Tag Archives: cedars

FGS IV: 410

On summer trees, when His Majesty, the Former Emperor, ordered him to produce a thirty poem sequence.


niji no tatsu
fumoto no sugi wa
kumo ni kiete
mine yori haruru
yūdachi no ame
A rainbow rises above
Cedars in the foothills,
Vanishing in the clouds
Clearing from the peaks,
With an evening shower of rain.

Former Senior Assistant Governor General of Dazai Toshikane

Love VIII: 11


yama fukami
tane aru iwa ni
ouru matsu no
ne yori mo kataki
koi ya nani naru
Deep with the mountains,
Upon the crags where seeds
Grow into pines,
Rooted firmly – how hard
Will our love be?

Lord Ari’ie

Right (Win)

mata wasurezu yo
furukawa nobe no
futamoto no sugi
You vowed it, did you not.
Not to forget me more.
In the River Hatsuse and
River Furu’s meadows
Stand twin cedars.


Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: While there are such things in the heart of the mountains as ‘crags where seeds grow into pines’ (tane aru iwa ni ouru matsu), it is normally by the sea or on rocky coastlines that one finds firmly rooted pine trees. Surely, mountain pines are but lightly rooted? Cedars on River Hatsuse recollects ‘Nor will I ever; a solid brick-kiln’ (wasurezu yo kawaraya), but ‘You vowed it, did you not’ (chigirikina) also reminds me of the old phrase ‘Both our sleeves wringing out’ (katami ni sode o shiboritsutsu), which is most fine. Thus, the Right wins.

SZS I: 11

Composed as a poem on haze.


soko to sirusi no
sugi mo nasi
kasumi no uti ya
miwa no yamamoto
When I gaze across
As sentinels there
No cedars stand;
Are you within the haze,
O, Miwa Mountain’s foot?

Captain of the Middle Palace Guards, Left Division, [Fujiwara no] Takafusa

GSIS XIX: 1147

When he visited, after many years, the home of lady with whom he had once been intimate, she composed this, pretending not to know who he was.


sugi mo sugi
yado mo mukashi no
yado nagara
kawaru wa hito no
kokoro narikeri
The cedars and their
Dwelling make my home just as it was
So long ago;
What has changed is  my


Love I: 29

Left (Tie).


michi ni koyoi wa
sugi no kozue ni
ariake no tsuki
Trailing along
The roads, tonight
Has ended, with
The cedar tops touched
By the dawntime moon.

A Servant Girl.




kokoro koso
yukue mo shiranu
miwa no yama
sugi no kozue no
yūgure no sora
My heart’s
Heading I know not!
On Mount Miwa above
The cedar tops lies
The dusking evening sky.



The Gentlemen of both the Left and Right state that they find no faults in the opposing poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left has ‘cedar tops touched by the dawntime moon’ (sugi no kozue ni ariake no tsuki) and the Right has ‘cedar tops lies the dusking evening sky’ (sugi no kozue no yūgure no sora) – both poems are charming [okashiku mo haberu]. While the Left lacks a reference to Mount Miwa, this makes it sound all the more charming, I think. ‘Dawntime moon’ is particularly fine in its tranquillity, but the Right’s ‘dusking evening sky’ is by no means inferior, so, again, the round should tie.

Love I: 28

Left (Win).


itsuwari no
shirushi to sugi o
miwa no yama
toitsutsu kitaru
kai shinakereba
How false!
For proof to the cedars
On Mount Miwa
Have I come visiting many times
To no purpose.

Lord Suetsune.




miwa no yama
sugi tatsu kado o
toe to dani
tanomenu michi ni
mayoi koro kana
On Mount Miwa
My gate where cedars stand
Come visit – not even
That have you asked, so my way
Have I lost…



Both Right and Left can find no fault with the other’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems refer to Mount Miwa, and it is, perhaps a bit regrettable [kuchioshiku] that the Left uses the phrase ‘How false! For proof’ (itsuwari no shirushi)in this context. In the Right’s ‘my gate where cedars stand’ (sugi tatsu kado) , tatsu sounds insufficient as diction [kotoba, koto tarazu kikoyu]. The Left’s poem, moreover, is tasteful in form [utazama yū naru].

Summer II: 24



narukami wa
nao murakumo ni
irihi ni haruru
yūdachi no sora
Among the crowding clouds yet
Sounds, and
The setting sun shines from a clearing
Sky of evening showers.



Right (Win).


kore mo ya to
hito sato tōki
katayama ni
yūdachi suguru
sugi no muradachi
Could that be it?
Far from human dwellings
In the distant mountains
Passed o’er by evening showers:
A grove of cedar trees…



The Right wonder whether, ‘it is not overly similar to have both “thunder” (naru) and “sound” (todoroku) in a single poem?’ The Left have no comments to make.

Shunzei states, ‘The Left’s poem does seem to have some sort of style about it, but the Right’s “Could that be it?” (kore mo ya) contains many possible meanings, and the phrasing is also pleasant, as is “a grove of cedar trees” (sugi no muradachi), and thus, it must win.’