Tag Archives: Ide

Teiji-in uta’awase 13

Left (Win)


me ni miede
kaze wa fukedomo
aoyagi no
nabiku kata ni zo
hana chirikeru
Unseen by my eyes
The wind does blow, yet
The green willow
Bends toward
The scattering blossom.




ashihiki no
yamabuki no hana
ide no kawazu wa
ima ya nakuramu
Mountain kerria flowers
Have bloomed;
In Ide will the frogs
Now be a’singing?


‘The Right is old-fashioned,’ and so it lost.

[i] Despite Uda’s negative opinion of it, this poem is included in Shinkokinshū (II: 162), attributed to Okikaze, with the headnote, ‘A poem from the Poetry Contest held by Former Emperor Uda in Engi 13’.

Love V: 12

Left (Win).

yukusue no
fukaki eni to zo
mada musubarenu
yodo no wakagomo
In the future,
A deep connection will we have,
You vowed,
Yet still no one has cupped
This young shoot of wild rice at Yodo.

A Servant Girl.


musuban to
chigirishi hito o
wasurezu ya
mada kage asaki
ide no tamamizu
That we would be joined
We swore, so
Will you not forget me?
The slight reflection left
In Ide’s jewelled waters…


Both Left and Right state: there is no separation between man and woman.

In judgement: ‘Young shoot of wild rice at Yodo’ (yodo no wakagomo) and ‘Ide’s jewelled waters’ (ide no tamamizu) are both elegant in style, but the Left has pledged a more profound bond. The Right has ‘the slight reflection left’ (mada kage asaki) and the Left is a poem about a vow which has been made. The Right is just referring to events of the past. Thus, ‘depth’ should win.

Spring III: 22



yamabuki no
niou ide o ba
yoso ni mite
kaiya ga shita mo
kawazu naku nari
Golden kerria
Glow in Idé,
Glimpsed afar;
Beneath the heated hut, too,
The frogs are calling.



Right (Win).


mada toranu
sanae no hazue
sudaku kawazu no
koe no hibiki ni
As yet unpicked,
The rice seedlings’ tips
Seem to stretch forth;
The swarming frogs’
Calls echoing…



There’s something of a dispute between the teams over this round, so I’m going to give their comments separately, as they argue back and forth:

Right: Is ‘Beneath the heated hut’ (kaiya ga shita) really appropriate for Spring? The original poem, ‘In the hazy morning, beneath the heated hut frogs call’ (asagasumi kapiya ga sita ni naku kapadu) is contained in the Autumn section of the Man’yōshū, and ‘hazy mornings’ (asagasumi) do not occur solely in Spring – one can compose on haze in the autumn, too, and there are many such examples in the Man’yōshū.

Left: ‘Frogs’ in ancient anthologies and poetry contests, and recent ones, too, is considered a spring topic. As for ‘In the hazy morning, beneath the heated hut frogs call’, where is the difficulty in composing on a ‘heated hut’ in a Frog-themed poem?

Right: We do not dispute that ‘Frogs’ are a spring topic. What we do doubt is whether ‘heated hut’ is appropriate for spring.

Left: There are various types of heated huts. One among them – and called this – is used in the country for keeping silkworms, and frogs swarm beneath the huts in order to eat them. This is what peasants call them, it is said. We don’t see any issue with this.

Right: If this is true, we have a further criticism: silkworms are kept from the Fourth Month, and thus, this reference is inappropriate in a Spring poem.

Left: Once the hut is constructed, it’s there for good, so there will be frogs underneath in both spring and summer! Furthermore, keeping silkworms is something that everyone does from the end of the Third Month, and the situation in the poem does not depart from this.

Shunzei’s Judgement:

‘Beneath the heated hut frogs call’ (kapiya ga sita ni naku kapadu) has nothing unusual about it, but the addition of ‘too’ (mo) gives the poem a modern cast. The issue of whether or not ‘heated hut’ is appropriate in a spring poem is unclear, and the dispute between Left and Right over silkworms is pointless.

I should first point out that there are two ‘beneath the heated hut’ poems in the Man’yōshū: the first occurs in the spring section of Book Ten (‘In the hazy morning,/Beneath the heated hut/Frogs call:/From my voice, alone,/I wonder, would you love me?’), and the second is:


kapiya ga sita no
naku kapadu
sinopitutu ari to
tugemu ko mo gamo
In the hazy morning,
Beneath the heated hut
Frogs call
Secretly, I think of you –
If only there was one to let you know…

The spirit of these poems is of men watching over fields in the mountains from their huts, commanded to be away from home in the mountains, listening to the frogs calling and composing in consolation.

