“The truth about early modern (Edo period) waka, filling in the cliffs of waka history” Part 2: The invention of Kokindenju

Teika's descendants continued to exist, but because they had lived for hundreds of years in a state of atrophied mental strength, no one could say that. It seems that there were some people who were slightly better than others, but they were incomparable to their ancestors. These people were waka poets and instructors, and their profession was to teach waka. It is extremely difficult for an incompetent master to have to save face as a master. This led to the creation of ``Kokindenju.'' Kokin Wakashu, the first imperial anthology, has a secret that only instructors know.If you don't know that secret, you can't know waka.And it is a treasure of instructors who teach it only to those who are worthy of being taught. is.

If there is a secret in the imperial collection, it is nothing more than a false image created by ignorance. In other words, kokin transmission was a convenient way to idolize one's powerless self by using one's ancestors. However, due to the changing times, this continued for quite some time without being suspected until the Edo period.

The instructors on the hall have idols, but not me. Even if I were a self, I would only gain value by resembling that idol. For them, songwriting was synonymous with imitation. Their current problem was whether they could eliminate the mundane sentiments associated with real life and create waka poetry rich in elegance that would be worthy of the ancients.

Eliminating worldly sentiments and adopting elegance means that it is easy to add value, and in other words, it becomes a kind of "cultivation." In this sense, composing waka is the first method of cultivation, and it is as good as, in fact, superior to, Shintoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc., which are also cultivation methods, and is a method that includes all of them. That's why there was a lot of publicity.
If waka is law, how can it be obtained? I believed that this was not something I could seek for myself, but could only be obtained through ancient poetry collections and poetry books. This is a natural way of thinking from the perspective of incompetent masters, but if that is the case, then there is no choice but to imitate, and it is natural for them to cling to ancient and modern teachings because they are tired of imitating.

If the court nobles cannot obtain anything new in their minds, they can take some credit for their expressions. What's more, I tried to grasp some kind of secret by dissecting old songs with excellent expressions. As a result, they discovered many laws, but in turn, they were bound by these laws and increasingly imitated them. Gradually, instructors came to establish what they called ``regular lyrics,'' and prohibited the use of particularly good lyrics from ancient poems, even though copying them was their policy. There were quite a number of them, but they even created forgeries and forbade them with authority, saying that this was something the great Teika had warned against. For them, songwriting was purely an ``art.'' It was an extremely difficult art that required a lot of education, but from an outsider's perspective, this difficulty gave it a certain charm, so they imitated it over and over again without any regrets. 【to be continued】

(Written by Uchida Engaku, a poet)

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