Love V: 9


kokoro mo shiranu
yosobito wa
mada itokenaki
oto ya kikuran
An understanding
Of my heart is lacking, so
All those strangers
Still like a child
Do speak to me – that must be why!

Lord Kanemune.

Right (Win).

nani to naku
tsutsuitsu no
kage hanareyuku
ne nomi nakarete
Was I used to playing, but
From the pipe-well
Our reflected faces have grown distant, so
I do but weep and sob…


The Right state: the Left’s poem seems a bit too young. The Left state: ‘Simply was I used to playing’ (nani to naku asobinarenuru) seems rather prosaic diction.

In judgement: although the latter part of the Left’s poem and the initial section of the Right’s are both pleasant, the Left’s use of ‘speak’ (oto) feels unnecessary. The latter section of the Right’s poem seems particularly good. It should win.


Love V: 8


ika ni shite
koi chō koto o
mono no kokoro mo
kinō kyō koso
How did
Then seem to me?
When the truth of things
Has come to me now…

Lord Ari’ie.

Right (Win).

ima wa sa wa
omoimidaru to
furuwakegami mo
kata suginikeri
Now it is that
I am in a tangle of love,
Let me tell you!
For my hair, bunched on either side,
Has come to brush my shoulders!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

The Right state: the Left’s poem is facetious. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: the Right’s poem is elegant. It certainly wins over the Left.

GSS X: 682

At around the the time the Kanpyō Emperor took Holy Orders, ladies were only permitted to serve him from beyond his curtains, and being unable to approach him closely, she wrote this and fastened it to his screen.


kage Fumu bakari
tare ka nakoso no
seki o suweken
If I were to approach,
I would simply step upon your shadow;
I am so close, yet
Who is it  Nakoso – Come not –
That barrier has placed between us?

The Kohachijō Miyasudokoro 小八条御息所
[Minamoto no Sadako 源貞子]

SIS XX: 1309

In the final month of the year in which the wife of Middle Councillor Kanesuke had died, Tsurayuki paid him a visit and composed this while they were talking sadly.


koFuru ma ni
tosi no kurenaba
nakibito no
wakare ya itodo
While thinking fondly of her
Should the year come to an end,
She, who’s dead,
Will be parted even
Further from us…

Ki no Tsurayuki

SIS IX: 552

In the Tenryaku period, when the Ichijō Regent [Fujiwara no Koretada] was Head Chamberlain, His Majesty lost his belt to him while playing go. The games continued, and Koretada’s losses mounted, so His Majesty composed this poem to ask for the return of his belt.


siranami no
uti ya kaFesu to
matu Fodo ni
Fama no masago no
kazu zo tumoreru
Wondering when the whitecaps
Will return, and
While waiting
The grains of sand upon the beach
Increase in number!

Emperor Murakami

MYS XVII: 4007

A poem to lament that his feelings of sadness were proving impossible to abate as the time of his return to the capital grew near.


wa ga seko pa
tama ni mogamona
kowe ni apenuki
te ni makite yukamu
You, my friend, are
As a jewel;
On a cuckoo’s
Call would I thread you, and
Go clasping you in hand…

Ōtomo no Yakamochi

The above poem was presented by Ōtomo sukune Yakamochi to Secretary Ōtomo sukune Ikenushi. 30th day of the Fourth Month.


During the same reign, when there was an imperial excursion and His Majesty commanded the composition of poems.


kaFabe no matu ni
koto toFamu
kakaru miyuki ya
arisi mukasi mo
At Ōigawa:
O, pine trees on the bank
I would ask you something:
Was there ever such an imperial visit
In the days of long ago?

Ki no Tsurayuki