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New Worlds: Matching and Recontextualizing Poetry Excerpted from Fiction in the Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase

De nouveaux mondes : appariement et recontextualisation de poèmes tirés de romans dans le cadre du Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase
Michel Vieillard-Baron

Abstracts

Prior to 1206, the poet Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241) took two hundred poems (waka) from the Genji monogatari and the Sagoromo monogatari, both Heian-period novels, and matched them in the style of a poetry competition (utaawase). The resulting work is known as Hyakuban utaawase (Poetry Competition in One Hundred Rounds) or Genji Sagoromo utaawase (A Competition of Poems from the Genji and the Sagoromo). An analysis of Rounds 45-52 of the competition yields an understanding of Teika’s methodology in matching competing poems, and demonstrates that the work was created in order to reveal new artistic possibilities in waka.

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Editor’s note

Original release : Michel Vieillard-Baron, « De nouveau mondes », Cipango, Hors-série, 2008, 111-132.
Michel Vieillard-Baron, « De nouveaux mondes », Cipango [En ligne], Hors-série | 2008, mis en ligne le 24 février 2012. URL : http://cipango.revues.org/596 ; DOI : 10.4000/cipango.596.

Full text

The poetry in the Genji and the Sagoromo has no equal.
--Meigetsuki, Tenpuku 1 (1233), 3rd month, 20th day

  • 1 In “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no hōhō,” Genji monogatari kenkyū, 9 (2004), Tabuchi Kumiko emp (...)
  • 2 The Sagoromo monogatari is the story of its eponymous hero’s romantic trials. Though unhappy in lo (...)
  • 3 A meticulous analysis of historical data enables Higuchi Yoshimaro to estimate that the competitio (...)
  • 4 For an overview of the principal differences between the two versions of the competition, see Higu (...)

1The text we are about to consider is an amazing work: a corpus of four hundred poems (waka) excerpted from novels (monogatari) and matched by the famous Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241) in the manner of a poetry competition (utaawase). Teika did not, however, determine winners or write judgments (hanji 判詞).1 The four hundred waka are divided into two competitions. The first, entitled Hyakuban utaawase (Poetry Competition in One Hundred Rounds) or, alternatively, Genji Sagoromo utaawase 源氏狭衣歌合 (A Competition of Poems from the Genji and the Sagoromo), comprises one hundred poems from the Genji monogatari matched against one hundred from another great Heian novel, the Sagoromo monogatari (The Tale of Sagoromo).2 The second competition, known as Go hyakuban utaawase 後百番歌合 (The Second Poetry Competition in One Hundred Rounds) or Shūi hyakuban utaawase 拾遺百番歌合 (A Competition in One Hundred Rounds of Poems Gleaned from the Remnants), comprises one hundred more poems from the Genji matched with one hundred waka from ten novels which are now lost, with the exception of the Yoru no nezame (Wakeful in the Night). In the former competition the poems are arranged thematically in the manner of an anthology: love (43 rounds), parting (4), travel (6), laments (15), and miscellaneous subjects (32). In the latter, the poems are classified by novel rather than by theme. Although their date of compilation is not known, it occurred sometime before 1206, the year in which their sponsor, Fujiwara (Kujô) no Yoshitsune 藤原(九条)良経 (1169-1206), died. Teika was in the service of Yoshitsune, a gifted poet.3 Rather than speak of competitions, we are concerned here with original works which were created from poems selected for their high quality and arranged, like a mosaic, into a coherent whole. An autograph manuscript of the text in the collection of the Hokuni Library 穂久邇文庫 was copied by Teika after the fact—using, perhaps, Yoshitsune’s exemplar—because Teika’s own manuscript had been lost by a careless borrower. Teika made some corrections in his copy; an edited version of the revised text is used in this essay.4

  • 5 Kyōgoku chūnagon sōgo 京極中納言相語 (Conversations with the Kyōgoku Middle Counsellor [Teika]), recorded (...)
  • 6 On the multiple poetic references punctuating “Suma,” see Takada Hirohiko, “In’yō no sōzōsei—Suma (...)
  • 7 For the second competition, Teika chose another ten poems from “Suma.”

2In both competitions Teika assigns the Genji monogatari poems to the Left. This simple, seemingly insignificant detail informs us that Teika found the Genji poems of superior quality.5 Two teams, the Left and the Right, competed at an utaawase; the Left was reserved for the guests of honor. The most compelling aspect of our competitions is the way the poems are matched and recontextualized. In an actual competition, poems were generally composed on assigned topics (dai) and addressed the same theme. As the waka in Teika’s competitions were taken from different novels, matching them presented a challenge. Moreover, poems excerpted from novels demand a knowledge of narrative context in order to be understood. Teika reframed the poems by composing prose prefaces (kotobagaki) of various lengths. Teika’s methodology will be analyzed by focusing on Rounds 45 to 52 of the Hyakuban utaawase, the first of the two competitions. Rounds 45 to 47 conclude the section on Parting, while Rounds 48 to 52 initiate the section on Travel. In our sample, the poems of the Left are (with one exception) taken from “Suma,” while those of the Right come from various chapters in the Sagoromo monogatari. The Genji monogatari contains 795 waka and “Suma,” with forty-eight, has the densest poetic texture of all the Genji chapters.6 It is also the chapter best represented in our competition (Teika chose thirteen poems from it).7 The much shorter Sagoromo monogatari—it is one-quarter the length of the Genji— has 216 waka: this means that approximately half its poems appear in our competition.

