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31shortyones19) a go-getter vs. a dream-awaiter ― Sayaka meets Komachi






★a go-getter vs. a dream-waiter ― Sayaka meets Komachi★

Jaugo: Here comes our first love TANKA by a woman. It seems to have been a superstition of the day that vehement love of someone would enable you to meet the one in your dream. That dreamy rendezvous must have been so wonderful for this woman that she wishes she had kept on dreaming… how do you feel, Sayaka-san?

Sayaka: I’d feel otherwise if I woke up from such a dream.

Jaugo: Like what?

Sayaka: I’d rather meet him in reality than in a dream.

Jaugo: Makes sense… if you are mutually in love with the man.

Sayaka: Even if the love is not yet mutual, I’d rather meet him in the flesh and try to win his affection in reality.

Jaugo: It sounds so typical of you, Sayaka-san… you are a “go-getter”.

Sayaka: You mean “aggressive”?

Jaugo: Yes, in a positive way, not in the sense of “greedy” or “covetous”.

Sayaka: I’m perfectly and persistently honest to myself.

Jaugo: Mm… you sound like a philosopher.

Sayaka: A philosopher named “Jaugo Noto” ― you taught me that phrase, do you remember?

Jaugo: Oh, did I?

Sayaka: How could you forget something as memorable as that?

Jaugo: You know, a man doesn’t remember everything in a dream.

Sayaka: You said it in our conversation, not in my dream.

Jaugo: Oh, did I even make my appearance in your dream?

Sayaka: So many times.

Jaugo: I’m curious what I’m saying in your dreams.

Sayaka: Something beyond your wildest imagination.

Jaugo: Like what?

Sayaka: I won’t tell you unless you promise me to make them come true.

Jaugo: How can I make good my promises I can’t even imagine?

Sayaka: That’s why I’m telling you “I won’t tell you” ― it’s up to me to make them come true… How about a realistic talk about this dreamy TANKA instead?

Jaugo: Of course. Do you know the woman who wrote it?

Sayaka: “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” you wrote here.

Jaugo: What do you know about her?

Sayaka: Not much. She was unbelievably beautiful, she was admired by so many men, she spurned so many men, she found few men attractive enough to be her true love, until one day she found herself not as young and beautiful as before, and she lived a lonely single life in her later years ― that’s about it.

Jaugo: It sounds as if 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) is not the kind of woman Sayaka-san can identify herself with.

Sayaka: No woman would ever want to dream away her womanhood and regret it later alone. “Live long along with your love”, do you remember?

Jaugo: You are a treasury of memorable mottos, Sayaka-san.

Sayaka: Your reservoir of memory seems to be leaking, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: No problem, so long as there’s someone beside me to scoop up as it leaks.

Sayaka: It seems you are in constant need of a faithful sidekick.

Jaugo: Thank God I feel no such need right now.

Sayaka: Thank someone else than God, I should say.

Jaugo: Thank you, Sayaka-san, for reminding me I’m an atheist.

Sayaka: Are you a non-believer?

Jaugo: No believer in any particular brand of god or religion. I don’t also believe in the actual existence of 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi): I believe “she” was a virtual idol produced by the editors of 『古今集(Kokin-shuu:A.D.905)』.

Sayaka: You say, all her legends are just a makeup?

Jaugo: Only a very good makeup. Not that I’m blaming 紀貫之(Ki-no-Tsurayuki) and co. for fabricating a fictitious poet called “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)”; I’m rather applauding them for being so successful in making all Japanese people believe in “her” existence… on the strength of a single piece of TANKA… you know what I’m getting at, Sayaka-san?

Sayaka: 《はなのいろはうつりにけりないたづらに わがみよにふるながめせしまに:hana no iro wa utsuri ni kerina itazurani wa ga mi yo ni furu nagame seshi ma ni》.

Jaugo: Beautiful poem, isn’t it?

Sayaka: More sad than beautiful to me. I’d hate to find “花の色は移りにけりな(flowery beauty has faded away)”… “徒らに我が身世に経る眺めせしまに(while I dream my time away idly looking at life pass me by to no purpose)”.

Jaugo: And you don’t find yourself particularly fascinated by this dreamy poem by “小町(Komachi)” either?

