Tag Archives: light

Autumn III: 28

Left (Win).


nagatsuki no
ariake no sora o
mite nochi zo
aware no hate wa
In the Longest Month
At dawn, the skies
I’ve seen, and
That there is nothing more sad
Have I come to know.

Lord Kanemune.




aki mo sonata zo
katabuku tsuki no
kage o mishi yori
Turning to dusk
Is autumn, too; that direction
I despise, with
The sinking moon’s
Light in my sight!



As the previous round.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘At dawn, the skies I’ve seen’ (ariake no sora o mite nochi zo) and the Right’s ‘The sinking moon’s light in my sight!’ (katabuku tsuki no kage o mishi yori), in terms of configuration, have neither strengths nor faults [sugata shōretsu naki], but ‘that direction’ (sonata zo) sounts overly simplistic [kotozokite kikoe]. Thus, the Left must win.

Autumn II: 28

Left (Tie).


kokoro no sue mo
tomare to ya
tsuki ni yado kasu
hirosawa no ike
‘Your wandering gaze
Will find a resting place
Here!’, is that what you say?
Lending lodging to the moon,
O, pond at Hirosawa!

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


sarashina mo
akashi mo koko ni
tsuki no hikari wa
hirosawa no ike
Should I Sarashina and
Akashi bring
The best moonlight would be on
Hirosawa Pond.



Neither Left nor Right have any criticisms to make this round.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s “‘Will find a resting place here!’, is that what you say?” (kokoro no sue mo tomare to ya) seems particularly fine [yoroshiku koso miehaberu], but so is the Right’s “Akashi bring here” (akashi mo koko ni sasoikite) in form and diction [sugata kotoba] and so it is impossible to say it is inferior to the Left. This is a solid tie [yoki ji].

Autumn II: 27

Left (Win).


kokoro koso
kumoi harukani
nagame mo sasou
hirosawa no tsuki
My heart
To the distant heavens
Is drawn
Pulled in by the sight
Of the moon at Hirosawa.

Lord Ari’ie.




tsuki no sumu
sora wa yoso ni mo
kawaraji wo
manako ni amaru
hirosawa no kage
The moon, so clearly lodged
Within the skies, distant yet
The sight can never sate my eyes
Light on Hirosawa.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right complain that in the Left’s poem the phrase ‘moon at Hirosawa’ (hirosawa no tsuki) is ‘grating on the ear’. The Left respond that ‘The sight can never sate my eyes light on Hirosawa’ (manako ni amaru hirosawa no kage) in the Right’s poem is, too.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘moon at Hirosawa’, I do not feel to be grating. What sort of expression, though is ‘pulled in by the sight’ (nagame mo sasou)? The Right is reminiscent of expressions like ‘all four corners of the world do not exhaust my gaze’, which when one hear’s them in Chinese poetry are remarkable, but sound wrong in a Japanese poem, and are even incomprehensible! ‘The moon at Hirosawa’ is, perhaps, more interesting. Thus, the Left wins.

Autumn II: 26

Left (Tie).


ato wa hikari ni
tsuki koso furine
hirosawa no ike
Traces of light
Remain, and yet
The moon shows no sign of age
Above Hirosawa Pond.

Lord Sada’ie.




kuma mo naku
tsuki sumu yowa wa
hirosawa no
ike wa sora ni zo
hitotsu narikeru
Completely full
The moon is clear at midnight:
Pond and the heavens
Have become as one.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right query the expressions ‘light remain’ (hikari ni nokoru) and ‘the moon shows no sign of age’ (tsuki koso furine), and also say that the Left’s poem lack emotional overtones of a ‘View’ as a topic. The Left find no fault with the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: On the Left’s poem, I do not strongly feel that expressions such as ‘traces of light’ (ato wa hikari ni) and ‘the moon shows no sign of age’ (tsuki koso furine) are particularly bad, but the gentlemen of the Right have identified two faults with the poem. As for the Right’s poem, I do not feel that there is much sense of a view in expressions such as, ‘pond and the heavens’ (ike wa sora ni zo), and the frequency of wa in tsuki sumu yowa wa, and ike wa, means the poem is lacking in form; it is truly unfortunate that I cannot declare the Left, which lacks a sense of a View, the winner.

Autumn I: 16



yoi no ma no
tsuki matsu hodo no
kumoma yori
omowanu kage o
misuru inazuma
In the early evening
While waiting for the moon,
From between the clouds
All unexpected is the light
Of lightning.

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


kagerō yoi no
kumoma yori
hikari o kaete
terasu inazuma
The evening moon
Misty is at dusk, when
From between the clouds
Comes a different light:
A flash of lightning!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Neither team finds any fault with the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei, however, says, ‘Both poems contain the line “from between the clouds” (kumoma yori), with the Left “while waiting for the moon” (tsuki matsu hodo) and the Right “The evening moon misty is at dusk” (yūzukuyo kagerō yoi). In addition to the fact that “misty” is far more charming in relation to an “evening moon”, than “waiting for the moon”, “all unexpected is the light” (omowanu kage) is not an expression I find particularly pleasing. “Comes a different light” (hikari o kaete) seem much finer. Thus, I make the right the winner.’

Autumn I: 14

Left (Tie).


inazuma no
hikari ni nomi ya
tanaka no sato no
yūyami no sora
Is it lightning’s
Light alone, that
Can console?
Dwelling among the rice-fields
Beneath the blackened evening sky.



Right (Tie).


shitsu no o ga
yamada no io no
toma o arami
moru inazuma o
tomo to koso mire
A peasant in
The mountain fields, whose hut has
A rough roof of straw:
The lightning dripping in
Seems his single friend.

Lord Tsune’ie.


As with the previous round, neither team can find fault with the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, says, ‘The initial part of the Left’s poem is fine, indeed, but one wonders where the “dwelling among the rice fields” (tanaka no sato) is. I wonder whether nowadays poets can simply refer to a house among the rice fields. I do seem to have heard it before, but for the life of me I cannot remember where. As for the Right’s poem, this, too, has a perfectly standard beginning, but then has the expression “lightning dripping” (moru inazuma) – this seems rather new-fangled to me! Both poems are about the same.’

Autumn I: 13

Left (Win).


kage yadosu
hodo naki sode no
tsuyu no ue ni
naretemo utoki
yoi no inazuma
The light dwells
But for an instant on my sleeves
Where dewdrops rest;
Accustomed to it though I am, how distant is
Lightning in the evening.

Lord Sada’ie.




mubatama no
yami o arawasu
inazuma mo
hikari no hodo wa
Dark, broken by
The flash,
So brief.

Lord Takanobu.


Neither team can find fault with the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei feels, ‘The spirit of “an instant on my sleeves” (hodo naki sode) is particularly fine, is it not? Prefacing “dark, broken by” (yami o arawasu) with “lily-seed” (mubatama no), seems somewhat overblown, and then concluding with “so brief” (hakanakarikeri) contradicts the initial statement. “Lightning in the evening” (yoi no inazuma) should win.’