3Let us now consider the first round in our corpus.

  • 8 Edwin A. Cranston, trans., A Waka Anthology, Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance (Stanford CA: Stan (...)

Round 45
The Left. Parting, [on leaving for] Suma
Uki yo woba/ Now I take my leave,
Ima zo wakaruru/ Parting from this world of grief;
Todomaramu/ All that will remain
Na woba Tadasu no/ Is the name I entrust to you:
Kami ni makasete/ Judge it straitly, stern god!8

  • 9 Poems are numbered according to their appearance in the novel; cf. Shinpen kokka taikan (Tōkyō: Ka (...)
  • 10 “Suma,” Genji monogatari, Shinchō Nihon koten shūsei (henceforth NKS), Tōkyō, Shinchōsha, 1977, vo (...)

4In the novel, Genji is the speaker of the poem (number 181).9 On the night before he goes into exile at Suma, Genji pays his respects at the tomb of his father, the Kiritsubo emperor. On his way there he makes a farewell visit to Fujitsubo, one of his late father’s consorts, with whom he is in love. Distraught after their meeting, Genji proceeds toward his father’s tomb and passes by the Lower Kamo Shrine. He composes the above poem at the shrine, where he has stopped to inform the deity of his departure.10 Although this is not a love poem in the context of the Genji, Teika invites the reader to see it as an implicit farewell to Fujitsubo.

5The poem of the Right, like all those in this competition, comes from the Sagoromo monogatari.

  • 11 I have translated the Sagoromo poems in this essay.—Trans.

The Right. Composed on the night he decided to retreat from the world, as he was leaving the residence of the Kamo Priestess.
Namida nomi/ My tears are streaming like
Yodomanu kaha to/ The course of a river whose
Nagaretsutsu/ Waters never pool:
Wakare no michi ha/ Near impossible to make
Yuki mo yararezu/ My way down the path of parting.11

  • 12 Numbering of the Sagoromo monogatari poems follows the Shinpen kokka taikan, vol. 5.
  • 13 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 2, p. 184.

6The poem (number 184, from Chapter 3)12 is composed by the protagonist Sagoromo who, distressed by a series of romantic setbacks, decides to retreat from the world (shukke). The night before he leaves, he quietly visits Genji no Miya, the Kamo Priestess (Saiin 斎院), whom he has loved since childhood. He converses courteously with her and, returning to his house at dawn, speaks fondly with his little daughter Wakamiya, who is too young to be told of his decision. Sagoromo is greatly pained at the thought of leaving the child without a father’s support: at this point he composes his poem.13 Contrary to what we are told in the prose preface, the poem is not composed as Sagoromo leaves the Priestess, but as he is about to forsake his daughter. Teika intentionally modified the compositional context of the poem in order to highlight the resemblance between the two waka in this round. Both are presented as composed by a protagonist who, under difficult circumstances, bids farewell to a woman he loves after having decided to retreat from the world, whether by going into exile or entering religion. A word signifying parting (wakaruru, “to part,” and wakare, “parting”) is also present in both poems. The resemblance is further strengthened by the fact that Genji composes his poem at the Kamo Shrine: according to the prose preface, Sagoromo’s farewell is addressed to a lady who is none other than the priestess of that shrine.

  • 14 Cranston, trans., p. 758.

Round 46
The Left. Parting, [on leaving for] Suma
Murasaki
Oshikaranu/ Let me give a life
Inochi ni kahete/ That is nothing to me now
Me no mahe no/ In exchange for this--
Wakare wo shibashi/ A stay for only moment
Todome teshigana/ To the parting before my eyes.14

  • 15 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 224; Seidensticker, trans., p. 229.

7Genji spends the day of his departure for Suma with his beloved Murasaki. They speak of one thing and another until, at nightfall, Genji makes ready to leave. She looks so lovely in the moonlight that he is overwhelmed with fear at the thought of leaving her without support. He then composes a poem expressing his sorrow at parting from Murasaki, with whom he had expected to spend the rest of his life. The above waka (number 186) is Murasaki’s reply to Genji’s poem.15

  • 16 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 2, p. 316.
    Meguri ahamu/When will we meet again?
    Kagiri dani naki/Ah, (...)

The Right. [When Sagoromo wrote in a poem,] “Like the moon that walks the sky, I know not where my course will end,”16 she replied,
The Kamo Priestess
Tsuki danimo/ Yes, become the moon,
Yoso no muragumo/Then, so long as banks of clouds
Hedatezu ha/Do not hinder you,
Yona yona sode ni/Every night on my sleeve
Utsushite mo mimu/I will see your reflection.

  • 17 This poem, quoted in the preceding note, appears in Round 1 of the competition.

8The poem (number 188, from Chapter 4) is spoken by Genji no Miya, the Kamo Priestess mentioned in the preceding round. This poem, however, comes from a different part of the novel. The Priestess receives a visit from Sagoromo, who is soon to become emperor. As his new status will not condone their relationship, the lovers agree to separate. Greatly distressed, Sagoromo composes a poem expressing concern that he does not know when they will meet again.17 The Priestess’ response in Round 46 reprises Sagoromo’s moon imagery: she will think of him, she says, whenever she sees the moon’s reflection in the tears she sheds on her clothing. Both poems in this round are composed by a woman forced by circumstance to part from the man she loves.

