Sacred Texts  Japan  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book on Kindle

A Hundred Verses from Old Japan (The Hyakunin-isshu), tr. by William N. Porter, [1909], at

p. 15




  Kimi ga tame
Haru no no ni idete
  Wakana tsumu
Waga koromode ni
Yuki wa furi-tsutsu.

MOTHER, for thy sake I have been
  Where the wakana grow,
To bring thee back some fresh green leaves
  And see—my koromo
  Is sprinkled with the snow!

Kwōkō was raised to the throne by the Fujiwara family, when the mad Emperor Yōzei was deposed; he reigned A.D. 885-887, and is said to have composed this verse in honour of his grandmother.

Wakana, literally 'young leaves', is a vegetable in season at the New Year; a koromo is really a priest's garment, but is used here for the Emperor's robe.

In the picture we see the Emperor gathering the fresh green leaves, and the snow falling from the sky.

Next: 16. The Imperial Adviser Yuki-hira Ariwara: Chū-Nagon Ariwara no Yuki-hira