[Ki no] Tomonori 友則; The Suga Prime Minister (suga shōjō 菅丞相) [Sugawara no Michizane 菅原道真]; Sosei 素性
This ‘contest’ can be categorised as a ‘things match’ (mono awase 物合). That is, an event where different objects of the same type were displayed and admired for the entertainment of the assembled company. Sometimes, the best of these would be identified, and sometimes not. Poems were often composed to accompany these events and add a literary element to the enjoyment; sometimes the quality of these would be judged, and sometimes not, as is the case here.
As indicated by the competition’s title, the objects being displayed and compared here were chrysanthemum blooms, and this is the oldest known ‘Chrysanthemum match’ (kiku awase 菊合). For the occasion the teams of the Left and Right prepared ten flowers each, all with an accompanying poem, which were displayed on elaborately constructed stands (suhama 州浜). Only three of the participants’ names have been recorded (Ki no Tomonori 紀友則 (850?-904?); Sugawara no Michizane 菅原道真 (845-903); and Sosei 素性 (844?-910?), and this is because four of the poems from the contest were later included in Kokinshū.