9The Genji poem in the next and final round of the section on Parting comes from “Akashi” rather than “Suma,” but is analyzed here to preserve the unity of our corpus.

  • 18 Cranston, trans., p. 775.

Round 47
The Left. When Genji is preparing to return to the capital
The Akashi Lady
Toshi hetsuru/This rough-thatched hut
Tomaya mo arete/That has stood so many years
Uki nami no/Might grow desolate;
Kaheru kata ni ya/Companion of the breaking wave,
Mi wo taguhemashi/Shall I follow whence it came?18

  • 19 “Akashi,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 300; Seidensticker, trans., p. 267.

10The poem (number 238) is composed by Genji’s mistress, the Akashi Lady, whom he meets in exile. Genji has come to her at night to tell her he is returning to the capital. The following morning he recites a waka as he leaves her, and the lady responds with the above poem. In his poem Genji expresses concern that the lady will be left without his support; the Akashi Lady makes it clear that his very departure signals her decline.19

The Right. When she had decided to go far away
Lady Asukai
Hanakatsumi/We have hardly met
Katsu miru danimo/Yet see how I long for you!
Aru mono wo/Like marsh irises
Asaka no numa ni/Of Asaka, starved for water,
Mizu ya tahenamu/Will we ever meet again?

  • 20 See the Kokin wakashū, poem 677, for an example of katsu mi employed in this fashion.
  • 21 This established wordplay also appears in poem 677 of the Kokin wakashū.
  • 22 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, pp. 76-77.

11The poem (number 23, from Chapter 1) is spoken by Lady Asukai, one of Sagoromo’s conquests. The author plays on the homophony between hanakatsumi, an obscure aquatic plant, and katsu mi, “We have hardly met.”20 The aquatic plant imagery recalls the Asaka marsh and its conventional wordplay on mizu, which can mean both “water,” and “not meeting.”21 Asukai composes her poem during a nocturnal visit from Sagoromo. Although they pledge their love, Asukai is already betrothed to the son of Sagoromo’s nurse and knows that she will be taken far from the capital: Asukai does not know whether she and Sagoromo will ever meet again.22 As in the preceding round, the matched poems are composed by women in love and addressed to a lover they fear they may never see again. The similarity between the two poems is strengthened by a shared use of a liquid component—waves (nami) in the first poem and water (mizu) in the second.

12We now come to the section on Travel in our competition. In classical Japanese literature, travel is never seen as a pleasant activity: instead it is an often painful experience associated with loneliness, parting from loved ones, and anxiety over possible dangers.

  • 23 Cranston, trans., p. 765.

Round 48
The Left. When, at the Bay of Suma, he saw smoke rising nearby
Yama gatsu no/Here where mountaineers
Ihori ni takeru/Burn in their huts the brush they break
Shiba shiba mo/Over and over
Koto tohi konamu/Let, oh let, one come to me
Kohuru sato bito/From the homeland of my longing.23

  • 24 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 245; Seidensticker, trans., p. 240.

13Genji is now in exile. Far from the capital everything seems strange, even the smoke from the brushwood fires burned by local folk near his dwelling. These fires give the author of the poem (number 208) an opportunity to play on the homophony between shiba (“brush” or “branches”) and shibashiba (“often”).24

The Right. Composed at dawn, when she set off on a journey with her nurse
Asukai
Ama no to wo/Most reluctantly
Yasurahi ni koso/Did I cross the threshold of
Ideshika to/The heavenly portal:
Yuhutsuke-dori yo/If he asks you, tell him so,
Tohaba kotaheyo/Oh bird announcing the new day!

  • 25 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, pp. 104-105.

14The poem (number 34, from Chapter 1) is composed by Asukai, another of whose poems appeared in the preceding round. At this point in the narrative, her nurse is taking her against her will to the ship where the son of Sagoromo’s nurse is waiting to take her to Tsukushi and marry her.25 “Heavenly portal” is a metaphorical reference to the door of Asukai’s house. The resemblance, subtler than in preceding examples, between the poems in this round may be in their joint use of the verb tohu, signifying both “to ask” and “to visit.”

  • 26 Cranston, trans., p. 767.

Round 49
The Left. Composed when he was still a counselor and middle captain; as he was hastening back [to the capital] after having gone to Suma.
The former prime minister [Tō no Chūjō]
Akanaku ni/All unsatisfied,
Kari no tokoyo wo/Leaving Everworld behind
Tachi wakare/(So briefly glimpsed),
Hana no miyako ni/One wild goose may lose its way
Michi ya madohamu/To the Citadel of Flowers.26

  • 27 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, pp. 252-253; Seidensticker, trans., pp. 244-245.

15The poem (number 213) is spoken by Tō no Chūjō, Genji’s good friend, who has paid a brief visit to Genji in exile. As they speak, a flock of wild geese flies across the dawn sky, leading to an exchange of poems. Tō no Chūjō expresses his sadness at leaving Genji and the difficulty he will have returning to the capital in so distraught a state.27

  • 28 There is a variant between Teika’s version of the first verse and that in our edition of the Sagor (...)

