Ōtomo no Yakamochi (大伴 家持) 718? to 785 and his poetry – kasasagi no wataseru hashi ni oku shimo no shiroki o mireba yo zo fukenikeru

Published by Hiromi Nishiwaki on

kasasagi no
wataseru hashi ni
oku shimo no


shiroki o mireba
yo zo fukenikeru


When I see the frost

lying white on a staircase

so like the arched bridge formed by the magpies' outstretched wings,

I know the night has grown deep.

-- Middle Counselor Yakamochi (718?-785)

 

Comments

 

This waka appears in the "Winter" section of the Shinkokinshū. Ōtomo no Yakamochi (718?-785), the son of Ōtomo no Tabito, was one of the compilers of the Man'yōshū.

That anthology contains more poems by him than by any other poet.

The poem relies for its effect on an implied metaphor signaled by a pun on the word hashi, which, depending on the Chinese character used, can mean either "bridge" or "(palace) staircase." In the former sense, the allusion is to the Chinese legend in which a bridge across the Milky Way is formed each year by magpies to allow the Herder to meet the Weaver (the Tanabata legend). In the latter interpretation (which is actually only conventional), the reference is to a staircase in the royal palace, no less "lofty" than the Milky Way by virtue of its association with the imperial court.

 

Handwriting by Noriko Nishiwaki

 

Noriko Nishiwaki

百人一首 乳母か縁説 中納言家持Poem by Chūnagon Yakamochi (Ōtomo no Yakamochi), from the series One Hundred Poems Explained by the Nurse (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki),1760–1849

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1760–1849 Tokyo (Edo))

Period: Edo period (1615–1868)
Date: 1760–1849 Culture: Japan
Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 14 3/8 in. (24.8 x 36.5 cm) Classification: Prints
Credit Line: Henry L. Phillips Collection, Bequest of Henry L. Phillips, 1939

Ōtomo no Yakamochi Ōtomo no Yakamochi (大伴 家持, c. 718 – October 5, 785) was a Japanese statesman and waka poet in the Nara period.

He is a member of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals (三十六歌仙 sanjūrokkasen).

He was born into the prestigious Ōtomo clan; his grandfather was Ōtomo no Yasumaro and his father was Ōtomo no Tabito.

Ōtomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume was his aunt.

 

 

Source: Special Thanks!

http://www.jlit.net/premodernlit/hyakunin-isshu/index.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Ctomo_no_Yakamochi

 

[everest_form id="7265"]

 

 


Hiromi Nishiwaki

Office Flora "JAPANOPHILE " Promotion was founded as a Japanese culture Research firm in 2017. We provide exciting information on Japanese Art and Culture and offer intellectual excitements though the prism of Hiromi Nishiwaki. We provide deep insights about Japanese traditional culture and Art from a Western perspective while keeping the core concepts from the Japanese Spiritual and traditional values intact. Our mission is to contribute to world happiness and prosperity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.