日本語 | English

■ We have to pause for a while until the emergency state goes away







Atom_feed
Kokin-wakashu
For Love Affairs, They Needed It?
Date:17, Apr, 2021
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Kokin-wakashu is the Japanese national tanka collection that was compiled by Ki-no Tsurayuki, Ki-no Tomonori, Ōshikōchino Mitsune, and Mibuno Tadamine in the early 10th century. The most popular one among the four tanka masters must be Tsurayuki who wrote the Tosa Diary in the middle of the 10th century. And Kokin-wakashu is the first national tanka collection, contains over 1,000 tanka.

Then some may guess like thus. Why do we have to know such old tanka? Now is the 21st century! We don't need to be captured by anything old. Free! Free! Free! I can easily suppose there are some who insist like this. They are (almost) hating to learn history. "What does studying history work for?" they think from the bottom of their hearts. I know they desire to be surrounded by nothing but the meaning and function, they dislike to be there with what seems meaningless.

Getting the classical is knowing what human is. I suppose so. We'll find human when we read the old tanka collection. Ki-no Tsurayuki wrote the preface for Kokin-wakashu. It tells us tanka comes from their own feelings. Tanka tells how they felt there. You might say it is meaningless. And I have to say why not get dead right away? Every creature lives heading for death. You must pass away at once, if efficiency and function so matter. Life is not based on the meaning.

Anyway, there is a question. Why did they decide to compile a tanka collection as a national project? They need Tanka when they fell in love with somebody else at the time. It was very difficult to see the upper-class women since they were rare to show their faces in public. How did men do for meeting women? The answer is sending tanka. Man sent tanka to woman for telling how deep he was in love. If woman liked the tanka, she replied with her tanka which told what she thought. Then the love could go and he waited for the right time. And when it had come, he visited her to see directly, loved so deep. The better the tanka was, the better it went. Naturally, they needed the reference of the good tanka, the government let the four tanka masters select and compile.

The Heian era is also the times of idiocracy. The government didn't care at all no matter what it was overseas, how the masse were. They payed attention to nothing but human affairs including love affairs. And naturally, the public order was worse than any other eras. Kokin-wakashu is the proof in a sense.

about Kokin-wakashu

・Editors: Ki-no Tsurayuki, Ki-no Tomonori, Ōshikōchino Mitsune, Mibuno Tadamine
・Published by Iwanami Shoten, Kadokawa and others





 

Man'yoshu
The Oldest Tanka Collection