@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

I feel like a translation that actually reads like a poem would be worth bonus marks. :stuck_out_tongue:


Publicly making this my goal for at least one poem once my copy comes in.


That checks out.

Er, spoilers about basic background of this author and poem. I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself... I got to searching and then...

So I don’t have the book yet but I did a quick google search about 天智天皇 (Emperor Tenchi/Tenji) and it was wild so I had to share. The Soga clan was essentially controlling the imperial family at the time (644/645) so Emperor Tenji (then Prince Naka-no-oue) conspired to kill the son of the Soga lord, and then when the assassins hesitated he did it himself (he was ~19 at the time). The Soga son lived long enough to plead his innocence in front of the Empress Kougyoku, but while he was doing so the guards finally rushed him and killed him. The Empress was rattled by watching the murder so she abdicated to her brother, who ruled for a while before dying, then she came back to rule again until she died, passing it finally to the prince. He then did a bunch of legal government stuff that made everything more central and powerful, including introducing the first Japanese legal code (according to records). He also invaded Korea once and failed, which is pretty standard.

Apparently the poem was written while he was traveling and there was a sudden rainstorm. He took shelter in a shack in a rice paddy and felt bad about how his subjects had to deal with these conditions every day. I think the last little bit could be read as either dew or tears, so that’s supposed to convey his sympathy.

I really really love history, especially that of Japan, so I’m looking forward to this! :slightly_smiling_face:


I seem to recall this precise poem being discussed in an episode of Chihayafuru, but I have no memory of the specifics of the conversation.

On poetry

Because the thatching of the fall field’s harvest hut is roughly woven, my sleeves are being moistened by dew.


Enthatched in fall,
One roughwov’n farmer’s roof,
Full permeates a sleeve,
Bedewed of heaven’s tears.

Poemified with rhyming:

Fall’s roughspun hut
Doth farmer’s field abut
Whose thatchy dome
Bedewed, one sleeve calls home.

Modern poetry:

Hut, fall, field, wet sleeve!


Haiku? :eyes:


A hut sits mid-field
The rough roof letting in dew
Fall welcomes wet sleeves.



:volleyball: :eyes: hello


You’re amazing :joy_cat:

One small remark though

The Book™ gives the poem’s meaning in modern-day Japanese, and they represent 衣手 as 着物, so in English that would be clothes or garment or something, I guess?
I started wondering why they ended up with this meaning. My guess is that the sleeves represent the garment without touching too much upon the details of the “dirty” body, therefore he went with abstracting the full clothing to just the sleeves.
What do you (all) think?


Hm, it’s standard in poetry to use a part to describe the whole. That’s called a “synecdoque particularisante” in French (Wikipedia tells me it’s spelled synecdoche in English; the more you know).
Now, I have no idea if it’s as standard in Japanese poetry (although I have the feeling it would be) and why you would use it for clothes in particular.

Edit: by the way, the word is used also in poem 15, but the modernization keeps the meaning of sleeve in that case… so I don’t know why it doesn’t here.


I know there’s certain words that symbolize certain seasons in Japanese literature; would this also fall under that term, @Naphthalene?

…Though it’s not necessarily a part of the season even if it’s an animal/flower/thing that’s particularly abundant in that season.

Sleeves? :thinking: That doesn’t feel very seaon-like to me. Also there’s literally 秋 in there, so I don’t think you would need more season specific words.

Unrelated, but I have a question about pronunciation. When reading out loud something like that, do you say it with the modern reading of the kana, or do you use the old reading (the second set of furigana in the book)?


I found some recordings on reddit - so far I only checked out the youtube video, but he seems to use the modern pronunciation. (It’s not very clear to me; for the first he uses ほ but then it sounds more like いお - but maybe that’s only because いほ is hard to pronounce at speed?)


There was an earthquake yesterday here in my city and a resulting blackout so I couldn’t reply to anything, but (almost) everything’s back to normal now!
I’ve ordered the book and now waiting for shipping. Now it’s a matter of time! This will be awesome~

Thank you very much! **


Oh sorry, I meant the other way around. Do the words symbolizing a season also fall under the term ‘synecdoche’?

Ah I see!

I don’t think so. A synecdoche is when you use a part to represent the whole, or the whole to represent a part. When it’s simply a word used in the place of another, it’s called a meto… *checks spelling* ahem a metonymy.
In any case, the words symbolizing the season are (as far as I know) used at face value, so they only suggest the season rather than taking the meaning of the season… In the case of a metonymy, you should be able to just swap the word with the thing it represents and the sentence still works. I don’t think it’s the case in Japanese poetry, it’s more a case of describing something that can only happen in a certain season, thus forcing temporality on the content. I’m sure there’s a name for that (well, beyond 季語), but I don’t know it.

Unrelated: I am going to update the OP with the decisions we made at the end of the week. I don’t expect any major change right now, but just in case if anyone would like to change the current situation (official start July 18th, reading+research, single thread, not discussed but 5 poems per week = 20 weeks), the time is now.


Finally got a free minute to actually post here, but I’m super pumped this is happening! I don’t keep up with the book club threads much anymore, so I had no idea this had been discussed until this thread. I’ve been meaning to dive into Japanese history/culture a bit more than just living here, and this sounds like a great opportunity to do exactly that. I feel like there are so many references in anime/manga/books etc that I’m missing contextually without even realizing it (beyond the ones I do catch). I’m paying for my order at the conbini between schools today so I ought to have my copy by early next week. Color me excited!


One more question: If we are (atm) 17 participants but work on 5 poems, how do we go about this? Do we get 17 interpretations and history lessons for the 5 poems? Do we all read, but only 5 people write a history lesson? Do we discuss the history and stuff here in the forum and together form 5 texts? Or do we work in small groups (even outside of the forum for those who are interested) to produce the descriptions?


Hm, I thought it would be based on voluntary participation.

  • Each week, the OP is updated with a link jumping to the start of the current conversation
  • The thread is used to ask questions about the content of the book (like a regular book club) as well as the history, background of the poems, etc.
  • The result of the discussion is collected into the OP (which I plan to turn into a wiki), under a separate detail section for each poem (or maybe a single detail per week, so that we don’t get a crazy number of them), so that people can collaboratively contribute.

If people want to work in group, on the forum or otherwise, they are free to do so. We can also have attribute poems to individuals or group of individuals to ensure we have some progress on everything every week.