@Belthazar’s poem research club for the betterment of everyone’s education: reading マンガ✖くり返しでスイスイ覚えられる百人一首

Man, I haven’t read poem 33 before, but I feel like I’ve always known it. It’s like the most stereotypical falling sakura scene ever, and I love it.

This week seems to have a lot of poems that are straight up descriptions of natural beauty, or maybe that’s just my perception because three in a row is a lot out of the way we’ve divided it. I quite appreciate the comment in the book about the consciousness of the HNI’s order, even if I’m just overreacting to 31-33.


While I don’t think it has a lot “hanging” on it the way we see others, I think in poem 34 松 is working as a bit of a kakekotoba. I recall reading (on Wikipedia but maybe corroborated by something from JSTOR?) that its homophonimity with 待つ means it almost always adds a sense of waiting around for something, perhaps here just invoking a bit of a mood. I wonder what he’s waiting for. Release or joining his friends who have passed, considering his supposed old age at the time of writing? : / This poem is heavy, but I like how well I can feel the weight in it (if I’m understanding it correctly ofc).


Okay so I’ve run into a bit of a problem.

For the next three weeks, aka all of September, I won’t have any days off. I’m working full time, plus have now got work on weekends too for at least that time span, so I won’t be able to do any research in that time :sob:

I’m literally not even sure how I’ll get through the ‘conventional’ book clubs at this point. I’ll try to still read through the poems and explanations every week, but as I see it, there’s no way I’ll be able to do any research on anything until at least October :slightly_frowning_face:

I’m actually super sorry, because I know there’s only a few people doing research still and I wanted to keep going, but I honestly just don’t have the time at the moment. :sob:


Well, the good news is that next week is the break week. You can just follow along and read 10 poems over 3 weeks (or longer if you allow yourself to be a bit behind). :slight_smile:
It’s always possible to post research in the future too, it’s not like those un-researched poems are going anywhere :joy:

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I know, but I still feel bad :joy: it’s already not very active here so I didn’t want to just up and disappear for so long… but hey, life right? :sob:

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Speaking of the new week, here it is. Some weird names this time… Although not more than usual, I guess?

  • 36 夏の夜は まだ宵ながら 明けぬるを 雲のいづこに 月宿るらむ(清原深養父)
  • 37 白露に 風の吹きしく 秋の野は つらぬきとめぬ 玉ぞ散りける(文屋朝康)
  • 38 忘らるる 身をば思はず 誓ひてし 人の命の 惜しくもあるかな(右近)
  • 39 浅茅生の 小野の篠原 しのぶれど あまりてなどか 人の恋しき(参議等)
  • 40 しのぶれど 色に出でにけり わが恋は 物や思ふと 人の問ふまで(平兼盛)
  • Just reading the book/poems

0 voters

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Aye, I was vaguely planning on doing 16 some point soon - someone volunteered to do it, but still hasn’t - but I haven’t found the time.


34 誰をかも 知る人にせむ 高砂の 松も昔の 友ならなくに

Frank Watson’s commentary on HNI confirms my suspicions about 待つ and 松. While our book only mentions dead friends, Watson mentions that the Takasago Pines actually have an associated legend about two lovers who died and their spirits entered the pines that this poem talks about, so it could be about either friends or lovers. There is also a very famous Noh play about Takasago pines, but it involves two pine trees rather than one–still, a possible connection.

Not much information on the man himself. Besides being one of the 36, he was a mid-ranking court official. He was said to be talented in kangen, which is gagaku, Japanese classical music, without dance. I’m always fond of the musician poets.


So here I am, level 22, wondering when on earth I’m going to use the kanji for “wisteria” (藤) and lo and behold I’m reading about Heian poetry and the Fujiwara (藤原) come up for every. single. poet.!

So for those of you with the book, when Yamato says 好きな人に好きって言えない気持ち、わかるなあ, is that a reference to his crush on Kana from way back at the beginning? That’s a cute detail. I was expecting to see more interaction between the 解説 cast, rather than just using it as an accessible excuse for the conversational style of describing the poem.

