Tag Archives: The Path Across the Shiga Mountains

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 III: 9

Left (Tie).


hana oba fumaji
to omou ma ni
michi koso nakare
shiga no yamagoe
Upon the fallen, piléd,
Blossoms I should not tread
I feel, and so
Pathway have I none
Across the Shiga Mountains…

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


haru wa tada
kumoji o wakuru
hana koso mienu
shiga no yamagoe
In spring, I simply
Forge a path betwixt the clouds,
I feel;
Blossoms indistinguishable
On the path across the Shiga Mountains.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that ‘I feel and so’ (to omou ma ni) in the Left’s poem is ‘unpleasant’, while the Left remark that ‘entering among blossoms and then saying “blossoms indistinguishable” is unclear.’ The commentators are uncertain about what the Right’s objection to ‘to omou ma ni’ is, and speculate that it may be because it contains one too many syllables for its position in the poem (six when there should be five). This seems most likely, as there are numerous other poems using the expression in other contexts.

Shunzei judgement is: ‘The Right’s emphasis on blossom resembling clouds is excessive and makes the poem eccentric. Their criticism of the Left’s “I feel, and so” (omou ma ni) is also excessive. The round would appear to be a tie.’

Spring III: 8



hana chireba
michi ya wa yokenu
shiga no yama
utate kozue o
koyuru haru kaze
The blossom will fall, so
Will you not avoid the path
Across the Shiga Mountains?
Heartlessly, the treetops,
Brushing, O, springtime breeze!

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


shiga no yamaji o
chiriyuku hana zo
shirube narikeru
Shiga Mountains’ path
To cross,
The scattering blossoms
Show the way.

Lord Tsune’ie.


On the Left’s poem, the Right team state that ‘“will you not avoid” (yokenu) sounds poor.’ The Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s work.

Shunzei agrees: ‘The terms “will you not avoid” and “heartlessly” (utate) seem quite unpleasant. Thus, the Right wins.’

Spring III: 7

Left (Win).


sode no yuki
sora fuku kaze mo
hitotsu nite
hana ni nioeru
shiga no yamagoe
The snow upon my sleeves
Blown through the breezy skies
Is one with
The scent of blossom on
The path across the Shiga Mountains.

Lord Sada’ie.




arashi fuku
hana no kozue ni
ato miete
haru mo sugiyuku
shiga no yamagoe
Storm winds blow
Blossom from the treetops:
Footprints mark
The passage of Spring on
The path across the Shiga Mountains.



The Right team remark about the Left’s poem that ‘beginning two lines with so (sode…sora) is grating’, while the Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei states, ‘The gentlemen of the Right have remarked upon the Left poem’s grating qualities. Nevertheless, does it not seem that this path across the Shiga Mountains is particularly intriguing? The Right’s poem mentions ‘blossom from the treetops/footprints mark’ (hana no kozue ni ato miete), but if the sense is that the blossom has already fallen, it seems that there would be little of interest in such a sight. The Left should win, I think.’