Sayaka: No. Do you?

Jaugo: Yeah, I feel they are both… sexy.

Sayaka: Are you sexually excited over such poems?

Jaugo: No, not physical excitement, it’s just that I can’t help sympathizing with such frail emotions of women.

Sayaka: You feel pity for such “frail” women?

Jaugo: I think all men would.

Sayaka: Is such pity akin to love?

Jaugo: You could say that.

Sayaka: (…)

Jaugo: Uh… what did I say to offend you, Sayaka-san?

Sayaka: Nothing. I was just thinking…

Jaugo: Thinking… what?

Sayaka: Thinking if what you said was true.

Jaugo: That all men would feel pity and attracted to frailty in women?

Sayaka: No. Since you say that, all men would feel that way, I have no doubt about it. I was just thinking if 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) really made those poems which sound so nicely attractive, too conveniently attractive to male readers, but not at all to my ears.

Jaugo: Wow, you are so sharp, 冴やか-san! Tell me more.

Sayaka: If all her poems sound too plausibly attractive to men, too conveniently “womanly” for real women to believe, then, I will feel inclined to believe what you said ― that “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” was a virtual idol produced by men according to their own idealized image of “what women should be like”. Do you know all poems that are said to have been made by 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)?

Jaugo: Yes, I know them all, I’ve tasted them all ― 28 in all in 八代集(hachidaishuu = eight great Imperial TANKA anthologies).

Sayaka: And you felt they were too conveniently “womanly” to have been actually made by a real woman?

Jaugo: Not quite. I just felt those poems were all too neatly stereotyped according to the established image of “what 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) should sound like” to have been made by a single real woman, so I concluded that the authors of those TANKA were several different poets, male or female, that attempted to create a virtual idol only existent in the image created by a series of such idealized poems. I don’t know how they should actually sound like to the ears of real women. A man who still sticks to 100 daily push-ups is not up to such a delicate job…

Sayaka: Perhaps I could be of help, don’t you think?

Jaugo: Can you do that for me?

Sayaka: Who do you think I am? ― your constant faithful sidekick!

Jaugo: God be thanked you are here with me.

Sayaka: If I remember correctly, you had no particular brand of god to believe in?

Jaugo: I believe in any god that is good to me. I’m not so much a non-believer as an all-believer. Anyway, thank you very much for your generous offer, Sayaka-san. In deference to your generosity, I’ll prepare the complete list of 28 “小町歌(Komachi rhymes… or Komachi-related rhymes)” complete with my version of interpretations.

Sayaka: It’s very considerate of you, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: But since you are a busy high school student, there’s no need for you to rush through those poems. Just take your time and leisurely appreciate them ― according to your actual woman’s fancy. You don’t owe me any report or definite conclusion. I hope you simply enjoy them, without regard to their authenticity or true gender… or my personal opinion attached to them.

Sayaka: I sure will. Thank you for your wonderful present, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: Thank you for your wonderful curiosity, Sayaka-san. And see you again soon with another “love” TANKA.







My passionate love toward you brought you into my dream, it seems.

Had I known it was a dream, I shouldn’t have woken up again

Into this solitary life I spend without you in sight.

おもふ【想ふ】〔他ハ四〕(おもひ=連用形)<VERB:yearn for, pine after>


ぬ【寝】〔自ナ下二〕(ぬれ=已然形)<VERB:go to bed, fall asleep>



…is it because I slept thinking about him

ひと【人】〔名〕<NOUN:the one I love>


みゆ【見ゆ】〔自ヤ下二〕(みえ=連用形)<VERB:appear, make one’s presence>

つ【つ】〔助動タ下二型〕完了(つ=終止形)<AUXILIARY VERB(PERFECT TENSE)>

らむ【らむ】〔助動ラ四型〕現在推量(らむ=連体形係り結び)<AUXILIARY VERB(SUPPOSITION):I imagine>

…I’ve seen the man I’m so much in love with in my dream

ゆめ【夢】〔名〕<NOUN:a dream>


しる【知る】〔他ラ四〕(しり=連用形)<VERB:know, realize>

き【き】〔助動特殊型〕過去(せ=未然形)<AUXILIARY VERB(PAST)>


…if I had known it was a dream

さむ【覚む】〔自マ下二〕(さめ=連用形)<VERB:wake up, break away from a dream>

ず【ず】〔助動特殊型〕打消(ざら=連用形)<AUXILIARY VERB(NEGATIVE):not>

まし【まし】〔助動特殊型〕推量(まし=終止形)<AUXILIARY VERB(SUBJUNCTIVE)>


…I would never have woke up from the dream

《omoi tsutsu nure ba ya hito no mie tsuramu yume to shiri seba samezara mashi wo》

