[The Story of Hyakunin Isshu] No. 4: “When I went out to Tagonoura, snow was falling on the white peak of Mt. Fuji” (Akato Yamabe)

No. 4: “When I went out to Tagonoura, snow was falling on the white peak of Mt. Fuji.” (Akato Yamabe)

In Chinese poetry, Du Fu is praised as the ``Sage of Poetry,'' but in Japanese poetry, some people also refer to him as the ``Hijiri of Poetry.'' Their names are Sanbangaki Honjinmaro and Yoban Yamabe Akato, and they have always been worshiped as the gods of poetry in Japanese poetry, such as Otomo Ieyamochi and praised with admiration as ``Yamagaki no Mon''.
However, looking back at the history of waka poetry, I think it would be difficult to treat Hitomaro and Akajin as "gods" on the same level. After all, Kakimoto Hitomaro is the one unwavering god of waka.

However, the existence of akajin was by no means small; after Hitomaro, skilled poets such as Kasaganemura and Kurumamochi Sennen appeared one after another at the imperial court, but unfortunately, few of their names were left behind for posterity. In short, they were seen as nothing more than a sub-stream of Hitomaro.
In that respect, red people are different. It quickly returned to the imperial anthology in the Shui Wakashu, and was included by Teika in Hitomaro's pair of 100 poems. In other words, Akajin did not fit into the fake Hitomaro.

In fact, Hitomaro and Akahito, for example, have completely different sources of emotion even when they sing the same song, ``Jugao no Uta.'' If the former exists in history that has continued since the age of the gods, the latter can be found in straightforward natural landscapes. In other words, Akahito depicted ``objective realism'' from a personal, subjective perspective, and by the way, he can be said to be a pioneer in this genre.

The Hyakunin Isshu poem is a modern adaptation of the Manyoshu poem, and the climax of Akajin's evaluation may have been around this time. For the new and ancient modern poets who were regaining their delicate eye for sketching, Akajin's songs were a major goal to overcome.

There is also another major event that Akajin accomplished in the history of waka poetry. That means that Naga was expelled. Well, no one has said that, it's just my theory...

As you can see from Volumes 1 and 2 of the Manyoshu, during Hitomaro's time, poetry was long. This is because songs were recognized to have magical powers. However, Akajin recognized poetry as a form of literature rather than a curse, and did not need a meaningless list of words.

Please compare the Naga and Tanka poems listed below in the Manyoshu collection.

A poem (long poem) overlooking the mountain of Fujin Fuji, along with a tanka poem
``When heaven and earth are divided, when the gods become rusty and lofty, when I look away from the plains of the heavens at the peak of Mt. Fuji, which becomes Suruga, the shadow of the passing day disappears, I cannot see the light of the shining moon, and the white clouds are fleeting. It's snowing, it's snowing, the story is passed down, the height of Mt. Fuji is passing down."
``If you step out and look at Tagonourayu, you'll see pure white. Snow can fall on the high peaks of Mt. Fuji.'' (Akato Yamabe)

Doesn't it seem like what Nagata sings in Nagata fits perfectly into Tanka?
Well, it is true that the element of ``land praise'' that appears in long poems disappears in tanka. The role of a court poet, a song dedicated to the emperor, could not have been fulfilled by tanka. However, from our modern perspective, we can only feel the lyricism in a poem and the beauty of Mt. Fuji in winter through tanka poems. Akato was the first poet to realize this.

(Written by: Engaku Uchida)

List of “Hyakunin Isshu Stories”

Learn the basics of waka poetry and try reciting it!

We are holding a "Utajuku" with the goal of learning from representative classical works and being able to compose traditional "Waka" on an individual basis!