Ono Komachi - Burning quietly! Master of beautiful love songs

Ono no Komachi was a poetess who was active in the 9th century, and was selected as an honorable poet called ``Rokukasen'' in the kana preface of Kokin Wakashu by Tsurayuki Ki.

Perhaps the most famous of the female poets of the Heian period is Ono Komachi, but isn't she known for her ``appearance'' rather than ``poetry''? Yes, I don't know who came up with the theory that Komachi is an unparalleled beauty, such as the world's three most beautiful women (Ono Komachi, Yang Guifei, and Cleopatra).

In fact, there is no solid record that Komachi was a beautiful woman. I think this is an image created by anecdotes such as ``Hyakuya Commite'', but the love partner in those stories, ``Major General Fukakusa,'' was only a fourth-rank major general, and the person in question was his wife. Since she is just a court lady, it would be presumptuous to compare her scale with other beauties from exiled countries such as Yang Guifei and Cleopatra (7th).
At the very least, I wish the people who thought of the three most beautiful women in the world would have brought up noblemen like Emperor Jito and Imperial Princess Shikiko (whether they are beautiful or not is another story...).

Therefore, I would like Ono Komachi to be evaluated strictly as a poet, not for her appearance.
As mentioned at the beginning, Ono Komachi is the only female poet to be selected as a Rokka Sen, and is a historical poet who established the ``love song'' in waka.

When you think of Ono Komachi's songs, the first thing that comes to mind is this famous poem that was included in Hyakunin Isshu.

``The color of the flowers is a constant reminder of my life.'' (Ono Komachi)

This is a bewitching poem that is representative of waka poetry, in which the landscape and emotion are brought to a standstill through skill. By the way, Teika, who chose this poem as Hyakunin Isshu, composed this poem as an answer song (I imagine).

``If you burn a man in the evening calm of Matsuhonoura, his body will also be burnt.'' (Fujiwara Teika)

However, Komachi's Hyakunin Isshu poem is the ``Shiki (Spring) Song.'' Her true value is, after all, "love songs."
Ono Komachi: I believe that the love story of waka (Japanese poetry) was first perfected as ``literature'' by a single female poet.

As you know, there were many excellent love poems in the Manyoshu. The works of Otomo Sakagami-no-me and Kasaro-me are particularly outstanding, and their skill and expression of emotion are extremely splendid. However, it depends on your taste, but their songs are sometimes passionate and very typical of Manyo.

In fact, the poets of the Nara period were also strongly influenced by imported poetry. In the field of love, this is called ``en-on poetry.''
Vengeance poems are a style inherited from China's oldest collection of poems, the Ching of Poetry, in which women express their feelings of admiration for their husbands who have gone off to war. However, this means that she fiercely resents her husband's indifference, and as a result, she becomes passionate. In other words, the love songs of Manyo female poets are basically about making a strong appeal to the outside world (the other person).

``Fun school girl Shiranusu Kasuga makeup Josuiro
 The penitent man, the penitent man, the lord of the penitent,
(“Grudge” by Wang Changling)

By the way, in the latter part of the Heian period, as Manyo studies progressed, ``En-on poems'' were reconsidered, and scenes of passion and the grudge of En-on began to be written.

“Even though I was thinking at night, I couldn’t bring myself to the quietness of the anchorage.” (Toshie)

However, the style of Ono Komachi, a female Heian poet, is different. Komachi's love poems are introverted and smart, in other words extremely rational, and in this sense, Ono Komachi's love poems are eminently ``ancient collections.'' That is why he was selected as one of the Rokkasen, and later continued to be respected as the poet that Toshinari and Sadaie admired the most, that is, the ``yojo bewitching'' poet.

So, this time, let's take a look at Ono Komachi's smart love song.
There, a world of love that ``burns quietly'' and is beautiful and extremely waka-like is unfolding.

Ten poems by Ono Komachi
(Arranged according to the stage of love according to the arrangement of ancient and modern collections of love)

(1) “The color of the flowers is a constant reminder of my life.” (Ono Komachi)
A woman who is doomed to the irresistible fate of old age... This is a famous poem that is included in the Hyakunin Isshu and is representative of Komachi's waka poetry.In fact, this is the only ``Four Seasons (Spring) Poem' that was included in Komachi's Kokin Wakashu. Of course it's a wonderful song, but this song alone won't let you enjoy Komachi's original charm. When you think of Komachi, you think of “love songs”! Please take a look at the love songs below.

(2) “If you go to sleep thinking about it, you will wake up knowing that you are dreaming of someone else.” (Ono Komachi)
Was it because I went to sleep thinking about that person that I was able to meet him in my dreams? If I had known it was a dream, I wouldn't have woken up...Even modern people can empathize with the sad heart of a woman.

(3) “I saw the person I loved while I was asleep, and my dream was filled with misfortune.” (Ono Komachi)
After seeing someone I love while on a nap, I started to rely on dreams...

(4) “When I miss you, at least I return the night clothes of Mubatama” (Ono Komachi)
In the old days, it was said that if you slept with your clothes inside out, you would be able to meet your loved one in your dreams. It's a kind of charm, but what maidens troubled by love do is the same as it was then.

"Dreams" often appear in Komachi's songs. This is because "dreams" were the only "hope" for women who had no choice but to hide behind the blinds and wait.

(5) “My foolish tears are rolling down my sleeves, and I have no choice but to cry.” (Ono Komachi)
Even if you say you cry, your tears may be only beads, but mine are waterfalls! At times, Komachi is shown approaching the unreliable man.

(6) “Autumn nights are nothing but names, and when we meet, the light suddenly shines.” (Ono Komachi)
Autumn Yolong, no matter what you call it, it's just a name. As long as I'm with you, my love, morning will fly by... This is almost the only love song by Komachi, and it's a song about fulfillment with someone you love.

(7) "I can't rest my feet on Yumeji, and even though I walk down the street, I never catch a glimpse of it." (Ono Komachi)
What does it mean if you visit me every day in your dreams, but never in reality?

(8) “The cuteness of looking at people closely, which is not good for a dream.” (Ono Komachi)
It can't be helped that you're cold in reality, but I can't help but avoid you even in my dreams... Even in the dreams you rely on, you drift away, and this song is filled with a sense of despair.

(9) "Now I'm very young and I'm going to soak up the rain and go to the leaves of the tree" (Ono Komachi)
When you say goodbye and I get older, your words have faded. Komachi is desperate and can no longer trust anyone.

(10) “Things that are bright and hollow can be the flowers of the hearts of people all over the world.” (Ono Komachi)
Things that change color without being visible were the flowers of the human heart. Komachi is a love philosopher, and you can feel the weight of each poem based on his experience.

Now, we can see that Ono Komachi, in her later years, grew old and emaciated. The so-called ``Nana Komachi'' songs are represented by ``Sotoba Komachi.'' In fact, the shabby images depicted in these songs may be highlighting the beauty of her youth.

It's a bit ironic, but even though their appearances have changed, their songs continue to shine.

(Written by Uchida Engaku, a poet)

→List “A biography of ten poets per person
→Related article “Ono Komachi and the bewitching spirit

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