Tag Archives: koto

MYS IV: 727

[One of] two poems sent by Ōtomo sukune Yakamochi to the Elder Maiden of the House of Sakanoue (a love poem to say that though they had been parted for many years, he hoped they would meet again).


wa ga sitapimo ni
siko no sikokusa
koto ni shi arikeri
A forgetful day-lily
To my under-belt
Is bound, yet
This annoying weed
Is so in name alone!

Ōtomo no Yakamochi

Minbukyō yukihira no uta’awase 2

Left (Win)

otoFa no yama no
sasuga ni iFanu
koto na tanome so
I wonder about
Wingbeats on Otowa Mountain,
The cuckoo:
Truly in unsaid
Words place no trust!



tare to ka Fa
koto Fa kataraFu
madu wa ga kiku ni
iFade wataru Fa
To whom is it that
Tales you tell,
O, Cuckoo?
When first I listen,
Wordless, do you fly back and forth…


SIS XVII: 1141

During the Tenryaku era, when people had gathered at Ise’s house, to say that she was coming.


Furinisi yado no
koto no Fa Fa
Ever does the drizzle
Fall at my home –
My leaves of words
I sweep all together, but
Never does it end.

Nakatsukasa (?912-?991)

Love VI: 15


kokoro ai no
kaze izukata e
ware ni wa chirasu
koto no ha mo nashi
This pleasant
Breeze: whither
Does it blow?
To me not one scattered
Leaf or word has it delivered.


Right (Win).

iro ni idashi
koto no ha mo mina
namida o chirasu
kaze no oto kana
The bright hues of passion
In these leaves and your words
Have all withered away;
Tears scattering with
The sound of the wind…

Lord Takanobu.

The Right state: ‘Breeze: whither’ (kaze izukata e) seems lacking. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to indicate.

In judgement: in the Left’s poem, I wonder whether ‘breeze: wither’ really is lacking. ‘This pleasant’ (kokoro no ai) would seem to be an expression deriving from ‘At the head of the road’. I seem to recall it coming after ‘In Kofu in Takefu / Will I be’, but that is not a suitable source. The Right’s poem, as the Gentlemen of the Left have said, appears to have no faults. It should win.


On a night when the Ise Vestal was conducting the Kōshin rite at the shrine in the fields, she composed this on the topic of the wind in the pines sounding a zither’s strings when blowing at night.


koto no ne ni
mine no matukaze
idure no wo yori
sirabe someken
The zither’s strains
With wind from pines atop the peak
Do sound;
Which string is it
That may start me on my way?

The Ise Vestal Consort 斎宮女御
[Princess Yoshiko/Kishi 徽子女王] (929-985)

MYS XVI: 3799


ani mo aranu
ono ga mi no kara
hito no ko no
koto mo tsukusaji
ware mo yorinamu
There is nothing to
An inconsequential girl like me;
As all the others,
I’ll not use all my words, but
I, too, will yield to him!

MYS V: 811

So, I composed in reply to her.


koto topanu
ki ni pa aritomo
kimi ga tanare no
koto ni siarubesi
No speech
Has a tree, yet
A glorious
Lord’s favourite
Zither will you certainly be!

The zither maid replied, ‘I thank you for your kind words. I am truly and humbly grateful.’ I swiftly awoke and moved by the words of the maiden in my dream, I could not remain silent, so I entrusted this zither to an official bound your way, that he might deliver it to you.

Sent by messenger on the 7th day of the Tenth Month Tenpyō 1 [645], to his Most Glorious Excellency of the Inner Palace Guards.

MYS V: 810

Poems respectfully presented by Ōtomo no Tabito, to accompany a Japanese zither made from wood taken from the top of a parasol tree growing on Yuishi in Tsushima:

I dreamed this zither transformed into a maiden who said to me, ‘I placed my roots in the care of the sacrd heights of a distant island; my trunk was dried by the peaceful light of the ninefold sun. Ever was I enveloped by the smoky haze drifting from the mountain streams, and beheld from afar the winds and the waves, finding myself between a tree and a goose. Yet, after a hundred years, I was afraid I would simply be left to rot away in a moat or a ditch somewhere, but by good fortune I met a talented craftsman, who shaped my wood into this meagre zither. My form may be coarse, and my sound grating, but I hope that I may rest, as my Lord’s zither, at his left hand.’ Then, she composed.


ika ni aramu
pi no toki ni kamo
kowe siramu
pito no piza no pe
wa ga makurakamu
When will
The day come that
I shall sing
With his lap
For my pillow?