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Showing posts from October, 2012

Hyakunin Isshu: poem 89 (Princess Shokushi)

Nothing can be worse than living a moment longer when I cannot bear growing any weaker than I already have.

Princess Shokushi (a. k. a. Shikishi (Shikishi Naishinno), born in 1149 or 1150, died in 1201) was the third daughter of Emperor Go-Shirakawa*. At the age of nine or ten, in 1159, she was appointed to serve as sai'in (high priestess) at Kamo Shrines** and acted as one until she resigned in 1169, likely due to an illness.
Not much is known about Shokushi's life after she resined from the Kamo Shrines if not diaries of Fujiwara no Teika (Meigetsuki) and Minamoto no Ienaga*** (Minamoto no Ienaga nikki). After she resigned she studied poetry under Fujiwara no Shunzei**** and later his son, Fujiwara no Teika (poem 97).
She was an excellent poetess and even in her time, she was estimated as very talented. The love poems written by Princess Shokushi are believed to be too emotionally profound to be written simply for the sake of traditi…