Tag Archives: fusuma

Winter II: 24



neya no fusuma no
hedate ni mo
hibiki wa kawaru
kane no oto kana
Drawn up beneath
The covers in my bedchamber, and
With them between
The echo is somehow different
When the bells chime…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


yuki no yo no
omou bakari mo
saenu koso
neya no fusuma no
shirushi narikere
It is a snowy night
I know, yet
There is no chill:
The covers in my bedchamber
Have that effect!



The Gentlemen of the Right state: why have the ‘bell’ (kane) here? The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left’s poem, having the poet buried beneath his bedclothes, which alter the sound of the bell recollects a composition on the ‘bell at the Temple of Bequeathed Love’. Nevertheless, the Gentlemen of the Right have asked, ‘Why have the bell here?’, and they are right to do so. The Right’s poem, on how the feeling of cold on a chill, snowy night vanishes briefly, exactly conveys the ‘bedding’s effect’ (fusuma no shirushi). Thus, it is without fault. I must make the Right the winner.

Winter II: 23

Left (Win).


uzumibi no
atari no matoi
akanu ma wa
yodoko no fusuma
yoso ni koso mire
A charcoal fire-pit,
And friendly folk gathered around:
While I would not have it end
My night time bedding
Seems of little point!

Lord Kanemune.




katashiki no
sode saewataru
fuyu no yo wa
toko ni fusuma no
kai mo naki kana
Just my single
Sleeve is so chill
On this winter’s night,
The blankets on my bed
Seem to do no good at all…

Lord Takanobu.


The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the use of ‘bedding of little point’ (fusuma yoso ni)? The Gentlemen of the Left state: we find no faults in the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are on ‘bedding’ (fusuma), with the Left saying that it seems of little purpose at a gathering around a charcoal fire-pit, and the Right, that it seems to be thin when the cold comes. So, we go from it doing no good, even if you do have it on, to it being pointless when you are happy and warm. What point are these poems trying to make, I wonder? The Left should win.

Winter II: 22



kiehito no
madarabusuma wa
itama yori
shimo oku yowa no
na ni koso arikere
The Kie folk’s
Motley-coloured coverlet:

From between the boards
The falling midnight frost has
Given that name to mine!

Lord Ari’ie.




sayuru yo wa
ama tsu otome mo
ika naran
kaze mo tamaranu
asade kobususma
On this chill, clear night
The maidens of the Heavens, too,
How must they feel?
Unable to avoid the wind,
With only a meagre hempen blanket!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Gentlemen of the Right state: we don’t understand the reference to ‘Kie Folk’ (kiehito). In response, the Gentlemen of the Left state: it occurs in the Man’yōshū. We have nothing more to say than that.

Shunzei’s judgement: although various remarks have been made about ‘Kie Folk’, and it has been said that it occurs in the Man’yōshū, it is not acceptable to simply say that and then say nothing more. It does appear to be something which it is acceptable to extract from the Man’yōshū and compose with, though. The Right’s poem, too, with its conception of frost falling on a ‘meagre hempen blanket’ (asade kobususma) is in a Man’yō style [fūtei]. It is also certainly the case that it is not unreasonable for the Left to have used ‘motley-coloured coverlet’ (madarabususma). The Round should tie.

MYS IV: 524

[One of] three poems sent to Lady Ōtomo of Sakanoue by Fujiwara no Maro, the Master of the Capital Offices.


nagoya ga sita ni
imo to si ineba
pada si samusi mo
My ramie cloth bedding is
Soft, and beneath it
I lie, yet
My love, I sleep without you, so
My skin does feel the chill….

Fujiwara no Maro

Winter II: 21



nagoyaka ga shita wa
kokoro nomi koso
yo o kasanurame
My piled bedding is
Soft, and beneath it
I am lost in thought;
Only those feelings
Come to me night after night…



Right (Win).


itazura ni
akuru yo o nomi
hitori fusuma no
toko zo sabishiki
Dawn breaks night
Time and again;
A single blanket on
My bed is sad, indeed…



Neither Left nor Right has anything to say.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘piled bedding’ (atsubusuma) is similar in style to the poems of the previous round. The Right’s ‘single blanket’ (hitori fusuma) is a comparable piece of bedding, but the configuration of ‘pointless dawn breaks night’ (itazura ni akuru yo o nomi) is elegantly beautiful [sugata yūbi ni kikoyu]. Thus I make the Right the winner.