Hitomaro Kakimoto: Poems about impermanence

When you hear the phrase ``Shogyo Mujo,'' you probably immediately think of two works that were included in textbooks.

1. The Tale of the Heike "The sound of the bell of the Gion temple, the echo of the impermanence of all things. The flowers of the Sara tree..."

2. Hojoki (Kamochomei 1212) "The flowing river is constantly flowing, but the water is not the same as before. It floats in the stagnation..."

Both works are said to have been created during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). It had a somewhat sad tone to it, and I felt that it oozed out a pessimistic view of the world.

However, the following Manyōka from Kakihontomaro's poetry collection is sophisticated, simple, clear and concise.

Although it is intended to be impermanent, it is good to have awake eyes and clear eyes. When composing a poem about impermanence, I don't like the idea of being roundabout, so a poem like this gives a good impression.

I can hear the echoes of the mountains in the wind, and the people of this world are like the drops of flowing water.(Manyoshu 7-1269)

(Looking up to the mountains of Mukumuku, the people of Yono are like the sea of Mizuno.)

Moreover, it is a waka poem that was composed 500 years before the creation of ``The Tale of the Heike'' and ``Hojoki'', and I believe that these two authors expanded upon this waka poem.

Therefore, I would like Hitomaro's 7-1269 to be included in modern textbooks as well.

This kind of concise and simple expression is the aesthetic sense of the Japanese people from ancient times, and there is a beauty of subtraction that sets it apart from modern products that are all about addition. By being surrounded by beautiful and concise works, I feel like I can acquire a rich sensitivity for sensing shadows.

Hitomaro also never forgets to compose ``Hope'' in the hometown of the waka poem that wrote ``Mujo.''

I'm walking through a painful river, and the flowing water never stops and I'm looking back again.(7-1100)

The three sounds "no" and "yu" that are carried by the flow of the Anashi River appear with a slight time difference, and the "yu" sound effectively remains in the ear, creating a flowing rhythm.

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!

季刊誌「和歌文芸」
令和六年冬号(Amazonにて販売中)

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