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Following the Shin kokin period, taking honka became commonplace in the composition of waka. This situation suggests that a quotation ‘database,’ used as a foundation in the composition of waka, had been created. Developments in the methods used by Teika and Tameie correspond to qualitative changes in the elements comprising the database. Finally, we look to understand the creativity generated by accessing and using this database, by examining changes to that database’s various aspects.

II. Teika’s Method: Renewing the Kokoro of Old Poems Teika’s primary aim was to compose wakas with new kokoro that had never before been formulated, by inheriting and using the words that the old poets had used in theirs. 1 In Japanese, kokoro usually means ‘mind’ or ‘heart,’ and this word is used frequently in the waka world.

This paper makes use of the commonly held definition of kokoro as the full content of a waka, which includes both what it describes and what it expresses. What, then, are implications of creating new kokoro with old words, and how is it possible to do so? Let us refer to the classification of honka-dori, provided by Tonna (1289–1372), who was one of the leaders of waka in the 14th century.

In Gumon kenchu, one of Tonna’s books of waka theory, he lists five different ways in which one can compose honka-dori wakas; Teika’s

wakas are considered examples of the following category:

1 The ways in which honka-dori progressed or remained unchanged in the Shin kokin period can be inferred from Teika’s writings. On this, see Kosuke Tsuchida: Inherited Words and Renewed Kokoro—The Variety of Honka-dori in Japanese Medieval Waka. In: Bigaku Kenkyu Vol. 7. Ed. Department of Aesthetics, graduate School of Lettters. Osaka 2009, p. 1–11.

›NEW NE SS‹ CREA TED BY TH E SHA RED PA ST 115 “The waka that has a new kokoro; the poet relives the kokoro of the honka, but does not submit to it blindly.”2 Only in this category is there a reference to new kokoro, and in the other categories Teika’s wakas are not provided as examples. This classification is reconstituted by arranging the original typology of Seia sho, another book by Tonna. In Seia sho, the original category that most closely

resembles it is as follows:

“The waka that has an exquisite kokoro, written by a poet who relives the kokoro of the honka without becoming immersed in it. Such can always be found in Shui guso.”3 Shui guso is Teika’s waka collection. Thus, in creating this category, Tonna must be bearing in mind Teika’s honka-dori wakas, regarding them as those that have new or exquisite kokoro. It suggests that Tonna sympathises with Teika’s aim of seeking out a new kokoro by honka-dori.

A close analysis of the examples provided in this category, therefore, makes Teika’s aim of creating ‘new’ kokoro clear.

In both Gumon kenchu and Seia sho, the following two pairs are

taken as examples:4

A.The honka-dori waka:

Ozora wa / Ume no nioi ni / Kasumi-tsutsu / Kumori mo hate-nu / Haru no yo no tsuki (Teika Fujiwara: 1162–1241) Translation: The sky being misty with the scent of Japanese plum, the spring night’s moon is cloudy.

(大空は 梅の匂ひに 霞みつつ 曇りもはてぬ 春の夜の月)(藤原定家) 

Its honka:

–  –  –

Teri mo se-zu / Kumori mo hate-nu / Haru no yo no / Oboro-zukiyo ni / Shiku mono zo naki (Chisato Oe: a poet from the early 10th century) Translation: Nothing can be compared to a spring night with the hazy moon being not bright but cloudy.

(照りもせず 曇りもはてぬ 春の夜の 朧月夜に しくものぞなき)(大 江千里)

B.The honka-dori waka:

Koma tome-te / Sode uchi-harau / Kage mo nashi / Sano no watari no / Yuki no yugure (Teika Fujiwara) Translation: There is no shade to stop my horse and shake the snow from my sleeves, in the snowy evening at Sano crossing.

(駒とめて 袖うちはらふ かげもなし 佐野の渡りの 雪の夕暮)(藤原定 家)

Its honka:

Kurushiku-mo / Furi kuru ame ka / Miwa no saki / Sano no watari ni / Ie mo ara-nakuni (Okimaro Naga: This waka was in Man-yo shu—the oldest extant anthology, which was made in the late 8th century.) Translation: I’m in trouble, not being able to take refuge from the rain at cape Miwa. I wish there were a house at Sano crossing.

(苦しくも 振りくる雨か 三輪の崎 佐野の渡りに 家もあらなくに)(長 意吉麻呂) In example A, Teika takes three words from the honka and arranges them into ‘kumori mo hate-nu haru no yo no tsuki.’ These words bring to mind the whole of the honka, because it is well known. This means that these 11 syllables express the kokoro of the honka, which is the admiration for a dreamy spring night. Then, Teika expresses a different kind of beauty from a fantastic scene, by transplanting the setting of the honka into an original scene, with the sky being misty with the scent of Japanese plum.

›NEW NE SS‹ CREA TED BY TH E SHA RED PA ST 117 In this waka, what is ‘new’ is not the kokoro which Teika had created by himself, but the mixture of originality and the kokoro of the honka: the fantastic scene denotes a very new kokoro that appears to overlap with the honka scene and move delicately from there.

In example B, there is only one borrowed phrase in Teika’s waka:

‘Sano no watari.’ This phrase, a place name, alerts the reader to the setting of the honka: a lonely trip where there is no shelter from the rain, falling without mercy. In Teika’s honka-dori, the setting is changed from the fuzzy image captured in the phrase ‘Sano crossing,’ to a crisp new scene of a bleak winter evening.

The ‘new’ kokoro in this waka cannot be formed without the old kokoro that is brought to mind by the phrase ‘Sano no watari.’ In line with the scene in the old waka at Sano crossing, the snowbound gray scene in twilight rouses much more loneliness than if it were in some different location, that is, by using a different phrase.

