Tag Archives: blooms

Taikenmon’in horikawa-shū 11


naFasiro midu ni
kage miete
tanaka no sato no
yamabuki no Fana
So, they have bloomed;
Among the waters of the seedling beds
Do I see the light;
At the dwelling among the rice-fields
Of the kerria blooms.

Taikenmon’in Horikawa

Winter I: 9



shimo fureba
wakamurasaki no
iro haete
kiku wa oisenu
hana ni zo arikeru
With frost-fall,
A fresh violet
Hue shines out;
Chrysanthemums show not their age –
Such blooms are they!



Right (Win).


magaki no kiku no
murasaki wa
fuyu ni utsurou
iro ni zo arikeru
Stained a different hue,
The chrysanthemums by my lattice fence
With violet
Show the shift to winter –
Such is their hue!

Lord Tsune’ie.


Neither Left nor Right have any criticisms to make.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are on ‘violet chrysanthemums’, and the Left’s ‘Chrysanthemums show not their age’ (kiku wa oisenu) is elegant [yū naru], but in terms of diction [kotoba] I find myself unable to accept [shokisubekarazu] ‘hue shines out’ (iro haete). The Right’s ‘Show the shift to winter – such is their hue!’ (fuyu ni utsurou iro ni zo arikeru), sounds pleasant [yoroshiku kikoe habere] and is in line with the Theory of the Five Elements. Violet is a colour obtained by adding black to red. Thus, it is a suitable hue to place between Autumn and Winter. The Right have composed upon such a conception most naturally [sono kokoro shizen ni yomaretaru]. It seems he is most knowledgeable about the elemental turning of the seasons [go gyō no rinten o shireru ni nitari]. The poem is pleasant in conception and configuration [kokoro sugata yoroshiki]. Again, the Right should win.

Autumn II: 8

Left (Win).


yūgiri ni
chigusa no hana wa
kakurenu mono wa
mushi no koegoe
In the evening mists
A multitude of blooms
Are enveloped, yet
Unhidden are
The insects’ songs…

Lord Suetsune.




nobe no iro wa
mina usuzumi ni
shibashi to miyu
yūgiri no sora
The fields’ hues
Have all with a weak wash of ink
Been overlayed;
Only briefly yet visible
Is the misty evening sky…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that, ‘The Left’s poem is supposed to be on the theme of “evening mists”, but it seems to be more focussed on “insects”. The Left counter with, ‘the use of “weak wash of ink” (usuzumi) is unsuited to the end of the poem. The theme of “autumn evenings” is dully depicted, is it not?’

Shunzei’s judgement: Although the Left’s poem does begin with ‘in the evening mists’ (yūgiri ni), it certainly is a poem on insects. In terms of diction, though, ‘all with a weak wash of ink’ (mina usuzumi) is not permissible. Thus, even though it is on insects, the Left wins.