Tag Archives: kigisu

Winter I: 27



kigisu naku
sagano no hara no
miyuki ni wa
furuki ato o ya
saki tazunuran
The pheasants cry
In the fields of Sagano;
On this Imperial Progress,
The traces of times long gone
Should we visit first?

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Win).


suberagi no
kyō no miyuki wa
mikarino no
kusaha mo nabiku
mono ni zo arikeru
On His Majesty’s
Progress on this day
To His hunting grounds
The very blades of grass do bow
Before Him

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state that pheasants do not cry out during the winter, to which the Left reply that this is seen occasionally in recent poetry. The Left then comment that mi occurs too often in the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘traces of times long gone’ (furuki ato o ya) is most fine [yoroshiku haberubeshi]. On pheasants crying in winter, it goes without saying that they do not, and in this poem in particular, I wonder about the appropriateness of ‘pheasants crying’ (because it was convention to avoid anything with potentially negative associations in a poem on the topic of Imperial Visits). The Right’s poem commences with ‘His Majesty’ (suberagi no) and continues with ‘the very blades of grass do bow’ (kusaha mo nabiku) which has felicitous associations. Thus, the Right must win.

Winter I: 25



ōhara ya
nobe no miyuki ni
tokoro ete
soratoru kyō no
mashirō no taka
Plain for an Imperial Progress is
Most apt;
Catching prey a’wing this day
Is a white banded hawk!



Right (Win).


saga no hara
hashiru kigisu no
kata ato wa
kyō no miyuki ni
kakurenaki kana
On the field of Saga
Racing, the pheasants’
Today’s Imperial Progress
Will not come at all…



The Right state that ‘most apt’ (tokoro ete) is rarely heard in poems. The Left reply that ‘track’ (kata ato) is the same.

Shunzei’s judgement: The poem of the Left sounds grandiose, but there is something dubious about it. When starting with Ōhara (ōhara ya), one expects it to be followed by ‘Oshio Mountain’, as it suggests the field of Ōhara. Without that following Oshio Mountain, when one encounters Ōhara, on recollects both ‘misty clear waters’ and ‘waters of a pure, peaceful well’, and does not know to which the Ōhara refers. There is no precedent at all for Imperial vists to the Ōhara which lies at the foot of Mount Hiei. There are, however, for visits to Mount Oshio. In the poem on ‘waters of a pure, peaceful well’, it states that ‘though there are no birds, we visit for our pleasure’, so it would be impossible for the ‘white banded hawk’ to take prey a’wing there. I have heard ‘tracks’ before, but the poem has little sense of truly knowing ‘Saga Field’, yet there have, without doubt, been Imperial visits there, so ‘tracks’ must be the better poem.

Spring II: 11



musashino ni
kigisu mo tsuma mo ya
kyō no kemuri no
shita ni nakunari
Upon Musashi Plain
Is the cock pheasant’s hen, also,
For today from beneath
The smoke come plaintive cries…

A Servant Girl.


Right (Win).


tsuma koi no
kigisu nakunari
asa kasumi
harureba yagate
Longing for his hen
The pheasant calls;
When morning’s haze
Has cleared, how swiftly
He hides among the grass.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right comment that the Left’s poem resembles Minamoto no Yorimasa’s poem:


kasumi wo ya
kemuri to mien
musasino ni
tuma mo komoreru
kigisu nakunari
The haze
Does seem as smoke;
On Musashino Plain
With his hen hidden
A pheasant calls.

The Left snap back that as Yorimasa’s poem is not included in the imperial anthologies, they could not have seen it, and in any case, what sort of criticism is it to say that it ‘resembles Yorimasa’s poem?’ As for the Right’s poem, ‘do pheasants always hide in the grass come the morning?’

Shunzei comments that it is ‘a bit much’ to avoid Yorimasa’s poem altogether. Although he does then go on to say that ‘there’s no reason to strong arm in examples’ of poems not in the imperial anthologies. However, ‘what’s the point’ of associating ‘today’ (kyō) so strongly with ‘smoke’ (kemuri)? (It was supposed to be used only for particular days, such as the first day of spring.) In the Right’s poem ‘When morning’s haze/Has cleared, how swiftly’ (asa kasumi/harureba yagate) ‘has nothing needing criticism about it’, so the their poem is superior this round.

Sanekata Shū 98

Around the Third month, I went hawking in Ōhara, and stopped on the way in a place where the cherry blossom was most beautiful; the following day I sent this to the Provisional Minor Captain.


kigisu naku
oFoFarayama no
kari ni Fa arade
sibasi misi kana
Pheasants cried
In the Ôhara hills of
Cherry blossom;
Abandoning my hunt,
I, for a while, was captivated.

Sanekata Shū 73

Composed when Controller Tametō said he was going pheasant hunting on hearing that his lady at Sanjō had given birth to their first child.


kigisu sumu
wosiFo no Fara no
tiyo no kazu kamo
Pheasant roosting
Oshio Fields
Pine saplings do but
Begin to number
The one thousand generations of his years.