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June 28, 2017

Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each): Poem 26 (Fujiwara no Tadahira)

Hyakunin Isshu, Poem 26

mine no momoji-ha
kokoro araba
ima hitotabi no
miyuki matanamu


If the maple leaves
on the peak of Mt Ogura
could have hearts
they would wait
for the Royal Outing

Fujiwara no Tadahira (880–949)

[Arashiyama, Kyoto]

Nisonin Temple on Mt Ogura (in Kyoto's Arashiyama/Sagano area) is famous as the place where Fujiwara Teika had his villa and where he is supposed to have compiled the Hyakunin Isshu anthology. Verdant Sagano was a kind of resort area (like Uji in Poem 8), with fresh air and clear rapids, a world away from the noisy and dusty city. Many Heian aristocrats had villas here. 

The exact location in Sagano of Teika's villa is however not known from independent sources - the idea that it was Nisonin comes from poetry fans in the Edo-period and has no scientific basis. There are also competitors, such as nearby Jojakkoin or the quiet nunnery Enrian. Both Nisonin and Jojakkoin seem in fact doubtful as they are located on hills and Heian aristocrats usually built their villas on more easily accessible, level ground - probably Teika had his country house somewhere in the vicinity of where now Rakushisha with its memories of another poet, Basho, stands.

The temple itself is supposed to have been founded in 841 by the Emperor Saga (who is also intimately connected with Daikakuji). Belonging to the Tendai faith, it derives its name "Temple of the Two Images" from the fact that it has two main images: Shaka, who enlightens humans in this world, and Amida who takes care of our souls after death.

[Kyoto seen from Arashiyama (Okochi Sanso)]

This is the only poem in the collection associated with Mt Ogura, which is in fact a small, round hill rather than a soaring mountain peak. The present poem also starts the association of Sagano with autumn and momiji, maple leaves, turning away from Tatsuta in Nara which until then had been the classical poetic association for autumn colors. As the emperor still has not made his outing to see the maple leaves, the poet playfully asks the leaves to keep their colors for a while.

A headnote accompanying the poem in the Shuishu, puts the sentiment of the poem in the mouth of the Retired Emperor Uda, who wanted his son, Emperor Daigo, to see the autumn leaves at Mt Ogura. Tadahira then composed the poem to convey the Retired Emperor's will. The occasion was quite famous as it also figures in the Tales of Yamato (episode 99) and in the Great Mirror (Okagami).

Note that the basic situation of Tadahira's poem is similar to that of Poem 24 by Michizane. "Miyuki," "Royal Outing," is also a chapter title in the Genji Monogatari.

[Nisonin Temple in Sagano]

The statesman and politician Fujiwara no Tadahiro was also known as Teishinko or "the Ko-Ichijo Chancellor." Tadahira is also credited with writing the Engishiki and was one of the principle editors responsible for the development of the Japanese legal code known as Sandai-kyaku-shiki ("Rules and Regulations of the Three Generations"). Tadahira served as regent under Emperor Suzaku who ruled from 930 to 946.

Tadahira was the son of Mototsune; his brothers were Fujiwara no Tokihira and Fujiwara no Nakahira. Tadahira took over as head of the Hokke branch of the Fujiwara clan in 909 when his elder brother Tokihira died. He was the father of Morosuke, who in turn was the grandfather of the famous Michinaga. Tadahira's diary is extant, as are 13 of his poems in various imperial anthologies.

References: Pictures of the Heart, The Hyakunin Isshu in Word and Image by Joshua S. Mostow (University of Hawai'i Press, 1996); Traditional Japanese Poetry, An Anthology, by Steven D. Carter (Stanford University Press, 1991); Hyakunin Isshu by Inoue Muneo, etc. (Shinchosha, 1990); Genshoku Hyakunin Isshu by Suzuki Hideo, etc. (Buneido, 1997); Ogura Hyakunin Isshu at Japanese Text Initiative (University of Virginia Library Etext Center); Hyakunin Isshu wo aruku by Shimaoka Shin (Kofusha Shuppan); Hyakunin Isshu, Ocho waka kara chusei waka e by Inoue Muneo (Chikuma Shoin, 2004); Basho's Haiku (2 vols) by Toshiharu Oseko (Maruzen, 1990); The Ise Stories by Joshua S. Mostow and Royall Tyler (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010); Kokin Wakashu, The First Imperial Anthology of Japanese Poetry by Helen Craig McCullough (Stanford University Press, 1985); Kokinshu, A Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern by Laurel Rasplica Rodd and Mary Catherine Henkenius (University of Tokyo Press, 1984); Kokin Wakashu (Shogakkan, 1994); Shinkokin Wakashu (Shogakkan, 1995); Taketori Monogatari-Ise Monogatari-Yamato Monogatari-Heichu Monogatari (Shogakkan, 1994). 
Hyakunin Isshu Introduction - Poem 1 - Poem 2 - Poem 3 - Poem 4 - Poem 5 - Poem 6 - Poem 7 - Poem 8 - Poem 9 - Poem 10 - Poem 11 - Poem 12 - Poem 13 - Poem 14 - Poem 15 - Poem 16 - Poem 17 - Poem 18 - Poem 19 - Poem 20 - Poem 21 - Poem 22 - Poem 23 - Poem 24 - Poem 25 - Poem 26 -