One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets

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Poem 91


naku ya shimoyo no

   samushiro ni

koromo katashiki

hitori ka mo nemu


   On a frosty night

with the crickets chirping,

   am I to spread out

a sleeve on this cold straw mat

and sleep here by myself?

-- Fujiwara no Yoshitsune


The source is the second “Autumn” book of the Shinkokinshū (SKT 518). Fujiwara no Yoshitsune (1169 – 1206), the second son of Regent Fujiwara no Kanezane (1149 – 1207), composed the kana preface of the Shinkokinshū. The actual attribution in the Hyakunin isshu uses the appellation Gokyōgoku sesshō saki no daijōdaijin: Gokyoku Regent and Former Minister of State.

Like the previous waka, this is an example of honkadori, although here two earlier waka are involved: Poem 3 by Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, from the Shūishū, and an anonymous waka in the Kokinshū (no. 689) about the Maiden of Uji Bridge waiting for her lover. There may also be an allusion to a verse in the Man’yoshū (no. 1696) that contains an identical last two lines. The Japanese word for “straw mat” is homophonous with the word for “cold,” so this kakekotoba is the second poetic device at work in the waka. The situation might be envisioned as someone living alone in a mountain village or perhaps spending the night at an inn while traveling: despite the reference to sleeping alone -- and despite the classification of the Kokinshū source as a love poem -- the focus in the Shinkokinshū is more on the lonesomeness of the season than on the loneliness of a lover, even if the suggestion of the latter remains.

Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  cricket (the Japanese words for "cricket" and "grasshopper" have reversed meaning over time)
  • Line 2:  chirp | ! | frosty-night | 's
  • Line 3:  coldness + straw-mat | on
  • Line 4:  clothing | spreading-out-one-side (that is, the man lays out a sleeve for the woman to rest her head on)
  • Line 5:  one-person | ? | ! | will-sleep

Poem 92

  wa ga sode wa

shiohi ni mienu

   oki no ishi no

hito koso shirane

kawaku ma mo nashi


   My sleeves, like rocks

submerged in the offing

   even at ebb tide,

go unnoticed by any

and have no time to dry.

-- Nijōin no Sanuki


The source is the second “Love” book of the Senzaishū (SKT 760). Sanuki (1141? – 1217?) was the daughter of Minamoto no Yorimasa (1104 – 1180) and served Empress Ninshi (1174 – 1238), the wife of both Emperor Nijō (1143 – 1165; r. 1158 – 1165) and Emperor Go-Toba (see Poem 99).

This is the last in a short series of three waka that focuses on the image of kimono sleeves, and the second poem in a row to rely on the allusive technique of honkadori, evident in the close rewording of an original in the Izumi Shikibu shū (for Izumi Shikibu, see Poem 56). The second and third lines of the Japanese original function as a descriptive jokotoba prefacing the more subjective reflections of the last two lines. The poet likely intends the “any” to refer not just to people generally but to one person in particular -- the one in whom she has a romantic interest.

Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  I | 's | sleeve | as-for
  • Line 2:  ebb-tide | at | not-be-seen
  • Line 3:  offing | 's | rock | (subj.)
  • Line 4:  person | ! | though-not-know (the "koso...shirane" combination implies "although" by contrast with the following line)
  • Line 5:  to-dry | time-period | ! | not-be

Poem 93

   yononaka wa

tsune ni mogamo na

   nagisa kogu

ama no obune no

tsunade kanashi mo


   Would that the world might

forever remain the same!

   The tow ropes trailing

from the little fishing boats

along the coast seem so sad.

-- Minister of the Right from Kamakura


The source is the “Travel” book of the Shinchokusenshū (SKT 525). Minamoto no Sanetomo (1192 – 1219) was the second son of Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147 – 1199) and the third shōgun of the Kamakura bakufu. He was assassinated by his nephew Kugyō at the Tsuraoka Hanchimangū shrine in Kamakura.