The Right. [Composed] at dawn in the Ichijô Palace following his initial visit to the First Princess, when he was alone and lost in thought.
Shirasebaya28/Would that you could know
Tokoyo hanareshi/How the wild geese, flown so far
Karigane no/From their Everworld,
Omohi no hoka ni/Raise their voices, crying in
Kohite naku ne wo/Longing for the one they love!

  • 29 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 2, pp. 91-92.
  • 30 See the article on kari in Kubota Jun and Baba Akiko, eds., Utakotoba utamakura daijiten (Tōkyō: K (...)

16The poem (number 98, from Chapter 3) is recited by Sagoromo. Social pressure has forced him to marry the First Princess, although they do not love each other. Having spent his first night with the princess, a despondent Sagoromo goes at dawn to the Ichijō Palace (Ichijō no miya), where his daughter Wakamiya lives. The child was born from a secret liaison with the Second Princess (Emperor Saga’s daughter), who is known as the Princess Renunciate after she becomes a nun. In his distraction Sagoromo thinks of his child’s mother and composes this poem to express his love for her.29 The poems in this round are matched because of their joint use of the image of wild geese (kari or karigane) and of the term tokoyo, signifying the land of immortals or spirits. According to poetic tradition, wild geese had the power to journey to the afterlife and could even communicate with the spirits of the dead.30 In the Genji poem, kari no tokoyo, “Everworld… /(So briefly glimpsed),” also refers implicitly to kari no toko, “[your] temporary residence,” Genji’s house in exile at Suma. In the Sagoromo monogatari, “Everworld” is used simply as a metaphor for the grief caused by distance (from their chosen home in the case of the wild geese, and from his beloved for Sagoromo).

  • 31 Cranston, trans., pp. 762-763.

Round 50
The Left. On the Bay of Suma
Kohi wabite/Weary with yearning,
Nakune ni magahu/Weeping, now the cries that come
Uranami ha/Mingle with the waves…
Omohu kata yori/Waves that break before the wind
Kaze ya fukuramu/That blows from the longed-for land?31

  • 32 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 237; Seidensticker, trans., p. 236.

17The poem (number 199) is Genji’s. Observing that the waves sound like his weeping, Genji imagines that the wind is bringing to his place of exile the sobbing of the women he loves, left behind in the capital and longing for him.32

The Right. As he was going to Mt. Kōya
Ukifune no/In this wave-tossed boat
Tayori ni yukamu/I come to pay her my respects:
Watatsumi no/Tell me where she rests
Soko to woshiheyo/At the bottom of the ocean,
Ato no shiranami/O white waves in my wake!

  • 33 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, pp. 248-249.

18The poem (number 76, from Chapter 2) is recited by Sagoromo while on pilgrimage to Mt. Kōya. As he is being ferried across the Yoshino River, Sagoromo thinks of Asukai, whom he believes was drowned on the way to Tsukushi after throwing herself from the ship.33 The poems are matched by their joint use of sea and wave imagery and by similar narrative circumstances: both are composed by protagonists who sadly long for a beloved woman separated from them by fate.

  • 34 In her youth, Rokujō no Miyasudokoro was the consort of the crown prince; he died long before the (...)
  • 35 Cranston, trans., p. 761.

Round 51
The Left. At Ise
By the widow of the former crown prince [the Rokujō lady]34
Ise shima ya/Here at Ise isle
Shihohi no kata ni/Though I search along the strand
Asarite mo/At the drop of tide,
Ihu kahi naki ha/See, I shall never recover
Waga mi narikeri/Mid these shells the luck I lost.35

  • 36 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, pp. 232-233; Seidensticker, trans., p. 233.

19The poem (number 195) is composed by the Rokujō lady, a former lover of Genji who is living temporarily at Ise. Hearing that Genji is in exile at Suma, she sends him a letter that includes this waka. The lady hopes to move Genji by her evocation of the bleak life at Ise, and so revive their relationship.36

The Right. On board ship
Asukai
Nagarete mo/Will we meet again
Ahuse ariya to/If waves carry me away?
Mi wo nagete/Throwing myself into
Mushiake no seto ni/The straits of Mushiake, I shall
Machi kokoromimu/Wait to see what happens next!

  • 37 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, p. 121.

20Asukai composes the poem (number 42, from Chapter 1) while being taken to Tsukushi by the son of Sagoromo’s nurse. During the crossing Asukai, unwilling to live without Sagoromo, decides to throw herself overboard.37 The poems are essentially matched by their similar circumstances: both are composed by women and addressed to a man whom they love but may never see again. The resemblance between the two poems is strengthened by their use of sea imagery and the term mi / wagami, which may be translated as “my body,” “myself,” or “me.”

21We now come to the final round of our corpus.

  • 38 Cranston, trans., p. 768. The author plays on the double meaning of hitokata, “doll/simulacrum” an (...)

Round 52
The Left.
On the bay of Suma, as lustrations were being performed on the day of the Serpent, he was gazing at the surface of the sea which stretched to infinity, bright and calm. Seeing that people were fashioning rather large dolls, putting them into a boat, and casting them into the sea, [he composed this]:
Shirazarishi/Carried to the plain
Ohoumi no hara ni/Of the vast and unknown sea,
Nagare kite/This simulacrum
Hitokata ni ya ha/Learns for the first time the sadness
Mono ha kanashiki/Encumbering all exiled things.38

  • 39 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 254; Seidensticker, trans., pp. 245-246.

