Koresada shinnō-ke uta’awase

Shinpen kokka taikan no.3
Heian-chō uta’awase taisei no.4
Romanised TitleKoresada shinnō-ke uta’awase
Translated TitlePoetry Contest at the House of Imperial Prince Koresada
Alternative Title(s)二宮歌合 Ni no miya uta’awase (‘The Second Prince Poetry Contest’); 仁和御時親王歌合 Ninna no ōntoki shinnō uta’awase (‘The Imperial Prince’s Poetry Contest held during the Reign of the Ninna Emperor’)
DateAutumn, before 9/Kanpyō 5 [10.893]
Extant Poems71
SponsorPrince Koresada 是貞親王
Identifiable ParticipantsFujiwara no Toshiyuki 藤原敏行 (?-901/907); Ōe no Chisato 大江千里 (dates unknown); Ki no Tomonori 紀友則 (845?-907); Ki no Tsurayuki 紀貫之 (ca. 866/872-945); Mibu no Tadamine 壬生忠岑 (ca. 860-920); Fun’ya no Asayasu 文屋朝康 (dates unknown); Ōshikōchi no Mitsune 凡河内躬恒 (859?-925?); Fun’ya no Yasuhide 文屋康秀 (?-885)

Koresada 是貞 (?-903) was a son of Emperor Kōkō 光孝天皇 (830-887; r. 884-887) and the elder brother of Sadami 定省, who was to ascend the throne as Emperor Uda 宇多 (867-931; r. 887-897). Like his brother, Koresada’s chances of becoming emperor seemed lost when he was demoted to commoner status in 870 with the awarding of the Minamoto 源 surname as a result of the machinations of Fujiwara no Mototsune 藤原基経 (836-891), but after events resulted in the return of Sadami to princely status and his installation as emperor in 887, it was felt to be inapproriate for the sovereign’s elder brother to remain a commoner and he was readmitted to the imperial family in 891.

While Koresada is the official sponsor of this poetry contest, it is, in many ways, a precursor to the subsequent Kanpyō no ōntoki kisai no miya uta’awase 寛平御時后宮歌合 (‘Poetry Contest held by the Empress Dowager during the Reign of the Kanpyō Emperor’) and so it seems that Uda had a strong influence over its content. Extant records of the contest contain 71 poems but scholars speculate that it may originally have had as many as forty or fifty rounds and thus 80 or 100 poems in total. Many of this contest’s poems were also included in other collections and anthologies (see below), and it is from these that the identities of a number of the poets taking part have been identified. As a result of the lack of both any records of the formal conduct of the competition, and judgements of the poems’ quality, it is possible that this is an early example of a ‘selected poem match’ (senka awase 撰歌合), where poems were chosen from poets’ various works and assembled into the format of a competition.

The following is a partial listing of where poems from the competition can be found in other collections.


KKS IV: 189
KKS IV: 193
KKS IV: 197
KKS IV: 207
KKS IV: 214
KKS IV: 218
KKS IV: 225
KKS IV: 228
KKS IV: 239
KKS V: 249
KKS V: 257
KKS V: 263
KKS V: 266
KKS V: 270
KKS V: 278
KKS V: 295
KKS V: 306
KKS XII: 582


GSS V: 217GSS V: 265GSS VI: 323

Here are some short video explainers about the poems in the contest.

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