■fake or real ― it’s up to you to decide ― Enjoy ALL 小町歌(Komachi-related rhymes)■

***all 28 TANKA purportedly made by 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)***

●18 from 『古今集(Kokin-shuu:A.D.905)』

1)春(Spring) No.113《はなのいろはうつりにけりないたづらに わがみよにふるながめせしまに:hana no iro wa utsuri nikerina itazurani wa ga mi yo ni furu nagame seshi ma ni》花の色は移りにけりな徒らに 我が身世に経る眺めせしまに(Did flowers fade in vain amid vernal rain? Do people care no more who cheered and stared so much? Will feminine phase of mine as soon evaporate off… as I dream away my youth in fruitless hope?)

・・・This is definitely the greatest contributor to the legend of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” of which Sayaka-san went into such great details in the episode above.

2)恋(Love) No.552《おもひつつぬればやひとのみえつらむ ゆめとしりせばさめざらましを:omoi tsutsu nureba ya hito no mietsu ramu yume to shiri seba samezaramashi wo》思ひつつ寝ればや人の見えつらむ 夢と知りせば覚めざらましを(is it because I slept thinking about him that he appeared in my dream?… I wouldn’t have woke up if I had known I was dreaming)

・・・This TANKA seems to suggest either 1)Komachi is in one-sided love with some man, or 2)Komachi’s ideal of a man is so unrealistically high that she can only see him in her dreams.

3)恋(Love) No.553《うたたねにこひしきひとをみてしより ゆめてふものはたのみそめてき:utata-ne ni koishiki hito wo miteshi yori yume to-iu mono wa tanomi some teki》うたた寝に恋しき人を見てしより 夢てふものは頼み初めてき(since I saw the man of my fancy in my idle dream, I came to rely more on a dream than on this sad solitary reality)

・・・Another “dream” poem apparently made by the same author (be it Komachi or not) that wrote the TANKA above.

4)恋(Love) No.554《いとせめてこひしきときはうばたまの よるのころもをかへしてぞきる:ito semete koishiki toki wa ubatama no yoru no koromo wo kaeshite zo kiru》いとせめて恋しき時は鳥羽玉の 夜の衣を返してぞ着る(when I can hardly stand being alone at night, I put on my negligee inside out, hoping my passion for him burning inside will come out to visit me in my dream)

・・・The author of this TANKA is not so much depicting the personal character of 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) as introducing readers to the common legend and practice of the day about “the method of meeting someone you love in a dream”.

5)恋(Love) No.557 (in reply to a man who lamented that his sleeves were wet with tears while he was away and unable to see Komachi)《おろかなるなみだぞそでにたまはなす われはせきあへずたぎつせなれば:orokanaru namida zo sode ni tama wa nasu ware wa seki aezu tagitsu se nareba》疎かなる涙ぞ袖に玉は成す 我は堰き敢へず滾つ瀬なれば(you say your sleeves are wet with tears ― how shallow is your sorrow! ― I say I’m drowned in my tears roaring out from inside to sweep away everything in my life)

・・・Ah, Komachi-san is a married lady in this episode: the author of this particular TANKA seems unfamiliar with or indifferent to Komachi’s legend of a solitary beauty beyond the reach of any ordinary man… or should I say, this poet made this particular TANKA as a proud trophy of his literary knowledge, inspired by that famous episode “身を知る雨(mi wo shiru ame = the rain to measure the depth of love)” from 『伊勢物語(Ise-monogatari)』 (to be introduced to you at the end of our next episode).