22The sight of the dolls gives Genji the opportunity to compose a poem (number 216) ruminating on his destiny and misfortune.39

The Right
Remembering Asukai
Karadomari/At Karadomari
Soko no mikuzu to/She drifted to the ocean floor
Nagareshi wo/Like a wrecked ship;
Seze no ihanami/How I long to search for her
Tazune teshigana/Among the wave-beaten rocks!

  • 40 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, p. 211.

23Sagoromo composes the poem of the Right (number 66, from Chapter 2): having heard that Asukai has thrown herself into the sea, he wants to go to where her suicide took place.40

24The poems are matched primarily because they use the verb nagaru, which in both cases signifies “to drift at the mercy of the waves.” This well expresses the suffering of a man struggling in vain with fate. There are also parallel circumstances: both poems are the heartfelt cries of male protagonists overwhelmed by suffering.

  • 41 See Teramoto Naohiko, Genji monogatari juyōshiron kō, seihen (Tōkyō: Kazama Shobō, 1970), pp. 300- (...)

25Analysis of each round reveals that the matching of poems is determined by three factors: 1) similarity between characters; 2) similarity in the compositional context or situation inspiring the poem, which results in a similar theme; and 3) similarity of expression (the three factors need not be mutually exclusive).41 The strong influence of the Genji on the Sagoromo monogatari, in addition to the many similar situations found in the two novels, significantly facilitate matching.

  • 42 In our corpus the Genji monogatari poems are, in order of appearance, numbers 181, 186, 238, 208, (...)
  • 43 This assumption is supported by Higuchi in San’itsu monogatari, p. 387.
  • 44 See, for example, Higuchi, “Monogatari hyakuban utaawase no hairetsu,” in San’itsu monogatari, pp. (...)
  • 45 “Akashi,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 260; Seidensticker, trans., p. 247.
  • 46 In our corpus, only the identical prefaces to the Genji monogatari poems in Rounds 45 and 46 indic (...)
  • 47 Terada, pp. 160-166, distinguishes three categories of prose prefaces in our competition. The firs (...)
  • 48 Tabuchi, p. 46, points out that Teika erased from his prefaces anything that might damage the hono (...)

26Let us now consider the overall structure of our corpus. First, Teika did not observe the same poem order as in the novels.42 In addition, most of the Genji poems in our corpus are drawn from “Suma,” while the Sagoromo poems matched against them come from all four of its chapters: this indicates that Teika chose the Genji poems first and matched them later with the Sagoromo poems.43 There is no genuine progression within sections, such as is found in imperial anthologies (chokusenshū 勅撰集). Teika conceived of each round as an independent unit that also maintained a measure of continuity with its successor.44 Thus Murasaki’s poem in Round 46 (our second round), which expresses a wish to delay Genji’s departure, can be read as a reply to Genji’s poem in Round 45 (our first round), in which he makes his farewells before going into exile. Round 47, the last in the section on Parting, is freestanding. At the beginning of the Travel section (Round 48), Genji asks in his poem for his friends to visit him in Suma; his wish is granted in Round 49 when Tō no Chūjō comes to see him. In Round 50, Genji thinks the sound of the waves carries the sobs of the women who long for him; and indeed, in Round 51, the Rokujō lady sends a poem implying that she wishes to see him again. Finally, in Round 52 (the last in our corpus) Genji expresses the bleakness of his fate by evoking dolls floating in the ocean at the mercy of the waves. His poem is echoed in Round 53, where Murasaki expresses her grief and anxiety through the image of shedding “waves” of tears.45 Continuity is not usually effectuated by prose prefaces (kotobagaki).46 In our corpus, the basic function of a preface is to describe the circumstances of composition—this is the “classical” function of kotobagaki as seen, for example, in the imperial anthologies. An additional function performed by prefaces to poems excerpted from novels is to recall the narrative context.47 As we have seen, sometimes Teika did not hesitate to alter the compositional context in his prefaces in order to improve the coherence of a round.48

  • 49 For a summary of the circumstances behind the recognition of monogatari as appropriate material fo (...)
  • 50 On honkadori, see Jacqueline Pigeot, Questions de poétique japonaise, p. 52-55, and Michel Vieilla (...)

27Finally, let us inquire into the purpose of the project: what is the point of matching poems excerpted from novels? Although we cannot exclude a didactic agenda—acquainting readers with outstanding examples of such poetry—a better answer might be found in the history of waka. Our competition happens to have been compiled during a period, and as part of a movement, in which poetry and prose passages excerpted from monogatari came to be acknowledged as acceptable material for new compositions. Teika’s father, Fujiwara no Shunzei (1114-1204), played a decisive role in this development.49 Throughout its history waka has been nourished—consciously or unconsciously—by intertextual references. One poetic practice was extraordinarily popular during the compilation period of our competition: honkadori 本歌取 (allusive variation), which borrows recognizable elements from an existing waka in creating a new poem.50 By implicitly evoking the poem to which it alludes, the new waka acquires enhanced meaning. It will be recalled that our competition was commissioned by Fujiwara no Yoshitsune, known for his constant interest in finding new ways to revive, enrich, and develop waka composition. Yoshitsune’s involvement strongly suggests that our competition was part of a larger quest to create new poetic sensations. By borrowing and matching poems from two well known novels selected from the masterworks of literature, and by writing the prose prefaces to the poems, Teika not only expresses his admiration for these monogatari. He implements a subtle mechanism intended to deliver all the effects waka is capable of: to elicit surprise and emotion, and to kindle new associations and feelings in the reader’s mind. In other words, by arranging poems and putting them into fresh contexts, Teika brings new worlds into being.

