Tag Archives: shade

SKS IX: 335

When the Go-nijō Regent [Fujiwara no Moromichi] was angry about some problematic circumstances, Nakamasa was at his residence, and did not present this to him directly, but said to the ladies in waiting.


sasuga ni kage ni
Furu kaFi mo naki
ame no sita kana
On Mount Mikasa
Indeed, by the shade
I am concealed, yet
Continuing on seems pointless
Under such a rain.

Minamoto no Nakamasa

Autumn I: 6



nami yori aki no
satemo wasurenu
yanagikage kana
Approaching on
The waves, comes autumn to
The Tatsuta River;
And yet, I cannot forget
The willows’ shade.

A Servant Girl.




aki asaki
hikage ni natsu wa
kururu magaki wa
ogi no uwakaze
Faintly autumnal is
The sunlight, with summer
Yet remaining;
At evening by the rough-woven fence
Blows a breeze o’er the silver-grass.



The Right say the Left’s poem is ‘particularly good.’ The Left state that, ‘“Faintly autumnl” (aki asaki) grates on the ear, and we also cannot grasp the use of “evening by the rough-woven fence” (kururu magaki).’

Shunzei states, ‘The Left’s “approaching on the waves” (nami yori aki no), seems particularly charming, but when taken together with “willows’ shade” (yanagi kade)– the Tatsuta River has long been the subject of composition on “flowing scarlet autumn leaves”, and even now this gives a slightly poetic effect; “willows’ shade” has been used in composition, both in ancient times and more recently, but does it not seem commonplace now? The Right’s poem is in the same vein as that of the Right in Round One Hundred and Fifty-Two, yet I do not find “faintly autumnal” to be unpleasant. “Evening by the rough-woven fence”, too, has charm. The Left’s poem has vocabulary in accordance with the contents; the Right unusual expressions. In this combination, the round must tie.’

Autumn I: 5



aki kitemo
nao yū kaze wo
matsu ga ne ni
natsu o wasureshi
kage zo tachi uki
Though the autumn has come,
Still, for an evening breeze,
Must I abide beneath the pines,
As did I to forget the summer,
Loath to leave the shade…

Lord Sada’ie.




mada nugiyaranu
yūgure wa
sode ni mataruru
hagi no uwakaze
My summer garb
Have I not yet put away;
In the evening
My sleeves await
A breeze over the bush-clover.



Neither team can find any fault with the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, says, ‘With regard to the Right’s poem, one marks the change of clothing at the end of spring into summer, and the passage from autumn and the entrance to winter. Does one say that now it is autumn, one changes from summer clothes? The Left’s ‘beneath the pines’ must win, must it not?’

Summer I: 4



kage hitasu
mizu sae iro zo
yomo no kozue no
onaji wakaba ni
Steeped in shade
Even the water’s hue
Has turned to green:
All around, the treetops
Loft the same new leaves…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


midori ni miyuru
izure ka hana no
kozue narikemu
All has
Turned to green on
Otowa mountain;
Which were the blossomed
Treetops, I wonder?

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state, ‘The use of “steeped” (hitasu) is not at all laudable,’ to which the Left reply that it is ‘in the spirit of “shade-steeped southern mountain”’, referring to a line in a famous xinyuefu (新楽府; ‘new ballad’ – a Chinese poetic form), ‘Kunming Spring’ (昆明春). They then continue, ‘Why the particular reference to Otowa Mountain? In addition, doesn’t the poem seem redolent of a reversal of Lord [Minamoto no] Yorimasa’s “the cherries do appear in bloom” (sakura wa hana ni arawarenikeri)?’ The Right, rather tersely reply, ‘Such things are only to be expected.’

Shunzei acknowledges the Chinese model for the Left’s poem: ‘ “Shade-steeped southern mountain” appears in the Baishiwenji, yet in this poem it appears to give an inappropriate emphasis [on the water rather than the trees]. In the Right’s poem, Otowa Mountain could certainly be any mountain. As for the reference to Lord Yorimasa’s poem – this type of technique is becoming increasingly common nowadays. The Right should win.’

Spring II: 6

Left (Tie)


mina hito no
haru no kokoro no
narenuru nobe no
hana no kage kana
Everyone who
Loves the springtime
Come to
These familiar fields and rest
‘Neath the blossoms’ shade!

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Tie)


soko tomo iwazu
hana no yado kase
nobe no uguisu
My friends,
Heedless of our place
Has darkness fallen:
Lend us your lodging ‘mongst the blooms,
O, warbler, in the fields!



Neither side has any comments to make about these two poems.

Shunzei says both poems possess a ‘scintillating beauty’, but wonders whether the Right’s hasn’t borrowed too heavily from the Monk Sosei’s poem:

Composed as a Spring Poem

Faru no yamabe ni
soko tomo iFanu
tabine sitesika
My friends,
In springtime in the mountain meadows
Did we gather,
Heedless of our place,
Wanted we to sleep out on our trip!

KKS II: 126

However, using the variation to borrow lodging from a warbler is, indeed, ‘scintillating’ and neither poems ‘sounds the least bit old-fashioned’. Hence, the round must be a tie.