The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem is not bad.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘at Miwa had I met you’ (kimi o shi miwa no) is elegant, but the final section is lacks force. The Right’s reaping reeds at Naniwa has only a faint sense of a merchant. Thus, the Left’s ‘Miwa Market’ (miwa no ichi) wins.
The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks much of a conception of pleasure girls. In appeal: the poem was written in the conception of Mochitoki’s Chinese poem on pleasure girls ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. The Left state: the Right’s poem has nothing worth mentioning.
In judgement: is the conception of pleasure girls really absent from the Left’s ‘parting the reeds, and singing to the moon’ (ashima wake tsuki ni utaite)? The case certainly cannot rely on ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. A Chinese poem expresses its topic in its initial line. It is normal for the introduction of the topic to be vague. Japanese and Chinese poetry have aspects where they are similar, and aspects where they differ. Thus, it is not appropriate to cite a Chinese poem’s broaching of its topic as evidence for a Japanese poem’s content. There are certainly other examples by Mochitoki, such as his overlong line in ‘in a boat atop the waves, but I find the same pleasure in life’. The line about reed-leaves can in no way function as proof. Thus this poem, as ‘an old fisherman sings a single shanty’ could be said to be about an old man. As a result, given the lack of clarity in the poem, it is not possible to accept that it is about a pleasure girl. The Right’s poem concludes ‘that moon-sung girl is dear to me, indeed’ (tsuki ni utaishi imo zo koishiki). The final line seems to be almost pointlessly pedestrian, but the poem is certainly about love for a pleasure girl. The Right must win.
The Right state: the Left’s poem does not refer to a specific mountain – we wonder whether this is acceptable? In addition, ‘in autumn have my sleeves’ (aki ni naru sode) and ‘she…as a storm’ (hito no arashi) is difficult to understand. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to indicate.
In judgement: in connection with the criticism made of the Left’s poem, I do not feel that it is always essential to refer to a specific mountain. The other matters are, indeed, difficult to understand. The underlying sense of the Right’s poem seems overly pretentious. It is reminiscent of the tales of Boyi and Shuqi, or of Jie Zhitui, and Mount Shouyang and Mount Mian. Really, it does put me in mind of the Four White-Headed Recluses of Mount Shang, where it says, ‘They emerged due to the plans of Zhang Liang, made for Huidi, who said, “Though I may lie down with the greybeards, enjoying Mount Shang myself, all, in the end, are people under Zhang Liang.”’ It is extremely difficult, in the end, to make these sentiments relevant to our own land. Thus, I find it inappropriate to accept the content of the Right’s poem. The Left’s poem has its faults, too, so cursorily, I make this round a tie.