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Bibliography

Primary Sources

Genji monogatari, Ishida Jōji and Shimizu Yoshiko, eds., Shinchō Nihon koten shūsei, Tōkyō: Shinchōsha, 1976-1985, 8 vols.

Kunchū Meigetsuki, Inamura Eiichi, ed., Matsue: Matsue Imai Shoten, 2002, rpt. 2003, 8 vols.

Kyōgoku chūnagon sōgo, Karonshū 1. Hisamatsu Sen’ichi, ed. Chūsei no bungaku, Tōkyō: Miyai Shoten, 1971.

Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase. Ōchō monogatari shūkasen 1. Higuchi Yoshimaro, ed., Iwanami Bunko, Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten, 1987.

Sagoromo monogatari, Suzuki Kazuo, ed., Shinchō Nihon koten shūsei, Tōkyō: Shinchōsha, 1985-1986, 2 vols.

Secondary Sources

Fujihira Haruo, “Shinkokinshū to Genji monogatari, Teika no honkadori to Genji monogatari no hiki uta,” Fujihira Haruo chosakushū, 5, Tōkyō: Kasama Shoin, 2003.

Hérail Francine, Fonctions et fonctionnaires japonais au début du xie siècle, Paris : POF, 1977, 2 vols.

Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Genji Sagoromo hyakuban utaawase kō, burui, hairetsu o chūshin ni,” Aichi Daigaku kokubungaku, 12 (1971), Rpt. in Heian Kamakura jidai san’itsu monogatari no kenkyū, q.v.

Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Monogatari gohyakuban utaawase hairetsu kō,” Aichi Kyôiku Daigaku kenkyū hōkoku, 33 (1974).

Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Matsura no miya monogatari, Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no seiritsu jiki ni tsuite,” Kokugo to kokubungaku, 57:5 (1980), Rpt. in Heian Kamakura jidai san’itsu monogatari no kenkyū, q.v.

Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase to Mumyōzōshi,” Kokugo kokubungaku hō, 38 (1981).

Higuchi Yoshimaro, Heian Kamakura jidai san’itsu monogatari no kenkyū, Tōkyō: Hitaku Shobō, 1982.

Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Genji Sagoromo hyakuban utaawase no hairetsu ni tsuite,” Bungaku gogaku, 57 (1982), Rpt. in Heian Kamakura jidai san’itsu monogatari no kenkyū, q.v.

Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Monogatari utaawase to monogatari kashū,” Waka to monogatari. Waka bungaku ronshū, 3. Waka bungaku ronshū Henshū Iinkai, eds., Tōkyō: Kazama Shobō, 1992.

Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Genji monogatari to monogatari shūkasen,” Shinkō Genji monogatari o manabu hito no tameni, Takahashi Tôru and Kubo Tomotaka, eds., Kyōto: Sekai Shisōsha, 1995.

Ii Haruki, “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no honbun,” Gobun, 48 (1987).

Komachiya Teruhiko, Ōchô bungaku no utakotoba hyōgen, Tōkyō: Wakakusa Shobō, 1997.

Kubota Jun, “Genji monogatari to Fujiwara no Teika, Chikatada no musume oyobi sono shūhen,” Fujiwara no Teika to sono jidai, Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten, 1994.

Ōtsuki Osamu, “Genji, Torikaebaya no tsugai ni tsuite — Monogatari gohyakuban utaawase no hairetsu kara,” Gobun, 48 (1987).

Ōtsuki Osamu, “Genji, Yoru no nezame no tsugai ni tsuite – Monogatari gohyakuban utaawase no hairetsu kara,” Kōnan kokubun, 33 (1986), Pt. 1; Kōnan Joshi Daigaku kenkyū kiyō, 22 (1986), Pt. 2.

Pigeot Jacqueline, Questions de poétique japonaise, Paris: PUF, 1997.

Sieffert René, trans, le Dit du Genji, Cergy: POF, 1988, 2 vols.

Tabuchi Kumiko, “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no hōhō,” Genji monogatari kenkyū, 9 (2004).

Tabuchi Kumiko, “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no seiritsu to kōzō,” Kokugo to kokubungaku, special number (May 2004).

Takada Hirohiko, Genji monogatari no bungaku shi, Tōkyō: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai, 2003.

Takemoto Motoaki and Kyūsojin Hitaku, Teika jihitsu-bon Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no kenkyū. Mikan kokubun shiryō, vol. 1-1, Toyohashi: Mikan Kokubun Shiryō Kankōkai, 1955.

Terada Sumie, “la Prose dans le contexte de la poésie, le Roman du Genji et l’évolution poétique,” Éloge des sources, Joseph A. Kyburz et al., eds. Arles: Philippe Picquier, 2004.

Teramoto Naohiko, Genji monogatari juyōshi ronkō, seihen, Tōkyō: Kazama Shobō, 1970.

Tōno Yasuko, “Genji Sagoromo utaawase no tsugai to sono keisei,” Mozu kokubun, 9 (1989).

Tōno Yasuko, “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no Genji uta to Teika,” Ōchō no bungaku to sono keifu, Katagiri Yōichi, ed. Ōsaka: Izumi Shoin, 1991.

