Tag Archives: boat

SKKS XI: 1072

When His Majesty’s gentlemen were composing poems on love and the wind, during the reign of former emperor Toba.


oikaze ni
yae no shioji o
kogu fune no
honoka ni dani mo
aimiteshi kana
The pursuing wind
Tracks ‘cross eightfold tidal paths
To reach the boat a’rowing out,
Its sails, so distant, but
Even a glimpse of you would do!

Supernumerary Middle Counsellor Morotoki

SKKS IX: 883

When Cloistered Prince Shukaku ordered him to compose a fifty poem sequence.


tare to shimo
shiranu wakare no
kanashiki wa
matsura ga oki o
izuru funabito
Who that is
I know not, but parting’s
Sadness strikes
On the offing at Matsura where
He departs on his boat…  

Lord Fujiwara no Takanobu

A kuzushiji version of the poem's text.
Created with Soan.

Sahyōe no suke sadafumi uta’awase 17

Left (Tie)


au koto no
ima wa katao ni
naru fune no
kazama matsu mi wa
yoru kata mo nashi
Meeting you has made me
Now a reef-sailed
Awaiting the wind, with
No course to set.




nede machishi
hatsuka no tsuki no
hatsuka ni mo
aimishi koto o
itsuka wasuremu
Sleepless I awaited
The twentieth night’s moon, when
In the dimness
We did meet—
When might I forget it?


Shiki koi sanshu uta’awase – Autumn




aki no yo no
ariake ni miredo
hisakata no
tsuki no katsura wa
utsurouwanu kana
An autumn night’s
Dawn I see, yet
The eternal
Moon’s silver trees
Show no sign of fading!



aki hagi no
hana saku koro no
shiratsuyu wa
shitaba no tame to
wakite okubeshi
In autumn, the bush clover
Flowers bloom—just then
Silver dewdrops
For the under-leaves
Do fall, marking every one.



akikaze wa
inaba mo soyo to
kari miru hodo to
nari ya shinuran
The autumn breeze
Seems to rustle the rice stalks
As it blows;
Seeing if ‘tis time to reap them—
Is that what it is, I wonder?




ama no kawa
towataru fune wa
ho ni izuru hodo zo
kage mo miyubeki
Across the River of Heaven
A boat goes ferrying:
When the silver grass
Ears burst into bloom,
Can its shape be seen.



saga no hana oba
iro nagara
aki o sakari to
iwarezu mogana
Blossoms from Saga
Reveal their hues, and
In autumn are most fine—that
Goes without saying!



saoshika no
asa tatsu kiri ni
mine no kozue wa
iro kokarikeri
Within the rising morning mist on
Urifu Moutain, where
The treetops on the peak
Have taken darker hues.


Love X: 4

Left (Tie)

fune no uchi ni
sashimo ukitaru
chigiri made
urayamu hodo no
e ni koso arikere
Within a boat
Such a brief
Bond is formed; yet
Do I envy it,
I really do!

Lord Ari’ie


sono hito to
wakite matsuran
tsuma yori mo
aware wa fukaki
nami no ue kana
There is her, and
My waiting
Far fonder am I
Upon the waves!


Left and Right state: neither has any fault.

In judgement: the configuration and diction of both poems sounds pleasant. I must make this a tie.

Love X: 3


ukifune ni
hitoyo bakari no
chigiri dani
nado arigataki
wa ga mi naruramu
In a drifting boat
A single night’s
Brief bond – even that:
Why so rarely
Do I get it?

Lord Suetsune

Right (Win)

tare to naki
ukine o shinobu
ama no ko mo
omoeba asaki
urami narikeri
Knowing not with whom
She’ll briefly sleep, and regret
Is my diving girl:
But considering, little
Will it trouble her!


