Tag Archives: aoi

Summer I: 18



kumo no ue o
izuru tsukai no
mukau hikage ni
kazasu kyō kana
From above the clouds
The messengers emerge;
Bearing branches, hollyhock decked,
Bent towards the sun-bright power
In adornment on this day.

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


kakete zo tanomu
aoi ureshiki
miare to omoeba
With mulberry-cloth
Garlanded, wishing for
A jewelled belt of
Hollyhocks, on this joyful
Festive day…

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right have no particular remarks to make about the Left’s poem. The Left, however, comment, ‘“Festival” (matsuri)and “festive” (miare) are somewhat different. They do not refer to events held on the same day.’

Shunzei responds, ‘While the Left’s “Bent towards the sun-bright power” (mukau hikage) certainly provides no evidence of a lack of feeling, in overall form the Right’s poem seems more elegantly flowing [migi utazama, iinagasaretaru yō]. While it is true that the festive days begin two days prior to the festival itself, the term can also apply to the evening of the festival day, and so the two can be seen as synonymous. The Right would seem to win.’

Summer I: 16

Left (Tie).


kazasu kyō to zo
omoishi ni
hana o oritemo
miewataru kana
With hollyhock I’d
Deck myself today
I thought,
And found all blessed with blooms
Within my sight!

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


kamo no miare no
wataru kyō kana
To mighty
Kamo for these three days have
The hollyhocks
In ever longer lines
Processed toward this day.



The Right, ‘wonder if the Left’s poem doesn’t make the hollyhock seem like an afterthought?’, while the Left content themselves with saying, ‘the initial section of the Right’s poems seems rather dated.’

Shunzei disagrees: ‘The Left’s poem does not make the hollyhocks secondary – rather than implying they are mere decorations, it suggests the beauty of everyone beautifully adorned proceeding toward the shrine. As for the Right’s poem, the use of old-fashioned terms is normal in the context. This makes both poems are equal, and the round should tie.’

Summer I: 14

Left (Tie).


mukashi yori
kimi to kami to ni
kyō no aoi wa
futaba narikeri
Ever between
My Lord and the God
Has my loyalty been split;
Thus the hollyhocks, today,
Have leaves in pairs…



Right (Tie).


mukashi yori
itsuki no miya ni
kyō wa suzushiki
kamo no kawakaze
Long since upon
The princess of purity
Has it begun to blow;
Today, so cool is
The breeze from Kamo River…



The Right have no particular comments to make about the Left’s poem, but the Left complain that the Right’s, ‘does not seem that clearly connected with the Kamo Festival. Moreover, “princess of purity” (itsuki no miya) properly refers to the Princess at Ise; the Kamo Princess should be “lady of purity” (itsuki no in), should it not?’

Shunzei states, ‘Both Left and Right this round begin with a reference to the past (mukashi yori) and then continue with “my Lord and the God” (kimi to kami ni) and “the priestess of purity has it begun to blow” (itsuki no miya ni fukisomete) respectively; both are charming in form and spirit, but the gentlemen of the Left have criticised the failure to use “lady” (in). In poetry, though, how could we to use this word? Both the priestess at Ise and the priestess at Kamo are Imperial Princesses. Why, therefore, is it problematic to use the expression? Furthermore, Lord Sanekata composed a poem with the line, “Sleeping on my way to the princess of purity” (itsuki no miya no tabine ni wa), and at the Unrin Temple, in the Tale by the old man, Yotsugi, in praise of Princess Senshi it says, “although there were many princesses of purity in the world…”. This round must tie.’


Composed when she was Kamo High Priestess, at the shrine buildings.


wasureme ya
aoi o kusa ni
karine no nobe no
tsuyu no akebono
Will I forget, I wonder,
Hollyhocks for my pillow
Plucked and twined,
Sleeping briefly in the fields
On this dew-drenched dawning.

Princess Shokushi