Ueno, Eiji. “Genji monogatari no kyōju to honbun, Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase shoshūbon o megutte,” Kokugo kokubun, 53:1 (1984).

Vieillard-Baron Michel, Fujiwara no Teika et la notion d’excellence en poésie, théorie et pratique de la composition dans le Japon classique, Paris : Collège de France, Institut des hautes études japonaises, 2001.

Yoneda Akemi, “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no kotobagaki ikkō,” Ōchō waka to shiteki tenkai, Higuchi Yoshimaro, ed. Tōkyō: Kasama Shoin, 1997.

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Notes

1 In “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no hōhō,” Genji monogatari kenkyū, 9 (2004), Tabuchi Kumiko emphasizes Teika’s care in establishing and systematizing the names of Genji characters (who are designated in various ways in the Genji, a work spanning three-quarters of a century). His competition includes an index of character-poets arranged in descending order of rank, with male characters followed by female ones. Next to each character’s name is the number of his or her poems selected for the competition. Tabuchi observes that in doing so Teika gave his work the formal tone of an actual poetry competition or an imperial anthology.

2 The Sagoromo monogatari is the story of its eponymous hero’s romantic trials. Though unhappy in love, Sagoromo has a brilliant career culminating in his accession to the supreme position of emperor. Greatly influenced by the Genji monogatari, the Sagoromo was written before 1086. It is attributed to Senji 宣旨 (a court sobriquet meaning “the lady in charge of imperial orders”), a lady in waiting who served the imperial princess Baishi (1039-1096), a devotee of literature. As the above quotation from Fujiwara no Teika’s journal attests, the Sagoromo monogatari was considered, by virtue of its poetry, the next best novel after the Genji itself.

3 A meticulous analysis of historical data enables Higuchi Yoshimaro to estimate that the competitions were compiled between the autumn of Kenkyū 4 (1193) and the winter of Kenkyū 7 (1196). In 1205, Emperor Gotoba ordered Teika and Fujiwara no Ariie 藤原有家 (1155-1216) to compile a competition using poems excerpted from novels (cf. Meigetsuki 名月記, Genkyū 2 [1205], 12th Month, 7th day), but this clearly refers to a different text. Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Matsura no miya monogatari, Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase no seiritsu jiki ni tsuite,” Kokugo to kokubungaku 57:5 (1980), reprinted in Higuchi Yoshimaro, Heian Kamakura jidai san’itsu monogatari no kenkyū (Tōkyō: Hitaku Shobō, 1982), esp. p. 23; and, by the same author: “Genji monogatari to monogatari shūkasen,” in Takahashi Tōru and Kubo Tomotaka, eds., Shinkō Genji monogatari o manabu hito no tame ni (Kyōto: Sekaishisōsha, 1995), p. 254.

4 For an overview of the principal differences between the two versions of the competition, see Higuchi Yoshimaro, “Monogatari utaawase to monogatari kashū,” in Waka to monogatari, vol. 3 of Waka bungaku ronshū (Tōkyō: Kazama Shobō, 1992), p. 64. For further information on the edition used in this study, see the bibliography.

5 Kyōgoku chūnagon sōgo 京極中納言相語 (Conversations with the Kyōgoku Middle Counsellor [Teika]), recorded by his disciple Fujiwara no Nagatsuna 藤原長綱, contains these remarks by Teika: “One can see, in Murasaki Shikibu’s style, an intent that is lucidly expressed and poetry that is elegantly composed, with respect to both overall form [sugata] and diction [kotoba]” (p. 335). The Genji monogatari is the narrative work most frequently referred to by Teika in his own poetry. On this subject, see Sumie Terada, “la Prose dans le contexte de la poésie, le Roman du Genji et l’évolution poétique,” in Éloge des sources, reflets du Japon ancien et moderne (Arles, France: Philippe Picquier, 2004), p. 150-155; Kubota Jun, “Genji monogatari to Fujiwara no Teika, Chikatada no musume oyobi sono shūhen,” in Fujiwara no Teika to sono jidai (Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten, 1994), pp. 289-328, and Fujihira Haruo, “Shinkokinshū to Genji monogatari, Teika no honkadori to Genji monogatari no hiki uta,” in Fujihira Haruo chosakushū (Tōkyō: Kasama Shoin, 2003), vol. 5, pp. 161-177.

6 On the multiple poetic references punctuating “Suma,” see Takada Hirohiko, “In’yō no sōzōsei—Suma no maki no hōhō,” Genji monogatari no bungaku shi (Tōkyō: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai, 2003), pp. 210-234.

7 For the second competition, Teika chose another ten poems from “Suma.”

8 Edwin A. Cranston, trans., A Waka Anthology, Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance (Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 2006), p. 757.

9 Poems are numbered according to their appearance in the novel; cf. Shinpen kokka taikan (Tōkyō: Kadokawa Shoten, 1987), vol. 5.

10 “Suma,” Genji monogatari, Shinchō Nihon koten shūsei (henceforth NKS), Tōkyō, Shinchōsha, 1977, vol. 2, p. 220; Edward G. Seidensticker, trans., The Tale of Genji (New York: Knopf, 1976), pp. 227-228.

11 I have translated the Sagoromo poems in this essay.—Trans.

12 Numbering of the Sagoromo monogatari poems follows the Shinpen kokka taikan, vol. 5.

13 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 2, p. 184.

