no sato
Opening my door one morning, and
South-east of the capital
Turning my gaze,
The snow-laden treetops recall
The depths of the estate at Fukakusa.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Both teams say the other’s poem ‘isn’t bad’ [ashikaranu].

Shunzei’s judgement: Although I feel that this topic of ‘Winter Mornings’ should express the conception of the latter half of winter [fuyu no nakaba sugitaru kokoro], the Left’s poem sounds like one from the beginning of winter, and I wonder about that. ‘South-east of the capital’ (miyako no tatsumi) is taken from the poem by Kisen on Mt Uji, which states ‘South east of the Capital, and so I dwell’ (miyako no tatsumi sika zo sumu). This conception [kokoro] of being there and ‘gazing south-east of the capital’ (miyako no tatsumi nagamureba) to the Fukakusa Estate, is charming [okashiku haberu]. Snow on the treetops in the morning, too, sounds pleasant [yoroshiku kikoyu]. Thus, the Right should win.

Winter II: 4

Left (Win).


hitotose o
asatode ni
usuyuki kōru
sabishisa no hate
All throughout the year
Have I gazed, until I can do no more, then
Opening my door this morning
A light fall of frozen snow
Brings me to the ends of sorrow…

Lord Sada’ie.




hito o sae
towade koso mire
kesa no yuki o
ware fumiwaken
ato no oshiki ni
Even you,
I will not call upon, gazing
At this morning’s snow,
Should I tread through it,
I would regret the tracks I’d leave…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that the Left’s poem is ‘overblown and intimidating’ [yuyushigeni odosaretari]. The Left merely state the Right’s poem is ‘unremarkable’ [tsune no koto nari].

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘All throughout the year have I gazed, until I can do no more’ (hitotose o nagametsukushi), followed by ‘the ends of sorrow’ (sabishisa no hate), gives the impression that the snow must be extremely deep, but saying ‘a light fall of frozen snow’ (usuyuki koru) sounds contrary to the content. The Right’s ‘even you, I will not call upon’ (hito o sae towazu) and ‘should I tread through it, I would regret the tracks’ (ware fumiwaken ato no oshiki ni) more than being trite in conception [tsune no kokoro], is direct in diction [kotoba kudakete], and sounds overly definite [amari tashika ni kikoete], so the conception of ‘I will not call upon, gazing’ (towade koso mire) is inferior to that of ‘light snow’ (usuyuki).