Tag Archives: fisherfolk

Love VI: 30

Left (Tie).

nago no ama no
shio yaku kemuri
sora ni nomi
wa ga na wo tatete
yaman to ya suru
At Nago the fisherfolk’s
Salt-burning smoke fills
The skies; is that all
My names is to be? Gossip
And then the end?



yamada moru
kaiya ga shita no
kemuri koso
kogare mo yaranu
tagui narikere
Warding the mountain fields
Beneath the heated hut
The smoke
Smoulders without end –
And so do I!


The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: we wonder about the usage of ‘beneath the heated hut’ (kaiya ga shita) with ‘warding the mountain fields’ (yamada moru). In reply: in the Man’yōshū ‘heated hut’ (kaiya), is written with characters meaning ‘deer-repelling fire hut’. In addition, in territories where they wish to drive the deer away from their mountain paddies, they take things which smell foul when burnt, such as hair, and burn them, and in order that the fires are not put out by the rain, they build a roof over them. The common folk of these places call these things ‘heated huts’ (kaiya). So, the Man’yōshū’s usage corresponds with actual practice. Again, a further criticism from the Left: the Master of the Crown Prince’s Household Office composed a poem on salting. Atsutaka also includes ‘heated hut’ in the section on mosquito fires. Such are the ideas of our forebears. That ‘heated hut’ is written in Man’yōshū with characters meaning ‘deer-repelling fire’ and ‘scented fire’ is no proof of anything. Might it not have been written this way so that it would be read to mean ‘keep’? One certainly cannot sweepingly say that it means ‘deer-repelling fire’. A further response from the Right: our forebears have presented no definite evidence, and so it is difficult to accept this argument. In addition, has it not long been accepted that ‘morning haze’ can be used to refer to the smoke from deer-repelling fires, when composing on the haze spreading? Furthermore, in the Hitomaroshū, there is the poem ‘On Kogane Mountain / Beneath the heated hut / Frogs call’. Thus, it appears that this composition must refer to mountain fields.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘At Nago the fisherfolk’ (nago no ama) links the initial and latter sections of the poem extremely well. There seems to be have been some discussion from both teams about the Right’s ‘beneath the heated hut the smoke’ (kaiya ga shita no kemuri). Prior to the to and fro about this poem, was there not a similar discussion about heated huts in the final section of spring poems about frogs? With the greatest respect, the discussion here seems little different. However, in regard to the Right’s poem, saying that love smoulders is the normal way of expressing matters. I do wonder about ‘smoulders without end’ (kogare mo yaranu), but this would certainly seem appropriate with the reference to a heated hut. The Left, in addition, with ‘salt burning smoke’ (yaku shio kemuri) lacks any faults to indicate, so with no clear winner or loser, I make this round a tie.


SCSS XI: 562

When she was asked about the possibility of a meeting.


mirume karu
ama no yukikau
minatoji ni
nakoso no seki mo
ware wa suenu o
Gathering seaweed
The fisherfolk go back and forth
Along the harbour ways;
Come not to the barrier of Nakoso –
I have not placed it there, so…

Ono no Komachi

This poem is also Komachi-shū 小町集 (late. C9th) 5.

Love I: 4

Left (Win).


nabikaji na
ama no moshiobi
kemuri wa sora ni
She has not so much as waved to me, yet
The fisher-folk salt fires
Have begun to kindle and
The smoke into the skies
Has yet to rise…

Lord Sada’ie.




ashi no ya no
hima moru ame no
shizuku koso
oto kikanu yori
sode wa nurekeri
Through a roof of reeds’
Chinks, drenching rain
Make no sound, yet
Soak my sleeves.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that it should be kuyuru in the Left’s poem – and that they are not accustomed to hearing kuyuri. The Left state that, ‘while the rain falling on a roof of reeds would make no sound, once it became drops dripping through, it would. In addition, while it “makes no sound”, how can it be love?’

Shunzei’s judgement: The gentlemen of the Right’s claim that the Left’s poem should be kuyuri is incorrect. This is simply a case of the same diction as in utsuru-utsuri, todomaru-todomari – I should not have to give more examples. In form the poems do have good and bad points [utazama zen’aku arubeki]. I have the feeling I have recently seen something similar to the Right’s metaphorical use of a roof of reeds. Or maybe it was not that recently. The Left’s ‘has yet to rise’ seems better. I shall make it the winner.

Spring III: 6

Left (Tie).


ono no e o
kakute ya hito wa
yamaji oboyuru
haru no sora kana
‘His axe haft:
Is this how he
Let it rot away?’
I wonder on the mountain paths
Under the springtime skies.

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


haru no hi wa
nada no shioya no
amabito mo
itoma arite ya
In the springtime sun
At Nada, the salt-making
Fisher-folk, too,
Have time to spare, and
Live with it heavy on their hands…



Both teams say they can find nothing to criticise in the other’s poem.

Shunzei agrees, saying, ‘You gentlemen have already stated that there is no reason to fault either poem. The round must be a tie.’

Love 80

Left (Tie).


suma no ama no
sode ni fukikosu
shio kaze no
naru to wa suredo
te ni mo tamarazu
Among the Suma fisher-folks’
Sleeves blows
The brine-filled tidewind:
Well-used to it, yet
My hand can hold it not.


Right (Tie).


yasurai ni
idekeru kata mo
shiratori no
tobayama matsu no

ne ni nomi zo naku
Pained with parting and
Whence you went unknowing,
As a white dove on
Toba Mountains’ pine tree
Roots am I, constantly crying.


GSS XI: 758

When he heard from the house of a woman of whom he was fond and with whom he had been conversing, that she had been conversing with numberless others.


siFo no ma ni
azarisuru ama mo
wono ga yoyo
kaFiari to koso
All along the tide-space
Gathering shellfish, the fisherfolk
In their lives
Have purpose:
As must I!

Ki no Haseo

Love 57

Left (Tie).


kururu yo wa
eji no taku hi wo
sore to miyo
muro no yashima mo
miyako naraneba
In the dark of night,
The conscripts kindled flames
Behold as my love, for
The waters of Muro no Yashima
Lie not within the capital.


Right (Tie).


ashi no ya ni
hotaru ya magau
ama ya taku
omoi mo koi mo
yoru wa moetsutsu
In a reed-roofed hut,
One might mistake for fireflies, or
Fisherfolk’s kindled fires
The passion and the love, that
Burns in me throughout the night.