How beautiful is Shirayuki, the crystal of beauty?


At the beginning of winter, in early November, we were able to experience some pleasant early spring weather, but once the light snowfall passed, winter was in full swing and we started to hear a lot of talk about snow.

Now, there are a total of 29 ``Fuyube'' poems in the Kokin Wakashu. Among them, 22 poems contain the word "snow." This bias is reminiscent of "Hototogisu" in summer.
*``Hototogisu'' appears in 28 of the 34 poems in the summer section.
→“Dominate the summer! The charm of Hototogisu

However, winter is the season without flowers. If you are looking for beauty there, it is no wonder that you naturally focus on the snow. Moreover, Heian poets considered "white" to be the highest color. I'm intrigued by how you sang the story of the silver world.

Audio distribution of this article “15th Snow Song Selection”
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In the Kokin Wakashu, Yuki can be roughly divided into three patterns in terms of hymns.

Part 1: “Learn about snow through 〇〇.”

This is how a poem is written about the snow in early winter.

317 ``When the evening falls, the clothes are swarming, and in the mountains of Yoshino, Miyoshino is covered in snow.'' (Yomito Shirazu)
It's evening and my clothes are cold... so it looks like it's snowing.

319 “The falling snow disappears and the water disappears, and the sound of the foothills rises” (Yomito Shirazu)
The flow of the mountains and rivers is getting stronger... It seems that the snow is melting near where it falls.

332 “Morning blur, white snow touching Yoshino village before seeing the moon of Ariake” (Korenori Sakagami)
It looks like it's snowing, so you can mistake it for Ariake Moon.

Learn about snowfall in ways other than snow. The true nature of the Heian poets, who preferred the beauty of indirection above all else, is perfectly revealed.

Part 2: “Looking for flowers.”

Late winter snow is often compared to ``white plums'' in poems.

323 “If it snows, the grass and trees will stagnate in winter, and in spring, unknown flowers will bloom.” (Ki Tsurayuki)
It's wonderful that people refer to snow as ``the unknown flower of spring.''

330 "Even though it's winter, flowers are falling from the sky, and you, the clouds, are like spring." (Kiyohara Fukayachi)
This is also likened to a white plum. ``The clouds that brought the flowers, do you think it's spring?'' It's so cool.

337 “If it snows, flowers will bloom on every tree, and the side will be plum and the side will be bright” (Ki Tomonori)
There are two plums in this song. One is the ``ume'' that appears straightforward in the lower verse, but the other is the ``plum'' that appears to be a combination of the ``tree'' and ``goto'' (mato) in the upper verse.
The Heian poets couldn't help but be outrageous. By the way, the Hyakunin Isshu poem, ``If you ignore the autumn plants as they blow, you will think of the mountain wind as a storm'' (Yasuhide Bunya) has the same idea.

Plum blossoms are originally a sight to behold in early spring, so composing them in the winter is a complete no-brainer. But I guess I couldn't hold it back. Snow, flowers, and the feeling of wishing for spring!

Part 3: “Symbol of loneliness.”

The coldness and ephemerality of snow are sometimes used as a symbol of loneliness.

327 “The white snow on the mountain in Miyoshino is separated, and there is no sign of the people who enter” (Mibu Tadashi)
There is no one who will step through the snow... By the way, in this, ``to'' is written with ``bun''.

328 “The mountain village where white snow falls and becomes cloudy is where the people who live are lost in thought” (Mibu Tadashi)
When the snow piles up, the fire disappears... ``Kuyu'' is often used as a related word for snow.

During the season of dead flowers, beautiful and graceful snow songs add to the blooms.
However, I personally have some doubts. The question is, "Is snow really beautiful?"

My hometown is located in a mountainous area (Oku-Izumo, Shimane Prefecture) with heavy snowfall. We also saw a lot of snow damage there.
So when I saw the snow falling steadily,
318 "From now on, it's raining more and more. The light white snow is falling at my inn." (Yomito Shirazu)
333 "It disappears, and it rains again. The spring haze is standing, deep snow. You can only see it on rare occasions." (Yomijin Shirazu)
We can't afford to just casually say things like, ``It's going to rain more!''

People in areas with heavy snowfall,
``I need to attach tire chains...''
"I have to get up early and shovel the snow..."
People think things like, ``Will a snowplow (or bulldozer in my hometown) come?''

It's basically the same as in the past.
“When the snow falls, you can’t even joke in the Shinano sky.”
“This is the final abode, five feet of snow.”

This is a haiku by Issa Kobayashi, a haiku poet from northern Shinano (Nagano).
Issa's snow is the snow I know.

The ``snow'' that Heian poets felt deeply about was extremely ``urban'' snow. If the amount of snowfall in the capital had been comparable to that of the mountainous areas, ``white'' might have become a color that people would want to turn away from.
If that were the case, my flower preferences might not have been unexpectedly ``plum'' or ``cherry blossom.''

→Related article “If you sing in the rain ~Shigin in the rain~

(Written by Uchida Engaku, a poet)

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