The Right state: ‘drifting boat’ (ukifune) fails to link properly with ‘single night’ (hitoyo). The Left state: although ‘diving girl’ (ama no ko) is used in the source poem in the section on pleasure girls in the Collection of Poems to Sing, we wonder about the appropriateness of simply using it to mean pleasure girl.

In judgement: there is no need to critique whether or not ‘drifting boat’ links with ‘single night’. In the final section ‘why so rarely’ (nado arigataki), though, makes me wonder why this should be the case! On the matter of the Right’s use of ‘diving girl’, our predecessors, including Lord Kintō, have provided poems on pleasure girls in the Collection of Poems to Sing, and who, indeed, would not utilize this? Furthermore, ‘knowing not with whom she’ll briefly sleep, and regret’ (tare to naki ukine o shinobu) certainly sounds like a pleasure girl! Thus, the Right must win over a pleasure girl finding it hard to get custom.

Love VII: 11

Left (Tie).

hito no kokoro wa
unabara no
oki yuku funa no
ato no shiokaze
Ever more distant grows
His heart:
Into the sea-plains of
The offing goes a boat,
Wake touched by the tidewinds…

Lord Sada’ie


wata tsu umi no
nami no anata ni
hito wa sumu
kokoro aranan
kaze no kayoiji
The endless sea:
Beyond its waves
Does my love live;
Had they any pity,
The winds would make my path to her!


The Gentlemen of the Right state: there are too many uses of no. Would it not have been better to reduce their number with, for example, ‘o, sea-plains!’ (unabara ya)? We also wonder about the use of ‘wake touched by the tidewinds’ (ato no shiokaze). The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘does my love live’ (hito wa sumu) is grating on the ear.

In judgement: saying that the Left’s poem has too many identical words is clearly relying upon the long-established hornet-hip or crane-knee faults. In today’s poetry there are countless poems in which these faults can be identified. In addition, ‘into the sea-plains’ (unabara no) and ‘o, sea-plains’ (unabara ya) are the same. I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that in this poem, it has to be ‘into the sea-plains’. Finally, ‘wake touched by the tidewinds’ is elegant. As for the Right’s ‘beyond its waves does my love live’ (nami no anata ni hito wa sumu), this is not grating, is it? It seems that the Gentleman of the Right, being so well-read in Chinese scholarship, has required revisions to the faulty poem of the Left in the absence of the judge. Thus, what can a grand old fool do but make the round a tie.

MYS XVI: 3869


opobune ni
wobune piki sope
kaduku tomo
sika no arawo ni
kaduki apame ya mo
If a great ship to
A little boat were attached, and
Dived down, even so
Would Arao from Shika
Meet them beneath the seas?

It is said that the above poems were composed in the years of Jinki [724-729], when the Dazai provincial government ordered a peasant by the name of Munakatabe no Tsumaro from the district of Munakata in Chikuzen province to captain a boat taking provisions to Tsushima. So, Tsumaro went to the home of a fisherman called Arao in the village of Shika in the district of Kasuya, and said to him, ‘I have a request to make of you. Will you hear me out?’ Arao replied, ‘The district in which I live is different from yours, but we have sailed on the same ship for many years. I feel closer to you than to my brothers. Even should we be about to die together, I would not dare to abandon you.’ So Tsumaro said, ‘The officials of the Dazai government have ordered me to captain a boat carrying provisions to Tsushima. However, I am grown old and my strength is failing me, and I do not think I would survive the voyage. Thus I have come to you. I beg you, please take on this duty in my place.’ Arao agreed and in due course, in line with his duty, set sail from Mineraku Point in Matsura in Bizen Province. As he was sailing straight across to Tsushima, suddenly clouds filled the sky, the wind and the rain arose, he could not catch a favourable breeze, and his ship sank to the bottom of the sea. His wife and children, unable to endure feeling like a calf which has lost its mother, composed these poems. An alternative explanation is that the Governor of Chikuzen, Yamanoue no Okura felt sympathy for the woman and her children, and composed them in their stead.