Tag Archives: Katano

Winter I: 24



utsu no yama
yū koekureba
mizore furi
sode hoshikanetsu
aware kono tabi
Gloomy in the Utsu Mountains,
Crossing them at dusk
In a fall of sleet;
I cannot dry my sleeves,
On this lonely journey.





kyō mo mata
katano no mino ni
mizore shite
kawaku ma mo naki
karigoromo kana
Today once more
On the royal hunting grounds at Katano
Sleet falls;
No time at all to dry
My hunter’s garb…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right find no faults with the Left’s poem. The Left merely say that the Right’s poem sounds old-fashioned [furumekashi].

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The Left’s ‘I cannot dry my sleeves, on this lonely journey’ (sode hoshikanetsu aware kono tabi) has a strong sound of loneliness about it [sabite wa kikoehaberu], but there is a lack of anything connected to utsu no yama in this poem. In The Tales of Ise where it says ‘By Utsu Mount in reality‘ (utsu no yamabe no utsutsu ni mo), it does not seem that sleet was falling. If there is no reason for including utsu no yama to express the sense of sleet falling, there are many other places which could have been used to express a lonely journey. As there is no reason for including it, formally [sama de] there is a lack of connection to it. The Right’s katano no mino, too, as in the poem ‘To lend lodging to keep me dry, is there no one‘ is about hail, though hawking does take place there, so the poem does sounds slightly charming [sukoshi okashiku kikoyu]. Both Left and Right use utsu no yama and katano no mino, respectively, unnecessarily – anywhere would have done as well. Both poems are equal for this reason.’

Spring II: 8

Left (Win).


hito ya kikuran
sugi no no ni
saodoru kigisu
koe shikirinari
Does the hunting
Party hear it?
Among the cypress groves
The waltzing pheasants’
Cries come clearly.

Lord Suetsune




kigisu naku
katano no hara no
todachi koso
makoto ni kari no
The pheasants cry upon
The plain of Katano:
In the bird-brakes,
Truly, will they find only brief

Lord Tsune’ie


The Right say they have no particular criticisms of the Left’s poem this round. The Right, on the other hand, say that ‘pheasants crying in the bird brakes’ (kigisu naku todachi) sounds ‘clumsy’. After all, a bird-brake is a place from where birds fly, and those birds are pheasants. The Left counter that Fujiwara no Kintō’s poem, ‘Of my mountain hut, the blossoms are the lodgings’ (yamazato Fa Fana koso yado no) is a similar case, as there is no difference between a ‘hut’ and ‘lodgings’, and there is nothing to criticise in this poem.

Shunzei begins by saying that the Left’s poem, below ‘cypress groves’ (sugi no no) is ‘old-fashioned’, while the top two stanzas are ‘modern poetry’, and wonders whether it is not ‘unsuitable’ to mix these styles in one poem. As to the question of whether the Right’s poem is ‘defective’, the poem they cite in its defence is ‘even more defective’ (meaning that the complete version of Kintō’s poem uses the same auxiliary verb (-keri) twice). However, in ancient times, and the past, too, it was the normal state of affairs that ‘such defects were not avoided.’ Is it not the case, he asks, whether ‘the anthologies and poetry competitions are entirely different?’ (The commentators take this as suggesting it’s better to avoid producing ‘defective’ poems in competition.) Thus, though he finds the use of old-fashioned expressions like ‘waltzing’ (saodoru) displeasing, the Left’s poem is not defective and so must win this round.

SKKS II: 114

When he composed five poems at the house of the Regent and Grand Minister.


mata ya min
katano no mino no
hana no yuki chiru
haru no akebono
When might I see the like again?
In Katano’s august field,
In search of cherry,
A blizzard of blossom falls
This Spring dawn.

Master of the Dowager Empress’ Household Office [Fujiwara no] Toshinari