14 Cranston, trans., p. 758.

15 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 224; Seidensticker, trans., p. 229.

16 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 2, p. 316.
Meguri ahamu/When will we meet again?
Kagiri dani naki/Ah, ours is a parting without
Wakare kana/Any limitation--
Sora yuku tsuki no/Like the moon that walks the sky,
Hate wo shiraneba/I know not where my course will end.

17 This poem, quoted in the preceding note, appears in Round 1 of the competition.

18 Cranston, trans., p. 775.

19 “Akashi,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 300; Seidensticker, trans., p. 267.

20 See the Kokin wakashū, poem 677, for an example of katsu mi employed in this fashion.

21 This established wordplay also appears in poem 677 of the Kokin wakashū.

22 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, pp. 76-77.

23 Cranston, trans., p. 765.

24 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 245; Seidensticker, trans., p. 240.

25 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, pp. 104-105.

26 Cranston, trans., p. 767.

27 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, pp. 252-253; Seidensticker, trans., pp. 244-245.

28 There is a variant between Teika’s version of the first verse and that in our edition of the Sagoromo monogatari (NKS, vol. 2, p. 92). The latter reads Kikasebaya, “Would that you could hear.”

29 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 2, pp. 91-92.

30 See the article on kari in Kubota Jun and Baba Akiko, eds., Utakotoba utamakura daijiten (Tōkyō: Kadokawa Shoten, 1999), pp. 265-266.

31 Cranston, trans., pp. 762-763.

32 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 237; Seidensticker, trans., p. 236.

33 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, pp. 248-249.

34 In her youth, Rokujō no Miyasudokoro was the consort of the crown prince; he died long before the beginning of her affair with Genji.

35 Cranston, trans., p. 761.

36 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, pp. 232-233; Seidensticker, trans., p. 233.

37 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, p. 121.

38 Cranston, trans., p. 768. The author plays on the double meaning of hitokata, “doll/simulacrum” and “ordinary.”

39 “Suma,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 254; Seidensticker, trans., pp. 245-246.

40 Sagoromo monogatari, NKS, vol. 1, p. 211.

41 See Teramoto Naohiko, Genji monogatari juyōshiron kō, seihen (Tōkyō: Kazama Shobō, 1970), pp. 300-301.

42 In our corpus the Genji monogatari poems are, in order of appearance, numbers 181, 186, 238, 208, 213, 199, 195, and 216. Sagoromo monogatari poems are numbers 142, 188, 23, 34, 98, 76, 42, and 66.

43 This assumption is supported by Higuchi in San’itsu monogatari, p. 387.

44 See, for example, Higuchi, “Monogatari hyakuban utaawase no hairetsu,” in San’itsu monogatari, pp. 371-386, and, in French, Terada, p. 160. Tabuchi believes that the practice of situating poems to effect continuity was influenced by the jika awase, a form of poetry competition in which a poet matched waka chosen solely from his or her own oeuvre; “Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase,” p. 43. Jika awase were very popular at the time in which our competition was compiled.

45 “Akashi,” NKS, vol. 2, p. 260; Seidensticker, trans., p. 247.

46 In our corpus, only the identical prefaces to the Genji monogatari poems in Rounds 45 and 46 indicate a time unit and suggest possible continuity, as confirmed by the poems.

47 Terada, pp. 160-166, distinguishes three categories of prose prefaces in our competition. The first adopts a deictic function, giving us the impression “that we are there, at this very moment.” In this kind of preface a sensory fact is recalled, rather than an explicitly narrative element; she cites as an example the preface to Round 48: “At the Bay of Suma, on seeing smoke rising nearby.” Prefaces belonging to the second category can be very brief; they play a narrative role and summarize the circumstances of composition (this is the most common kind of preface in our corpus). The third category comprises unusual, often long prefaces that resemble reworked quotations. In writing them, Teika borrowed language from the prose text of the novel. The best example is the Genji preface in Round 52: “On the bay of Suma, as lustrations were being performed on the day of the Serpent…”

48 Tabuchi, p. 46, points out that Teika erased from his prefaces anything that might damage the honor of the imperial family. In Round 1 of the competition (not quoted), a poem by Genji expresses a desire to see his beloved Fujitsubo one more time. The name of the woman and the adulterous nature of their relationship (Fujitsubo is a consort of Genji’s father the emperor) are omitted from the preface, even though anyone familiar with the novel would know of them. Such censorship helped to preserve the official character of the competition.

49 For a summary of the circumstances behind the recognition of monogatari as appropriate material for waka composition (and Shunzei’s key role in the matter), see Terada, pp. 141-145.

50 On honkadori, see Jacqueline Pigeot, Questions de poétique japonaise, p. 52-55, and Michel Vieillard-Baron, Fujiwara no Teika et la notion d’excellence en poésie, p. 251-282. In a less common practice, honzetsu 本説, a waka alludes to poetry or prose written in Chinese.

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References

Electronic reference

Michel Vieillard-Baron, « New Worlds: Matching and Recontextualizing Poetry Excerpted from Fiction in the Monogatari nihyakuban utaawase », Cipango - French Journal of Japanese Studies [Online], 3 | 2014, Online since 25 November 2015, connection on 11 December 2016. URL : http://cjs.revues.org/557 ; DOI : 10.4000/cjs.557

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