[The Story of the Hyakunin Isshu] Thirty-Ichiban “Shirayuki touches the village of Yoshino before the morning dawns and the moon of Ariake appears” (Korenori Sakagami)

Thirty-one “White snow touches the village of Yoshino by the time you see the moon in Ariake in the morning” (Korenori Sakagami)

The thirty-first is Sakagami Korinori, who, as his name suggests, is a descendant of the great Seii shogun, Sakanoue Tamuramaro. Tamuramaro, for example, was a great figure known for his valor, making great achievements in the Ezo conquest in the early Heian period, and stopping the Retired Emperor Heijo and others who called for the return of the capital and escaped from Kyoto. He rose to the rank of Shosanmi (Dainagon), and was a historical figure who was involved in the construction of Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

However, his descendant, Korinori, is not that impressive. The most obvious thing about this is the name; in aristocratic society, the more a crown was attached to a person's name, the greater the person was. For example, take a look at Fujiwara Yoshitsune in Kujuichi, where he is referred to as ``Gokyogoku Regent and former Dajo Minister.'' That's just ``Korenori Sakagami'', just a casual name that doesn't even have the title of Ason.
Looking at Hyakunin Isshu, there are nine male poets, from No. 29, Mitsutsune Okochi, to No. 37, Tomoyasu Bunya, all of whom were equally dismissive poets, that is, lower-ranking government officials. By the time they were active in the establishment of the Kokinshu, the power of the imperial court had already consolidated with the Fujiwara clan, and most of the other clans had fallen into decline. Ki Tsurayuki is also remembered as a great poet and literary figure in history, but considering Ki's former glory, this may not have been his true intention. What's more, even in this field of literary figures, which we had barely secured, we can't even begin to pay attention to the fact that the recently fallen Fujiwara clan is moving into this field.

Now, regarding Korenori's song, ``Ariaketsuki'' is sung, just like No. 30's Tadashi. However, the way the poem is written is different, and here the moon is just a piece of scenery, and there is no scent of love at all. What's interesting is that ``the snowfall in Yoshino no Sato was mistaken for the Ariake moon.'' We think of moonlight as a single light source, but people in the past saw it as a light that surrounds us in all directions. That's right. Surrounded by glaring neon lights all the time, it's a winter scene that those of us who have lost the appreciation of the moon will never be able to understand.

(Written by Uchida Engaku, a poet)

List of “Hyakunin Isshu Stories”

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季刊誌「和歌文芸」
令和六年冬号(Amazonにて販売中)

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