Furthermore, the spirit of ‘heated huts’ is of fire being kindled there, making them smoky, or else to keep wild monkeys and deer away, and thus while there are these two possible explanations, there are no others. The explanation of folk in recent years of a ‘heated hut’ being built over pools of water by thrusting sticks in has been long-lasting, but is mistaken.

And so we come on to the previous discussion them being for silkworm keeping in the country, and the frogs gathering to eat the silkworms. This does not hold water, for reasons I have given already. Places for keeping silkworms are called ‘silkworm houses’ (komuro). As we know from Shunrai’s 俊頼 writings – where he discusses the ‘jewelled broom’ (tamabahaki 玉箒) – the method of raising silkworms with a jewelled broom from the first Day of the Rat in Spring is as follows: on the first Day of the Rat in the First Month, a child, or a woman born in the Year of the Ox – and called a Keeper Maid (kaime 飼女) – sweeps the silkworm house and makes the first celebrations. Next, on the first Day of the Horse in the Second Month, the first silkworm eggs are laid out, and kept warm. On the first Day of the Horse in the Third Month, the silkworms are given mulberry for the first time, and in the Fourth and Fifth Months, he says, the cocoons are spun. Given this, what earthly reason is there to suppose that the peasants would allow frogs into their silkworm houses? Nor can one conceive of them permitting water to flow beneath, or construct them near marshes, or ponds!

Moreover, it is said that Emperor Hui of the Jin Dynasty listened to toads at the Garden of Blossoming Trees, and Tachibana no Kiyotomo composed on frogs at Ide. In both Chinese and our own poetry, the places where one listens to frogs are all out among the fields, and in the two previously mentioned Man’yō poems, it is most appropriate to regard them as concerning listening to frogs beneath huts out among the fields in the mountains. A ‘hazy morning’ (asagasumi), too, is undoubtedly a reference to the smoke from fires kindled during the night trailing between the valleys and obscuring the shapes of the mountains. This is apt for the aforementioned poems. The gentlemen of the Right’s criticism over the period for silkworm raising is thus misplaced, and they should instead criticise the idea that the ‘heated hut’ in this case is for raising silkworms. As for the gentlemen of the Left: I ask them in which region their poem might take place? In any case, the only conclusion is that they should cease to circulate it.

The Right’s poem, on the spirit of young rice plants tips stretching forth, sounds most pleasant. It is the only possible winner.

Spring III: 21

Left (Win).


kasumi no sue no
araoda ni
kawazu mo haru no
kure uramunari
Through the haze upon
The unplanted paddy fields
The frogs, too, spring’s
Passing mourn.

Lord Sada’ie.




ide no kawazu wa
nami no ue ni zo
koe wa kikoyuru
Hidden in the waters,
The frogs of Ide
Swarm, yet
Across the waves
Come their cries.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right wonder about the appropriateness of ‘through the haze upon’ (kasumi no sue), while the Left content themselves with saying the Right’s poem is ‘trite.’

Shunzei states that, ‘“Through the haze upon the unplanted paddy fields” (kasumi no sue no araoda) is a particularly desolate image, but I do wonder if it’s appropriate here. “Hidden in the waters, the frogs of Ide swarm” (migakurete ide no kawazu) certainly sounds as if it were based on a prior example, but I find myself unable to recall it at present. Having both “across the waves” (nami no ue) and “the frogs of Ide” (ide no kawazu), however, is excessive. The left seems the winner.’

Spring III: 20



oikaze ni
sudaku kawazu no
morogoe mo
nami mo yorikuru
ide no kawamizu
Carried on the wind
The swarming frogs’
Chorus, too,
Comes with the waves
To the waters of Idé.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


fune sae toyomu
horie no kawazu
koe shikirunari
Rowed too far,
Even the boat echoes,
it does seem;
The Horie frogs
Crying all together.

The Assistant Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right remark that as the Left’s poem contains “carried on the wind” (oikaze ni), it would have been desirable for it to also contain “boat”. The Left content themselves with saying that the reference to “frogs crying” seems “bombastic”.

Shunzei judges, ‘It is as the Right have stated with regard to “carried on the wind.” “Comes with the waves” (nami mo yorikuru) and its associated section, too, sounds impressive, but is really not so. There is logic in the criticism of the Right’s poem for “frogs crying”, but this is how the Horie frogs sound. Thus, the Right should win.’