So I didn’t know what home boy was on about with the 平氏 and 源氏 when describing poem 40, so I did a little research and it looks like most of what he was describing is mostly relevant to the 11th centuryish, so hopefully I’m not the only one who didn’t know about this stuff yet. These two clans were two of four main ruling clans during the Heian period. They were, as Mr. Kageyama says, formerly members of the imperial family who became subjects when it grew too large. The other two of the four main clans gained their I suppose fancy clan name from the emperors, rather than coming out of the imperial family (though there was of course much intermarriage). We’ve talked about the Fujiwara clan, who starting with Fujiwara no Mototsune back with Emperor Koko (late 9th century, poem 15) made themselves defacto rulers with the position of kampaku. The fourth clan, the Tachibana clan, frequently fought the Fujiwara clan for power but by the mid-10th century, so before Kanemori, were eclipsed in power and scattered.

I hope that is news to some people and my reading comprehension/memory for the book’s 解説 isn’t a total travesty.


I’m noticing that I’m especially liking poems written by members of the same family. From this batch, 文屋朝安’s poem is my favourite. I went and used 白露 in my own haiku…hehehe

So according to good ol’ 100poets.wordpress, who is in turn quoting prominent HNI scholar Mostow, this poem seems exceptionally common, I assume because pearls are a such a stock image in Heian poetry, and it is unknown today why it was historically so valued, which it was, appearing in a lot of anthologies. I really like the simpler poems describing beautiful scenes. Maybe it had a bigger place in the development of pearls as a popular Heian-era poetic image.

I bought Frank Watson’s translation of HNI b/c it was cheap but it wasn’t quite as annotated as I’d have hoped. I’m going to have to spring for Mostow’s book one of these days…when I’m not busy with grad school (lol like that day will come).

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Also, 藤 is the second kanji for every single name that uses purely on’yomi out of the hundred most common surnames in Japan. 佐藤, 加藤, 伊藤, 斉藤, 近藤, and so on and so forth.


Fascinating! I think hitherto my eyes have always completely glazed over whenever I realized I was looking at an unfamiliar name, so this is exciting to know now.

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Those are extremely common names, so you should get more used to them in a flash :joy:
Other than names, there’s also 葛藤 which is common. Sadly 葛 isn’t on WK, but it’s also common-ish (but less than 藤).
I actually wondered how you would translate 葛藤 in English, but Jisho just gave up on giving any nuance :joy:

Come to think of it, I should have known 斉藤 from Yuru Camp.

I find “complex inter-relationship (as in the struggle between two types of vines over one piece of land” a very interesting definition. I hope one day I see this one in the wild.


Well, here’s another catch up week, namely week 10 since we have started the club!
Here’s a list of the “missing” poems, in case someone wants to get back to them (as a poll, because why not)

  • 16 たち別れ いなばの山の 峰に生ふる まつとし聞かば 今帰り来む(中納言行平)
  • 21 今来むと 言ひしばかりに 長月の 有明の月を 待ち出でつるかな(素性法師)
  • 23 月見れば ちぢにものこそ 悲しけれ わが身一つの 秋にはあらねど(大江千里)
  • 25 名にしおはば 逢坂山の さねかづら 人にしられで くるよしもがな(三条右大臣)
  • 26 小倉山 峰のもみぢ葉 心あらば 今ひとたびの みゆき待たなむ(貞信公)
  • 27 みかの原 わきて流るる 泉川 いつ見きとてか 恋しかるらむ(中納言兼輔)
  • 29 心あてに 折らばや折らむ 初霜の 置きまどはせる 白菊の花(凡河内躬恒)
  • 31 朝ぼらけ 有明の月と 見るまでに 吉野の里に 降れる白雪(坂上是則)
  • 32 山川に 風のかけたる しがらみは 流れもあへぬ 紅葉なりけり(春道列樹)
  • 33 ひさかたの 光のどけき 春の日に 静心なく 花の散るらむ(紀友則)
  • 36 夏の夜は まだ宵ながら 明けぬるを 雲のいづこに 月宿るらむ(清原深養父)
  • 37 白露に 風の吹きしく 秋の野は つらぬきとめぬ 玉ぞ散りける(文屋朝康)
  • 38 忘らるる 身をば思はず 誓ひてし 人の命の 惜しくもあるかな(右近)
  • 39 浅茅生の 小野の篠原 しのぶれど あまりてなどか 人の恋しき(参議等)
  • 40 しのぶれど 色に出でにけり わが恋は 物や思ふと 人の問ふまで(平兼盛)

