The Right say that the meaning of sogagiku is unclear. The Left respond, ‘They are yellow chrysanthemums. Emperor Ninmyō [Soga] was known to be fond of the colour yellow and so this is a term for yellow chrysanthemums.’ The Right then continue, ‘The Man’yōshū uses the term sogai (“rear”), in poems with the conception of “pursuing after” [oisugai no kokoro nari]. So are these not, therefore, chrysanthemums which are later in blooming on riverbanks, perhaps?’
The Left content themselves with saying that the Right’s poem shows no particular brilliance of construction, nor significant faults.
Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘Does not need soft thoughts alone’ (nasake nomi ka wa) is by no means bad in the context of this poem [kono uta ni torite wa ashikarazarubeshi]. The explanation about yellow chrysanthemums is, indeed, one that has had some circulation recently. Lord Toshiyori apparently declared sogagiku to be ‘a single stem of yellow chrysanthemums’. The Right’s other query on the relationship with the Man’yō term sogai, does not seem to be without merit [muri ni arazaru]. It has been said that the Right’s poem lacks faults, but I cannot appreciate ‘so seem to say’ (ii kao ni) as proper diction [shokisebekarazaru kono kotoba haberubeki]. In the absence of definite proof from the reign of Emperor Ninmyō about the sense of sogagiku, I make this round a tie.
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.’