Entō ōn’uta’awase 5

Round 5

Left (Win)


asahi kage
mada ideyaranu
ashihiki no
yama wa kasumi no
iro zo utsurou
The morning sunlight
Has yet to fall upon
The leg-wearying
Mountains, yet the haze’s
Hues are shifting.

Takasuke, Gentleman-in-Waiting



yamahime no
kasumi no sode mo
kurenai ni
hikari soetaru
asahi kage kana
The mountain princess has
Her sleeves of haze turned
Draped with light by
The morning sunshine!


The Left’s poem has no faults worth pointing out; the poem of the Right’s ‘morning sunlight draping scarlet light across the sleeves of haze’ is overly gorgeous, I think, while the Left seems perfectly beautiful, so it should win.

Entō ōn’uta’awase 4

Round Four

Left (Win)


akenuru ka
kasumi no koromo
nao kimi ga yo no
haru o matsu kana
Is it the breaking dawn that
Hazy raiment
Casts back?
Ever for my Lord’s reign’s
Springtime do I pine!

Novice Dōchin




ama no to no
akeyuku sora wa
ureshiki o
nao hareyarazu
tatsu kasumi kana
That Heaven’s door
Opens to brighten the sky—
What joy, but
Still, never clearing is
The rising haze!

Dharma Master Nyogan


The Left poem’s links with celebration are certainly not something praiseworthy, but I am unable to accept the Right’s ‘joy’. Thus, the Left wins.

Entō ōn’uta’awase – Topics and Poets


Morning HazeMountain CherriesCuckoosDew on Bush Clover
Deer in the NightShowersHidden LoveEnduring Love
TravelMountain Retreats  


A Court LadyIetaka, Junior Second Rank  
The Former Minister of the CentreKozaishō  
Supernumerary Major Counsellor Moto’ieNobunari, Senior Third Rank  
Novice DōchinDharma Master Nyokan  
Takasuke, Gentleman-in-WaitingShimotsuke  
ShōNatatsuna, Ranked without Office  
Chikanari, Ranked without OfficeIe’kiyo, Ranked without Office  
Fujiwara no TomoshigeDharma Master Zenshin

Judge: A Court Lady  

Entō ōn’uta’awase 03

Round Three

Left (Win)


haru no yo no
akuru kasumi no
kore ya kamiyo no
koromo naruran
At a spring night’s
Dawn the haze around
Tatsuta Mountain—
Is this how in the age of gods
Raiment might have been?

Supernumerary Major Counsellor Moto’ie



kumoi o kakete
itari itaranu
yama no ha mo nashi
When, upon the morning haze
Draping from the clouds,
I turn my gaze, it
Spread out, and fails to reach,
Not a single mountain’s edge.

Nobunari, Senior Third Rank

Both Left and Right are difficult to tell apart, yet the Left’s ‘clothing of the Age of Gods’ would seem to be superior.

Entō ōn’uta’awase 02

Round Two

Left (Tie)


ōhara ya
oshio no sato no
yukiki ni nareshi
haru zo wasurenu
In Ōhara
At Oshio estate among
The morning haze
Accustomed to go back and forth,
Never will I forget that springtime!

The Former Minister of the Centre



urabito no
shio yaku sato no
haru no mono to ya
wakade miruran
Folk dwelling by the bay
Roasting salt in their village:
The morning haze
From a scene in spring ‘tis
Hard to distinguish, is it not?[1]


The Left’s poem composes ‘Oshio estate among the morning haze accustomed to go back and forth’ and, in addition to seeming to have some feeling in it, displays fine configuration and diction, while the Right’s poem ‘From as scene in spring ‘tis hard to distinguish, is it not?’ recollects Narihira’s poem ‘a scene from spring: ever-falling rain to gaze upon all day’ and has a gentle air about it, so both are difficult to distinguish from each other. I make this a tie.

[1] An allusive variation on KKS XIII: 616.

Entō ōn’uta’awase 01

Morning Haze

Round One

Left (Tie)


shiogama no
ura no higata no
akebono ni
kasumi ni nokoru
ukishima no matsu
At Shiogama
Bay uponn the tide-sands
With the dawn
Lingering in the haze are
The pines on Ukishima.

A Court Lady



haru no yo no
oborozukiyo no
nagori to ya
izuru asahi mo
nao kasumuran
A spring night’s
Misty moon—
Does it leave a keepsake in
The rising sun
Yet seeming hazed?

Ietaka, Junior Second Rank

Generally, for the judging of poetry, one chooses people who have been permitted to take this Way, who can distinguish the good from the bad among the reeds of Naniwa Bay and plumb the depths and shallows of the sea. And now I do so, when I have passed through the mulberry gate, but have no time for the Three Tiers and Nine Levels of Rebirth, or even for dipping into Tomi stream, and have but distantly heard the waves of Waka Bay these past sixteen springtimes, though I was wont, in the ancient blossom-filled capital, to string together a mere thirty-one syllables from time to time.

Though now I do not divert myself with this Way, Ietaka of the Junior Second Rank is a long-standing officer of the Poetry Office and a compiler of the New Ancient and Modern collection. His dewdrop life of almost eighty has begun to vanish now with the wind on Adashi Plain, but I thought to converse with him and just this once, debate over his deeply considered words and compare the configuration of his works. Thus, through the jewelled missives we exchanged, I had him assemble poems on ten topics by those from whom I am not estranged and write them down in pairs.

The numbers of such folk were not great, and among them are those who have only recently begun to have an interest in the learning the Six Principles. That the words of Shinobu’s sacred groves would be scattered by the wind and encounter hindrances here and there, I had thought, but in the end, I paid no heed to folk’s criticisms in order to avoid barriers on the path to rebirth. Among these, I match my own foolish compositions with those of Ietaka—it may not be an appropriate thing to do for the Way, but given our association, as ancient as Furu in Isonokami, I have done this out of special consideration for him.

Nevertheless, long ago I perused the poems of the Eight Anthologies from time to time, and they certainly have some spectacle about them, but yet many are now unclear. Indeed, among the poems of folk of modern times, over the past ten years I have not heard of even a single poem, for all that they are composed the same way, that it is possible to view as outstanding. Not only that, but as I approach my sixties and descend into my dotage, the signs of my own foolishness become increasingly apparent.

The first poem of the Left often wins, yet this has nothing remarkable about it. The Right’s poem, on the morning following a misty moonlit night, has a true link with the morning haze, and the sequencing of its diction and configuration are particularly charming. Nevertheless, the Left’s poem in the first round is in accordance with the matter, and I am thus not able to pick a winner or loser.