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Showing posts from March, 2020

Hyakunin Isshu: poem 17 (Ariwara no Narihira・chihayaburu)

Impassionate gods have never heard of crimson that lies in the Tatsuta River.
Chihayaburu 神代も聞かず
kami-yo mo kikazu 竜田川
Tatsuta-gawa からくれなゐに
kara-kurenai ni 水くぐるとは
mizu kuguru to wa
Ariwara no Narihira Ariwara no Narihira 有原業平 (825–880) was a son of Prince Abo (阿保親王 Abo shinnō; 792–842) and Princess Ito (伊都内親王 Ito naishinnō; died 861), who were respectively son of Emperor Heizei (平城天皇Heizei tennō ;773–824) and daughter of Emperor Kanmu(桓武天皇 Kanmu tennō; 735–806). This makes Narihira a grandson of Emperors Kanmu and Heizei. However, Kanmu himself was the eldest son of Emperor Heizei, meaning that Narihira was both a grandson and a great-grandson of Emperor Heizei. Imperial descent, however, did not grant Narihira an imperial title, only the last name Ariwara 有原. Another son of Prince Abo, Ariwara no Yukihira 有原行平 (818–893; poem 16) was Narihira’s older half-brother from a different mother. 
Rather than for his political career, Narihira is known as a poet and the most-likely main protagonist o…

Hyakunin Isshu: poem 48 (Minamoto no Shigeyuki・kaze wo itami)

When winds send waves crashing against the rocks, I recall how my own efforts were in vain.
Kaze wo itami 岩うつ波の
iwa utsu nami no おのれのみ
onore nomi くだけてものを
kudakete mono wo 思ふころかな
omou koro kana
Shigeyuki Minamoto no Shigeyuki 源重之 lived in the second half of 10th century. His dates are unknown, although he seems to have died in 1001. He was a great-grandson of Emperor Seiwa (清和天皇Seiwa tennō; 850–881) and an associate of Taira no Kanemori 平兼盛 (d. 999; poem 40) and Fujiwara no Sanekata 藤原実方 (d. 998; poem 51).
Shigeyuki himself was a governor of Sagami 相模 (modern-day Kanagawa 神奈川). When in 995 Sanekata was appointed gorvernor of Mutsu 陸奥 (modern-day Aomori), Shigeyuki accompanied him. Both Sanekata and Shigeyuki remained in Mutsu until death. 
As a poet, Shigeyuki is considered one of Thirty-Six Poetic Immortals (三十六歌仙Sanjūrokkasen), as selected by Fujiwara no Kintō 藤原公任 (966–1041). He has 67 poems in the third imperial anthology Shūishū (拾遺集Collection of Gleanings)and later imperial poetry collec…

Hyakunin Isshu: poem 16 (Ariwara no Yukihira・tachi-wakare)

Note that though we may be apart, if I am to hear that you pine for me as Inaba mountain pines, I shall return to you.
Tachi-wakare いなばの山の
inaba no yama no 峰に生ふる
mine ni ouru まつとし聞かば
matsu to shi kikaba 今帰り来む
ima kaheri-kon
Yukihira Ariwara no Yukihira 有原行平 (818–893) was a son of Prince Abo (阿保親王Abo Shinnō; 792–842), grandson of Emperor Heizei (平城天皇Heizei Tennō; 773–824), and an older half-brother of Ariwara no Narihira 有原業平 (825–880; poem 17). 
Unlike his younger half-brother, Yukihira was a relatively successful courtier. In 855 he was appointed as governor of Inaba 因幡 province, by 882 he rose to the position of Middle Counselor or Chūnagon 中納言, from 883 to 887 he served as Minister of Popular Affairs (民部卿Minbukyō). During this time he sponsored the oldest known poetry contest or uta-awase歌合– Zai minbukyō no ie no utaawase在民部卿家歌合(Minister of Popular Affairs Contest). 
His poetry in Chinese is mentioned in the Chinese preface (真名序Mana-jo) of Kokinshū古今集(Kokin wakashū古今和歌集Collection of Early a…