0 voters

Out of the 20 poems we read over the last part, 14 did not get any comment. At this rate, this will be the last catch up poll that Discourse will allow :sweat_smile: I’m actually not too bothered by that, since I feel like, contrary to my original thought when I first read the nomination from @Belthazar, the book is doing a good job in terms of background. People have been posting amazing things, though, bringing into light contradicting opinions as well.

All that to say, we’re only 40% through and this isn’t the most popular club on the forums, but I’m glad I’m reading the book anyway :slight_smile:


Alrighty, here goes

17 立ち別れ いなばの山の 峰に生ふる まつとし聞かば 今帰り来む(中納言行平)


A time of parting.
But if I hear
The pines that grow
On the peak of Mount Inaba,
I will return.


While researching poem 17, several resources told me that Namihira (author of 17) was the younger half-brother of some guy called Ariwara-no-Yukihira, but I could not for the life of me work out what his claim to fame was. Well, he’s the guy who wrote this poem. They share fathers, but Yukihira has a different mother. Unlike Namihira, Yukihira was a fairly successful courtier, and among other roles in the imperial government, he was appointed governor of Inaba Province in 855… which brings us to this poem.


First, some historic verb forms: 生ふる = 生える and 来む = 来る.

The poem was written to be read out to the people who were seeing him off as he left the capital for Inaba Province - one theory is that it was intended for his wife only, but the prevailing theory is that it was for the more general public. The meaning hinges on two pivot words - first, いなば can mean both 稲羽 and 往なば (往ぬ being the only other remaining ~ぬ verb in modern Japanese), and まつ can be both 松 and 待つ. One source I read pointed out that 松/待つ is one of the few pivot words that works in English too - i.e. pine / pine for.

The idea with the pivot words is that in your mind, you break the poem at each pivot, and read it again with the other meaning:

待つとし聞かば 今帰り来む

In a sense, the middle section forms a sort of parenthetical phrase: We shall part when I leave (Pines growing on the peak of Mount Inaba) but if I hear that you pine for me, I shall return.




Aaaand I’m officially one week behind despite the break week :scream:

  • 41 恋すてふ わが名はまだき 立ちにけり 人知れずこそ 思ひそめしか(壬生忠見)
  • 42 契りきな かたみに袖を しぼりつつ 末の松山 波越さじとは(清原元輔)
  • 43 逢ひ見ての のちの心に くらぶれば 昔は物を 思はざりけり(権中納言敦忠)
  • 44 逢ふことの 絶えてしなくは なかなかに 人をも身をも 恨みざらまし(中納言朝忠)
  • 45 あはれとも いふべき人は 思ほえで 身のいたづらに なりぬべきかな (謙徳公)
  • Just reading the book/poems

0 voters


I won’t have Internet between Friday and Sunday evening, so the post will be delayed. Don’t panic.

Not that there’s anyone left to panic.


Panic is over, back to your usual activities. Also, we reached the halfway point!

  • 46 由良のとを 渡る舟人 かぢを絶え ゆくへも知らぬ 恋の道かな(曾禰好忠)
  • 47 八重葎 しげれる宿の さびしきに 人こそ見えね 秋は来にけり(恵慶法師)
  • 48 風をいたみ 岩うつ波の おのれのみ くだけて物を 思ふころかな(源重之)
  • 49 みかきもり 衛士のたく火の 夜は燃え 昼は消えつつ 物をこそ思へ(大中臣能宣)
  • 50 君がため 惜しからざりし 命さへ 長くもがなと 思ひけるかな(藤原義孝)
  • Just reading the book/poems

0 voters


Well, considering the current lack of activity in this thread (including from myself), I’m going to put it on hiatus until I pick up the book again.
If anyone is interested in continuing the club, feel free to do so!