Tag Archives: yowa

Saishō chūjō kuninobu no ie no uta’awase 14

Left (Win).

yo to tomo ni
tama tiru toko no
miseba ya Fito ni
yowa no kesiki wo
Together with the night
Gemlets scatter on my bed’s
Sedge-filled pillow;
Should I show her
This midnight sight?

The Master 大夫
[Minamoto no Toshiyori 源俊頼]


nami no yoru
iFane ni tateru
sonare matu
mata ne mo irade
koFi akasituru
The waves roll in
To the cliffs where stands
A hardy pine upon the rocks;
Once more sleepless
From love do I greet the dawn.

The Assistant Master 佐
[Fujiwara no Mototoshi 藤原基俊]

Love VI: 3

Left (Tie).

tsure mo naki
hito o mo sasoe
yowa no tsuki
kage bakari dani
yoso ni miru ya to
That heartless
Man, will you invite
O midnight Moon!
Even just an image
In the distance would I wish to see…

Lord Suetsune.


aki no tsuki
imo ga omokage
wa ga kokoro ni mo
yadosu narikeri
The autumn moon
My darling’s face
Does bring to me, and
Within my heart
Has it found a place to stay.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

The Right state: if one is inviting someone to come and visit, then there is no reason to mention ‘just an image’ (kage bakari). We wonder whether the invitation is addressed to the sky? The Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.

In judgement: both Left and Right have the same conception of an invitation addressed to the moon. The Round can only be a tie.

Love V: 20

Left (Win).

ika nareba
hodo naki naka no
kayoiji mo
aiminu yowa wa
Why is it that
We are so close in love
And distance, yet
Those nights we cannot meet
Are so painful still?

Lord Kanemune


omoi koso
tōki hodo dani
shirube nare
te mo kayoi nan
naka no hedate wa
Love’s flame
Across a distance far
Is a beacon; though
An outstretched hand
Is our only separation…

Lord Takanobu

As the previous round.

In judgement: the Right sounds as if the lovers are exceedingly close. The Left, that even when the distance separating you is not that great, it is still painful, is, indeed, the case. Thus, the Left wins.


Love IV: 27


konu toko wa
akuru tanomi mo
naki mono o
hima ya shiromu to
matsu zo ayashiki
An unvisited bed,
Of light has
No hope, but
Brightening through my bedroom door
Is what I am awaiting – how strange…

Lord Kanemune.

Right (Win).

fukeyuku yowa o
tori no ne o ya wa
matsu akashitsuru
Time and again he’d say he’d come, and
Through the deepening night
I’d grieve, but
Is it now for the first bird call
That I have awaited the dawn?

Lord Takanobu.

The Right state: ‘Unvisited bed’ (konu toko) sounds as if it is the bed doing the visiting. The Left state: we do not feel that the Right’s poem expresses its intended sense fully.

In judgement: I feel it sounds better to say that ‘through the deepening night’ (fukeyuku yowa) ‘is it now for the first bird call’ (tori no ne o ya wa) that one waits, rather than that one is in ‘an unvisited bed’ (konu toko) waiting for ‘brightening through my bedroom door’ (hima ya shiromu).