As stated earlier, a ‘new’ kokoro does not appear until it is mixed with the kokoro of the honka and they influence each other. In those works of Teika that achieve such ‘newness’, the old kokoro is, so to speak, ‘renewed’ by reusing it and mixing original words with old ones.

Let us now examine the rules of honka-dori, as provided by Teika.

He provides various rules from a practical viewpoint. Among them, a rule concerning the relationship between the kokoro of a honka and the waka that takes it is especially noteworthy. In Maigetsu sho, Teika says


“There must be an expert way of composing a waka about a flower by taking honka about a flower, or a waka about the moon by taking honka about the moon. You should compose a fall or winter waka by taking from a spring waka, or one of miscellaneous items or a season by taking from one of love, furthermore, compose in such a way as to make it possible for listeners to recognize the honka easily.”5 Breaking his own rule, however, the previous example was a spring waka taken from a spring one, and a travel waka taken from a travel one.

On the honka-dori of renewing old kokoro, it is imperative to try to stay within the work’s original realm and to compose while expressing the

–  –  –

old work’s kokoro. In fact, among the wakas in Teika’s own self-chosen collection, most are composed in such an ‘expert way’—that is, in the way of renewing old kokoro. More than 100 years following Teika’s death, Tonna grasped precisely Teika’s sentiments in his own formulation of new kokoro, and recognized Teika’s work as being of the highest value. This method is considered representative of taking honka in medieval waka.

III. Tameie’s Method: Enriching Words and Reusing the ‘Mould’ of Old Poems Tameie Fujiwara succeeded Teika and realised the prosperity of the House of Fujiwara as a leader of waka. Like Teika’s works, Eiga ittei— that is, Tameie’s book of waka theory—also was distributed widely in the medieval waka world. In this section, by referring to Eiga ittei, we will examine another form of honka-dori in medieval waka.6 In Eiga ittei, Tameie takes the following three pairs as examples of ideal honka-dori.

C.The honka-dori waka:

Na mo shirushi / Mine no arashi mo / yuki to furu / Yamasakura-to no / Akebono no sora (Teika Fujiwara) Translation: It is worthy of the name of yamasakura-to. In the storm around the mountain, cherry blossom are falling like snow. Like opening a door, here is the dawning sky.

(名もしるし 峰の嵐も雪とふる 山桜戸の あけぼのの空)(藤原定家)

Its honka:

Ashibiki no / Yamasakura-to wo / ake oki-te / Waga matsu kimi wo / Tare ka todomuru (Author unknown: this waka was in Man-yo shu) Translation: Opening the door made from mountain cherry wood, I’m waiting 6 To examine the text of ‘Eiga ittei,’ I referred to: Nihon Kagaku Taikei (ibid. 5), and Miyoko Iwasa: Fujiwara no Tameie Chokusen-shu-ei, Eiga ittei Shinchu. Tokyo 2010. All translations are my own.

›NEW NE SS‹ CREA TED BY TH E SHA RED PA ST 119 for my lover, but who causes him to tarry?

(あしびきの 山桜戸 を あけ をきて わがまつ君を たれかとどむ る)(作者表記無) D.

The honka-dori waka:

Chiru hana no / Wasure-gatami no / Mine no kumo / So wo dani nokose / Haru no yamakaze (Yoshihira Kujo: 1184–1240) Translation: The cloud on the peaks is like the memento of the falling flowers.

Leave that at least, spring mountain wind.

(散る花の 忘れ形見の 峰の雲 そをだに残せ 春の山風)(九条良平)

Its honka:

Aka-de koso / Omowa-m naka wa / Hanare-name / So wo dani nochi no / Wasure-gatami ni (Author unknown: this waka was in Kokin waka-shu, the first anthology compiled by imperial order in the early 10th century) Translation: While we love each other without becoming bored, I hope to leave you with at least this as a memento.

(飽かでこそ 思はむ中は 離れなめ そをだに後の 忘れ形見に)(よみ 人知らず)

E.The honka-dori waka:

Sakurabana / Yume ka utsutsu ka / Shirakumo no / Tae-te tsune-naki / Mine no harukaze (Ietaka Fujiwara: 1158–1237) Translation: Are those cherry blossoms in a dream or a reality? I do not know.

The white clouds have disappeared and the transient spring wind blows around the mountain.

(桜花 夢かうつつか 白雲の たえてつねなき 峰の春風)(藤原家隆)

Its honka:


Kaze fuke-ba / Mine ni wakaruru / Shirakumo no / Tae-te tsure-naki / Kimi ga kokoro ka (Tadamine Mibu: a poet of the 9th and 10th centuries; this waka was in Kokin waka-shu) Translation: As the wind blows, the white clouds become distant from the mountain and disappear. Your heart has become distant from me, in the same way.

(風吹けば 峰に別るる 白雲の たえてつれなき 君が心か)(壬生忠岑) All honka-dori examples are wakas of spring, composed by borrowing words from love wakas as honka; example C is Teika’s. The fact that Tameie dares to select this waka as an ideal example among the innumerable honka-dori wakas of Teika’s seems to show the direction in which he seeks to take honka. The implication is that he does not look to follow faithfully the rules provided by Teika, so much as try to find the potential to achieve a valuable new poem by making a kokoro that has no relationship with the kokoro of a honka, even as he takes words from it.

Then, in what aspects of such honka-dori does he recognize value? It is suggestive that the word ‘mezurashi’ (‘unusual’) is frequently

found in Eiga ittei. For example, he says the following:

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