While for my sensibilities the drop down menus make for little clutter in the viewing, the OP is already very cluttered while editing due to all the decision making info in there.
We have also had quite a bit of activity already. If we stay this active as a group (which would be awesome!), I agree that separate threads have their place. They wouldn’t have to be weekly, either - the book is divided into 5 20首 chapters. If we only made a thread for each of these it would keep the work load comparatively low for the one creating them.
Since I’m not the one making the threads, I don’t mind the weekly threads - just want to open up the possibility of a middle ground.
Why, please do go ahead!
So far it’s been handled very free style, but common points seem to be info on the author, the poem’s meaning, and cultural anecdotes to do with and/or interlinking both.
Feel free to present your contribution via song or creative writing if you wish.
I’d actually like to read that. Or hear that. Maybe.
I’d be down for that too. Think that might be a good idea.
I just felt like it might be beneficial to keep the main thread relatively admin only, just so it’s easier to navigate depending on what you’re looking for. So yeah, I’m happy to have 5 threads for 20 poems each… should we maybe have a poll to see what people are thinking?
We also almost accidentally established a structure Please adopt if you like it
3番歌: あしびきの山鳥の尾のしだり尾の ながながし夜をひとりかも寝む (柿本人麻呂)
“Must I sleep alone through the long autumn nights, long like the dragging tail of the mountain pheasant separated from his dove?” - translated by Joshua S. Mostow, in Pictures of the Heart (1996)
Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (柿本 人麻呂; c. 660 – 720), was a Japanese poet of the Nara period who featured prominently in the oldest extant Japanese poetry anthology, 万葉集 (Collection of Myriad Leaves). More than 90 万葉集 poems are said to be by him.
He was a middle-ranking courtier in Yamato (today’s Nara prefecture) and served as court poet to at least three sovereigns: Emperor Temmu (r. 673-686), Empress Jitō (690-697) and Emperor Mommu (697-707).
Hitomaro was Japan’s first great literary figure. He lived and wrote poetry at a time when Japan was emerging from a pre-literate society into a literate and civilized one. He combined the qualities of primitive song with new rhetoric and structural techniques (some of which may have been adapted from Chinese poetry), and wrote about sophisticated new subjects and concerns with an attitude of seriousness and importance.
Later, he was included in Fujiwara no Kintō’s anthology 三十六歌仙 which characterised 36 outstanding Japanese poets of the Asuka, Nara, and Heian periods. Those poets are referred to as the “36 Immortals of Poetry”. The anthology contains 10 poems of each author. For Hitomaro’s included poems, see also Trivia below.
Hitomaro is considered one of Japan’s greatest and most appealing poets, whose work still has a resonance for us today.
The 山鳥(copper pheasant) mentioned in the poem is a bird that lives in hills and mountains.
It has a long, hanging tail (しだり尾＝垂れ下がっている尾), and in the poem here it is used to symbolize the length of the night. But Hitomaro didn’t just pick a random bird with a long tail; it is said that the female and male bird separate from each other at night and sleep in different places.
Almost all of the 句 in the first part of the poem end in の, which invokes an echoing effect in the text, just like an echo in the mountains.
短歌 often use a rhetorical device called 枕詞. In this poem, the “あしびきの” is such a 枕詞, and it is basically decided that after あしびきの, something related to mountains will follow, as seen in this poem (here it is followed by 山鳥). Another example for a 枕詞 is the 白妙の used in poems 2 and 4, which is usually followed by snow (雪) or cloth (衣), and invokes a mental image of pure whiteness.
However, these 枕詞 were used less and less in the later Heian period, which is why they’re found more often in older poems from 百人一首.
The poem features another technique called 序詞. While 枕詞 are usually 5 morae long, 序詞 are not limited in length and are less strict with how you use them and what they refer to. One type of 序詞 is the metaphor. In this poem, the first half (talking about the tail of the 山鳥) is used as a metaphor for the word that follows: ながながし夜.
The の at the end of the third 句 can thus be read as のように, as seen in the 現代語 interpretation as well.
We found a source which claims that this poem wasn’t actually written by Hitomaro. Apparently it was originally listed in the 11th volume of the 万葉集 with the author unknown, but was later falsely attributed to him, in part due to Fujiwara no Kintō and his selection of poems by the 三十六歌仙. See here for further info.
Yes, I thought so too at first! But then I realized that 枕 also means “bolster” so it probably has more the meaning of “buffer” or “cushioning” and not the meaning of a bed’s pillow.
They put it this way: “The set phrase can be thought of as a “pillow” for the noun or verb it describes” which I think is much more poetic than my approach and indeed a little bit intimate, describing the close relationship between the 枕詞 and the word following it.
I agree too and it’s mostly useless info at this point.
I’m also fine with that, but is do you (and the rest) agree to get the first five weeks in this thread? We have already done one, and we can’t move it somewhere else without moderation power. And having just one week separate from the rest is making me twitch.
I’m going to wait ~24h before I post the new weekly poll, just in case there’s overwhelming opinion in favor of moving immediately.