There are two allusions to earlier poems that inform the waka's meaning, illustrating the honkadori technique. One is the reference to a verse in the Man'yōshū (no. 22) in which the poet explicitly wishes wish for things to remain unchanged. The other refers to a poem in the Kokinshū (no. 1088) which remarks on the sadness inspired by the sight of towlines trailing behind boats in Shiogama Bay (present-day Matsushima Bay in Miyagi Prefecture). That the same everyday sight would have been visible on the coast of Kamakura establishes a connection with the fate of Sanetomo (who studied waka composition with Teika). The nikugire technique is evident in the semantic break at the end of the second phrase, neatly separating the two allusions so they can be synthesized through their juxtaposition.

Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  world | as-for
  • Line 2:  eternal | may-it-be-so | !
  • Line 3:  coastline | ply
  • Line 4:  fisher | 's | small-boat | 's
  • Line 5:  tow-rope | moving | !

Poem 94

   Mi-yoshino no

yama no akikaze

   sayo fukete

furusato samuku

koromo utsu nari


   The autumn wind blows

through the mountains of fair Yoshino

   late into the night,

the fulling block echoing coldly

where our sovereigns once held sway.

--Consultant Masatsune


The source is the second “Autumn” book of the Shinkokinshū (SKT 483). Fujiwara no Masatsune (1170 – 1221) was one of the compilers of the Shinkokinshū.

Yoshino, in present-day Nara Prefecture ("Mi-" is a beautifying prefix), was the site of a detached palace built in the 8th century (possibly preceded by others) to which early Japanese emperors frequently repaired. By the time of the Kokinshū, the region had acquired connotations of desolation and distant imperial glory. This is another honkadori poem, based on a waka in the “Winter” book of the Kokinshū (no. 325) about the freezing cold of Yoshino when it lies buried under deep snow. The season has been transposed to autumn and the visual image of snow replaced by the conventionally desolate sound of the fulling block carried by the wind.

Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  fair-Yoshino | 's
  • Line 2:  mountain | 's | autumn-wind
  • Line 3:  night | deepening
  • Line 4:  onetime-home | cold (the implications of "home" depend in this case on historical circumstance)
  • Line 5:  clothing | be-beaten

Poem 95


ukiyo no tami ni

   ōu kana

wa ga tatsu soma ni

sumizome no sode


   Unworthy as I am,

I shall raise a cover to protect

   those of this mournful world.

For I now live on Mount Hiei

in a robe with sleeves dyed black.

-- Former Archbishop Jien


The source is the second “Miscellaneous” book of the Senzaishū (SKT 1137). Jien (1155 – 1225) was the son of Fujiwara no Tadamichi (see Poem 76) and the author of the historical treatise Gukanshō.

A new priest is announcing his resolve to make good use of the saving grace of Buddha: he figuratively declares that he will use his new status (symbolized by his black sleeves) to protect the ordinary inhabitants of this world through prayer. To convey this presumably self-referential message, Jien has employed a number of rhetorical techniques: a semantic break after the third phrase (sankugire); wordplay involving the kakekotoba sumizome to refer to both sleeves that have been "dyed ink-black” and his “newly started life” as a priest on Mount Hiei; the associations between the words sode (“sleeve”) and ōu (“cover”) that make them engo; and the implied grammatical inversion, or tōchi-hō, of displacing sumizome no sode from its expected position as the object of the verb ōu (that is, "use sleeves of my robe to protectively cover"; it is an implied inversion because the accusative particle o is missing from the end of the fifth line). Moreover, there is a honkadori allusion to a Shinkokinshū poem (no. 1920, a shakkyō, or poem on Siikyamuni's teachings) supposedly composed by Saichō (767 – 822) when he built the main hall of the Enryakuji, headquarters of the Tendai sect on Mount Hiei, in which he invokes the various Buddhas' protection (soma technically refers to a mountain that serves as a source of timber for temples and palaces; by extension, the reference is to Mount Hiei).

Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  presumptuously
  • Line 2:  wretched-world | 's | populace | on
  • Line 3:  spread-over | !
  • Line 4:  I | (subj.) | stand-upon | lumber-mountain | on
  • Line 5:  black-dyed + starting-to-live | 's | sleeves

Poem 96

   hana sasō

arashi no niwa no

   yuki narade

furiyuku mono wa

wa ga mi narikeri







-- The Lay Priest Formerly Minister of State


The source is the first “Miscellaneous” book of the Shinchokusenshū (SKT 1052). Fujiwara no Kintsune (1171 – 1244) was the brother-in-law of Fujiwara no Teika (see Poem 97).


Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  blossoms | invite
  • Line 2:  gale | 's | garden
  • Line 3:  snow | not-being
  • Line 4:  keep-falling + keep-aging | thing | as-for
  • Line 5:  I | 's | self | be!

Poem 97

   konu hito o

Matsuho-no-ura no

   yūnagi ni

yaku ya moshio no

mi mo kogaretsutsu







-- Provisional Middle Counselor Teika


The source is the third “Love” book of the Shinchokusenshū (SKT 849). Fujiwara no Teika (or Sadaie, 1162 – 1241) was the son of Fujiwara no Shunzei (or Toshinari, see Poem 83). Besides the Ogura Hyakunin isshu, he played a leading role in compiling the Shinkokinshū and also compiled the Shinchokusenshū.


Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  not-come | person | (acc.)
  • Line 2:  wait + Matsuho Bay | 's
  • Line 3:  evening-calm | in (the sense of the first three lines is "as I wait in the evening calm of Matsuho Bay for one who does not come")
  • Line 4:  burn | ! | seaweed-salt | 's
  • Line 5:  oneself | also | keep-smoldering

Poem 98

   kaze soyugu

Nara-no-ogawa no

   yūgure wa

misogi zo natsu no

shirushi narikeru







-- Ietaka, Junior Second Rank


The source is the “Summer” book of the Shinchokusenshū (SKT 192). Fujiwara no Ietaka (1158 – 1237) was one of the compilers of the Shinkokinshū.


Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  wind | rustling
  • Line 2:  Nara + oak | 's | stream | 's
  • Line 3:  evening | as-for
  • Line 4:  purification | summer | 's
  • Line 5:  sign | be!

Poem 99

   hito mo oshi

hito mo urameshi


yo o omou yue ni

monoomou mi wa







-- Retired Emperor Go-Toba


The source is the “Summer” book of the Shokugosenshū (SKT 1202). Go-Toba (1180 – 1239; r. 1183 – 1198) was the fourth son of Emperor Takakura (1161 – 1181; r. 1168 – 1180). He ordered the compilation of the Shinkokinshū but spent the last 19 years of his life in exile on the island of Oki after the Jōkyū Disturbance of 1221.


Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  person | also | valued
  • Line 2:  person | also | resented
  • Line 3:  distasteful
  • Line 4:  world | (acc.) | think | reason | for (the sense of lines two and three is "given that I find the world to be so distasteful")
  • Line 5:  think-things | oneself | as-for

Poem 100

   momoshiki ya

furuki nokiba no

   shinobu ni mo

nao amari aru

mukashi narikeri







-- Retired Emperor Juntoku


The source is the third “Miscellaneous” book of the Shokugosenshū (SKT 1205). Juntoku (1197 – 1242; r. 1210 – 1221) was the third son of Emperor Go-Toba (see Poem 99). He too was exiled after the Jōkyū Disturbance, but to the island of Sado, which was where he died.


Literal rendition and notes
  • Line 1:  palace | !
  • Line 2:  old | eave-tips | 's + (sub.)
  • Line 3:  Shinobu-fern + endure | to | even
  • Line 4:  still | overabundance | exist
  • Line 5:  times-past | be!