Category Archives: Kanpyō no ōntoki kiku awase

Kanpyō no ōntoki kiku awase

Shinpen kokka taikan no.2
Heian-chō uta’awase taisei no.3
Romanised TitleKanpyō no ōntoki kiku awase
Translated TitleChrysanthemum Contest held during the Reign of the Kanpyō Emperor
Alternative Title(s)内裏菊合 Dairi kiku awase (‘Palace Chrysanthemum Contest’)
DateAutumn, Ninna 4-Kanpyō 3 [888-891]
Extant Poems20
SponsorEmperor Uda 宇多天皇
Identifiable Participants[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.

Go to the contest

Kanpyō no ōntoki kiku awase 20

Composed on the figure of a person waiting at the foot of a chrysanthemum.

Fana mitutu
Fito matu toki Fa
shirotaFe no
sode ka to nomi zo
While gazing at the blooms,
Awaiting his arrival,
Simply for white mulberry
Sleeves have I
Mistaken them…


This poem was included in Kokinshū (V: 274).

Kanpyō no ōntoki kiku awase 17

Composed on someone passing through chrysanthemums to reach a sage’s dwelling.

nurete Fosu
yamazi no kiku no
tuyu no ma ni
ituka titose wo
ware Fa Fenikemu
Drenched, then drying
On this mountain path with chrysanthemum
Dewdrops—in that little space
Has, somehow, a thousand years
Passed me by?


This poems was included in Kokinshū (V: 273), where it has a somewhat different headnote.