Both Gentlemen state: the poems are based on ‘The Song of the Lute’ and have no faults to mention.
In judgement: both the Left and the Right are based on ‘The Song of the Lute’ and the Left, beginning with ‘late on in the year’ (toshi fukaki) is pleasant, but ‘that he cares not at their parting’ (wakare oshimanu) and what follows seems rather insufficient, in addition to simply seeming to recall Xunyang River and lack a conception of the poet’s own love. The Right has ‘in ignorance of our parting’ (wakare o shiranu), while ‘bring folk to ask me why’ (hito wa toikeri) also has a slight conception that the lady has not asked why either. Thus, the Right should win.
The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks much of a conception of pleasure girls. In appeal: the poem was written in the conception of Mochitoki’s Chinese poem on pleasure girls ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. The Left state: the Right’s poem has nothing worth mentioning.
In judgement: is the conception of pleasure girls really absent from the Left’s ‘parting the reeds, and singing to the moon’ (ashima wake tsuki ni utaite)? The case certainly cannot rely on ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. A Chinese poem expresses its topic in its initial line. It is normal for the introduction of the topic to be vague. Japanese and Chinese poetry have aspects where they are similar, and aspects where they differ. Thus, it is not appropriate to cite a Chinese poem’s broaching of its topic as evidence for a Japanese poem’s content. There are certainly other examples by Mochitoki, such as his overlong line in ‘in a boat atop the waves, but I find the same pleasure in life’. The line about reed-leaves can in no way function as proof. Thus this poem, as ‘an old fisherman sings a single shanty’ could be said to be about an old man. As a result, given the lack of clarity in the poem, it is not possible to accept that it is about a pleasure girl. The Right’s poem concludes ‘that moon-sung girl is dear to me, indeed’ (tsuki ni utaishi imo zo koishiki). The final line seems to be almost pointlessly pedestrian, but the poem is certainly about love for a pleasure girl. The Right must win.
The Right state: the Left’s poem is good. The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks any faults to indicate.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘Barrier House at Fuwa’ (fuwa no sekiya) followed by ‘the moonlight leaking through the boards’ (itama moru tsuki) is truly charming. In addition, if one wonders why ‘I saw her face’ (mishi omokage mo) has been used, it is certainly reminiscent of the poem ‘The dawntime moon, too, lodges in the waters clear’, but an improvement on it. It is difficult to say, however, that the Right’s ‘At the Barrier House at Suma on the dawntime moon’ (suma no sekiya no ariake no tsuki) is in any way inferior.