Tag Archives: kirigirisu

Kanpyō no ōntoki kisai no miya uta’awase 48



akikaze ni
tsuzurisase chō
kirigirisu naku
The autumn wind
Seems to have burst the buds of
The asters
‘Sew them back together!’ say
The crickets’ cries.

Ariwara no Muneyana



aki no yo no
ame to kikoete
furitsuru wa
kaze ni chiritsuru
momiji narikeri
On an autumn night
The sound of rain
Falling is
The wind scattered
Scarlet leaves.


GSS V: 257

Topic unknown.


akikaze no
fukikuru yoi wa
kusa no ne goto ni
koe midarekeri
The autumn wind
Comes gusting late at night, when
The crickets
From every single blade of grass
Let out confused cries.


[1] This poem appears in the ‘Poetry Contest held at Prince Koresada’s House’ (Koresada shinnō-ke uta’awase (42).

Koresada shinnō-ke uta’awase 21


aki no yo ni
tare o matsu to ka
higurashi no
yūgure goto ni
On an autumn night
Who is it that you await, I wonder?
The sundown cicadas
With each evening
Cry ever louder…



akikaze no
fukikuru yoi wa
kusa no ne goto ni
koe midarekeri
The autumn wind
Comes gusting late at night, when
The crickets
From every single blade of grass
Let out confused cries.


[1] This poem was included in Gosenshū (V: 257).

KKS XIX: 1020

A poem from the Poetry Contest held by the Empress Dowager during the reign of the Kanpyō emperor.


akikaze ni
tudurisasete teFu
kirigirisu naku
With the autumn breeze
Seem to have bloomed and twined
The asters
Bound together by the rasping
Crickets’ cries.[1]

Ariwara no Muneyana

[1] This poem is composed around a dual wordplay, which I have not been able to closely replicate in the translation. Hokorobu is simultaneously both ‘bloom fully’ and ‘thread (a needle)’ while tsuzuru is both ‘sew together’ and an onomatopoeic representation of the sound that a cricket makes.

Love VIII: 28

Left (Win)

aware ni zo
ware nomi shiboru
sode ka to omou ni
How sad it is –
Crying with the dawn is
The cricket, though
I alone am wringing
Out my sleeves, I feel.

Lord Suetsune


tsuyu fukaki
aware o omoe
makura no shita no
aki no yūgure
Deep in dew and
Sad, I wish you were,
O, cricket,
Beneath my pillow
On this autumn evening…


The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults we can mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: our feelings are the same as those of the Right

In judgement: both Left and Right are on ‘crickets’ (kirigirisu) and their configuration and diction sound equally elegantly beautiful. I feel that the Right, with ‘deep in dew and sad, I wish you were’ (tsuyu fukaki aware o omoe), is somewhat lacking in the conception of the poet’s own love, but the Left, with ‘I alone am wringing out my sleeves, I feel’ (ware nomi shiboru sode ka to omou ni), has an excellent conception of love, so I must state that the Left is the winner.

Love VIII: 25


oki mo ide
toshi furu koi wa
tokoyo no kami ya
shirushi misubeki
Unable to arise
From love these many years,
May I
By the eternal gods
Be shown a sign!


Right (Win)

hitori fusu
naganagashi yo no
kanashiki o
katarai akasu
kirigirisu kana
Lying alone,
So long, long the night’s
Lightening it with chatter
Are the crickets!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office

The Gentlemen of the Right state: what is the meaning of ‘the eternal gods’ (toko no kami). In appeal, the Left: in the Chronicles of Japan, insects are worshipped under the name of ‘the eternal gods’ and made to seem like men. The Left state: what can an insect chatter about?

In judgement: in regard to the Left’s poem, while it is true that insects were worshipped, a poem on ‘Love and Insects’ with no insect is lacking something from the start. This poem would seem to be more a case of ‘Love and Prayers’. Thus, this is nothing enduring. A prior example has been contrived, but this is ineffective. It does not seem as if this insect’s nature has any relation to the topic. The Right’s poem has a commonplace cricket. Where is the fault in having it lighten one’s mood with chatter? Thus, the Right must win.

Autumn III: 20



iro kawaru
oshi no kegoromo
kesa mizu wa
furu tomo shiraji
aki no tsuyujimo
Colours changing on
The mandarin duckdown:
If I see it not this morning,
I’ll not know that has fallen:
Autumn’s frosty dew!





shimo sayuru
yomogi ga shita no
koe mo kareno ni
nari ya shinuran
Frozen by frost,
Beneath the tangled mugwort
Has the cricket’s
Chirp wearied as the withered fields

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right say, ‘It sounds as if the Left cannot see frost, unless it’s on a mandarin duck’s down!’
The Left respond, ‘There is the poem ‘the down-clad ducks come to my mind’ (kamo no uwage o omoi koso yare). If one composes a poem about one thing, that’s what one is composing about. As for what the Right have to say in their poem, if one is listening to a cricket’s chirp, how can it be withering away? Dubious! [fushin]’

Shunzei’s judgement: I must say I am doubtful myself about saying frosty dewfall changes the colour of ‘mandarin duckdown’ (oshi no kegoromo). In the Right’s poem, saying, ‘the cricket’s chirp’ (kirigirisu no koe) ‘the withered fields become’ (kareno ni nari ya shinuran) sounds as if one cannot hear it at all. The Left’s use of ‘dew’ (tsuyu), too, seems pointless. The Right has an elegant [yū naru] initial section, but the diction in the final section is dubious [shūku no kotoba fushin ni kikoyu]. I make the round a tie.