Category Archives: Kin’yōshū sansōbon

KYS I: 56

Composed on blossom fallen on the water.


Fana sasoFu
arasi ya mine wo
sakuranami yoru
tanigaFa no midu
Enticing the blossom
Is it the storm wind upon the peak
That passes o’er
The cherry waves breaking
In the waters of a valley stream?

Lord Minamoto no Masakane

KYS IX: 592

During the reign of Retired Emperor Horikawa, when Middle Councillor [Minamoto no] Shigesuke (1045-1122) was the Controller of the Chamberlain’s Office, he sent this together with a letter from [his eldest son] Minamoto no Toshishige requesting a position as Secretary in the Ministry of Ceremonial.


Fi no Fikari
amaneki sora no
kesiki ni mo
wa ga mi Fitotu Fa
kumo kakuretutu
The sunlight
Fills the entire sky;
Yet in this sight
I alone
Am always hidden ’neath the clouds.

Minamoto no Toshiyori

KYS IX: 577

Gyōson had been wandering the land for many years honing his ascetic skills when he came to Kumano to join in a test of faith. Lord [Fujiwara no] Suke’ie came to view the ceremony and saw him there, but because he was extraordinarily thin and frail and had completely changed his appearance, did not recognise him, and said to the monk next to him, ‘What manner of man is that? He seem amazingly enlightened!’ Hearing this, Gyōson composed:


kokoro koso
yo wo ba sutesi ka
maborosi no
sugata mo Fito ni
In my heart
I have left the world behind, yet
Even as a phantom
Figure, folk have
Forgotten me, it seems.

Archbishop Gyōson

KYS IX: 546

Once when Izumi Shikbu was on her way to Ishiyama, she stopped in Ōtsu; late at night she sensed a crowd of people nearby making an enormous amount of noise. On enquiring what was going on, she was told, ‘Some people from the lower orders are polishing rice,’ and composed this poem.


sagi no wiru
matubara ikani
sirage Fa utate
sato toyomikeri
Egrets dwell
Among the pine groves; how
Noisy they seem;
Their white plumes unpleasantly
Echo through the house, it seems.

Izumi Shikibu

KYS IX: 512

Composed on seeing cherry blossom unexpectedly at Ōmine.


morotomo ni
aFare to omoFe
Fana yori Foka ni
siru Fito mo nasi
Won’t you as well
Feel kind,
O, mountain cherry?
For other than your blossom,
I have no acquaintances here at all…

Archbishop Gyōson

KYS IV: 294

Composed on hawking in the snow.


nurenure mo
naFo kariyukamu
Fasitaka no
uFage no yuki wo
Drenched, but even so
Let us still hunt on!
From my sparrowhawk’s
Plumage the snow
I’ll ever brush!

Minamoto no Michinari

KYS II: 93

Composed on the conception of love at the end of the Third Month.


Faru Fa wosi
Fito Fa koyoi to
keFu no kure kana
Regretting the departure of spring, and
Tonight, my man
Wracked with painful thoughts
Does today reach its dusk!

The Minister of the Centre

KYS IX: 543

During the period when Izumi Shiku had accompanied Yasumasa to Tango, when there was a poetry match in the capital and Handmaid Koshikibu was selected as one of the poets, Lord Sadayori came to her chamber at the palace and went on at her, asking, ‘How are your poems coming along? Will you be sending them to your mother in Tango? Has your messenger not returned yet?’ and really seemed very unsettled about everything, so she composed this as a playful way of preventing him from going himself.


ikuno no michi no
mada Fumi mo miezu
ama no Fasidate
In Ōeyama
The path to Ikuno
Lies far away, so
I’ve not set foot upon it, or had a letter from

Handmaid Koshikibu

KYS III: 211

Composed on the moon at dawn on the road to a barrier, while at the Shirakawa residence of the former Uji Grand Minister.


ariake no
tuki mo simizu ni
koyoFi Fa koezi
aFusaka no seki
The dawntime
Moon within pure water
Has lodged;
Tonight I’ll not pass
The barrier at Meeting Hill.

Lord Fujiwara no Norinaga

A kuzushiji version of the poem's text.
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