Tag Archives: fuyu

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.

Winter I: 3



nagame mo utsuru
niwa no iro yo
nani o kozue no
fuyu ni nokosan
A slight regret I feel, as
My gaze shifts
With the garden’s hues;
What of the treetops
Will remain in winter?

Lord Sada’ie.




momiji kakiwake
iro sae fukaki
yamaji narikeri
Fallen in drifts,
Forging through the scarlet leaves
I come, and see
The depth of colour laid
Upon the mountain paths.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that the Left’s poem is lacking in conception [kokoro yukazu]. The Left respond that the Right’s poem, as in the previous round, is old-fashioned in both conception and diction [kokoro kotoba onaji yō ni furumekashi].

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem does seem to have some conception about it, despite the Right’s criticism of this as lacking. Although the Right’s ‘depths of colour’ (iro sae fukaki) appears easy to grasp, again, the round should tie.

Spring III: 10



niowazu wa
fuguku sora to zo
hana chirimagau
shiga no yamagoe
Were there no fragrance,
Wind-driven skies,
One would think,
Blossoms scattered all around
The path across the Shiga Mountains.

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


michi mo se ni
hana no shirayuki
fuyu ni zo kaeru
shiga no yamagoe
The path narrows to naught,
A blizzard of blossom
Falling and settling:
Winter has come once more
To the path across the Shiga Mountains.



The Right query the Left’s use of ‘wind-driven’ (fuguku), wondering whether it’s appropriate in poetry, while the Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei remarks testily that, ‘The Left appear to have regrettably little sense of how to compose on the topic of ‘the path across the Shiga Mountains’, an impression which could have been reversed if only ‘a mountain path’ (yama michi) had been mentioned. The Right’s ‘winter has come once more to the path across the Shiga Mountains’ (fuyu ni zo kaeru shiga no yamagoe), however, is charming. Thus, it must win.’

Spring II: 14

Left (Win).


fuyugare no
shibafu ga shita ni
haru wa kumoi ni
agaru hibari ka
The greensward, and beneath it
Dwelling, yet
With springtime to the skies
Ascending, ‘tis the skylark.

Lord Kanemune.




hibari agaru
haru no yakeno no
sue tōmi
miyako no kata wa
kasumi narikeri
Skylarks soar above
The springtime stubble burned fields;
To the distance far
Towards the capital, all
With haze is covered.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state that the Left’s poem ‘would probably be better’ without the final ka (the use of this particle, marking rhetorical tone, was considered old-fashioned by the time the poem was written, and this old-fashioned air is what the Right are criticising). The Left reply that the final two stanzas of the Right’s poem ‘are not effective’, probably suggesting that the poem implies the capital is on fire, rather than simply being concealed by smoke from stubble-burning.

Shunzei merely remarks that the Left’s criticisms are ‘apposite, in general’ and awards them the victory.