Tag Archives: heart

Dairi uta’awase Kanna Gan-nen 1

On the tenth day of the Eighth Month, Kanna 1,[1] His Majesty[2] entered the Courtiers’ Hall briefly and divided the gentlemen in attendance into teams for a poetry contest. His Majesty’s partner was Supernumerary Middle Counsellor Kintō, and he provided of the four topics. Judgements were by Koreshige.


Left (Win)


aki no yo no
tsuki ni kokoro wa
kumoi ni mono o
omou koro kana
On an autumn night
By the moon is my heart
Things beyond the clouds
Fill my thoughts a while!

His Majesty



itsumo miru
tsuki zo to omoe
aki no yo wa
ikanaru kage o
souru naruran
Every time I see
The moon it fills my thoughts, but
On an autumn night
What light is it that
Does seem to cover all?

Lord Kintō

[1] 28.8.985

[2] Emperor Kazan 花山 (968-1008; r. 984-986).

KKS II: 114

Composed when it was said that a poetry competition was to be held at the residence of the Middle Captain Lady of the Bedchamber in the Ninna period.[1]


oshi to omoFu
kokoro Fa ito ni
tiru Fana goto ni
nukite todomemu
If regrets
Within my heart should into threads
Be spun, then
Through every scattered blossom
Would I sew to hold them here…


[1] It was taboo to record the personal names of noble women of high rank unless they were made empress. The Ninna 仁和 period began on the 11th day of the Third Month, 885, and lasted until the 30th day of the Fifth Month, 889. ‘Lady of the Bedchamber’ (miyasudokoro 御息所) was a title given to imperial consorts who had given birth to a prince, while ‘Middle Captain’ (chūjō 中将) was a military position in the palace guards. Contemporary readers would have been able to identify who the ‘Lady who had given birth to an imperial prince and whose father held the position of Middle Captain during the Ninna period’ was, but modern scholarship has not done so; nor have records of this poetry competition survived.