6)恋(Love) No.623《みるめなきわがみをうらとしらねばや かれなであまのあしたゆくくる:mirume naki wa ga mi wo ura to shiraneba ya kare nade ama no ashi tayuku kuru》海松布/見る目無き我が身を浦/心と知らねばや 枯/離れなで海人の足弛く来る/明日行く来る(are they ignorant of my legend as a woman beyond the reach of any ordinary men?… so many men keep coming and going only to tire their legs as well as my heart)

・・・Uh… the author of this TANKA (“male” with 100% probability) apparently holds a grudge against a heartless woman (possibly as a result of his bitter personal experience in the past); maybe he (never SHE) is trying to drop an advance hint that a woman too popular in her youth is destined to be sad and lonely later in life… although it just seems to me to be “dropping an absurd shit” upon Komachi’s legend.

7)恋(Love) No.635《あきのなもなのみなりけりあふといへば ことぞともなくあけぬるものを:aki no yo mo na nomi narikeri au to ieba koto zo tomo naku akenuru mono wo》秋/飽きの夜も名のみなりけり逢ふと言へば 事ぞともなく明けぬるものを(they say an Autumnal night is long and very slow to dawn into the next morning; I doubt it, for it’s too short for me to fully enjoy meeting my Autumnal knight in my room ― how can I be fed up with such romantically brief nights?)

・・・Congratulations, Komachi-san, you are at last mutually in love with a man of your dream, not in your dreams but in your room (or, bed)!… A good and happy TANKA, maybe, but not particularly interesting as an episode of Komachi’s legend.

8)恋(Love) No.656《うつつにはさもこそあらめゆめにさへ ひとめをよくとみるがわびしさ:utsutsu ni wa sa mo koso arame yume ni sae hitome wo yoku to miru ga wabishisa》現には然もこそあらめ夢にさへ 人目を避くと見るが侘びしさ(you refuse to see me in reality for fear of unfavorable rumor about our affairs ― that much I can endure ― but why won’t you come and see me in my dreams? I feel sad to think that you have ceased to think of me even in your fancy)

・・・A mixture of “夢見る小町(Komachi the dreamer)” and the following TANKA by 藤原敏行(Fujiwara-no-Toshiyuki):

《すみのえのきしによるなみよるさへや ゆめのかよひぢひとめよくらむ:suminoe no kishi ni yoru nami yoru sae ya yume no kayoiji hitome yoku ramu》住江の岸に寄る波夜さへや 夢の通ひ路人目避くらむ(shoal of Suminoe is approached by waves after waves, while my precious one, inapproachable in the light of day shuns me even in dreams… what makes you so coldly shy?)

9)恋(Love) No.657《かぎりなきおもひのままによるもこむ ゆめぢをさへにひとはとがめじ:kagiri naki omoi no mama ni yoru mo komu yumeji wo sae ni hito wa togameji》限りなき思ひのままに夜も来む 夢路をさへに人は咎めじ(if you/I earnestly think of me/you, we are free to come and love each other whenever we will in our dreams ― no one in this world shall prohibit us from our sleeping rendezvous)

・・・小町&敏行(Komachi & Toshiyuki) collaboration PART-II… not necessarily made by them (probably at the hands of 『古今集:Kokin-shuu』’s editor[s]).

10)恋(Love) No.658《ゆめぢにはあしもやすめずかよへども うつつにひとめみしごとはあらず:yumeji ni wa ashi mo yasumezu kayoedomo utsutsu ni hitome mi shi goto wa arazu》夢路には足も休めず通へども 現に一目見し如はあらず(countless times have I met and loved you in my dreams, but my actual though fleeting meeting with you was much better than the best of such dreamy rendezvous with you)

・・・Um… the author of this TANKA is either ignorant of the gender/legend of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” or too proud of his(never HER) fictional “後朝の文(kinu-ginu no fumi)” to refrain from publishing it in the name of “a woman legendary for her frigid attitude towards so many male admirers”… a sloppy job anyway.

11)恋(Love) No.727《あまのすむさとのしるべにあらなくに うらみむとのみひとのいふらむ:ama no sumu sato no shirube ni aranakuni ura mimu to nomi hito no iu ramu》海人の住む里の標にあらなくに 浦見/恨みむとのみ人の言ふらむ(why are there so many men in this world that bear a grudge against me?)

・・・Simply because you are supposedly too beautiful and attractive to be the sweetie of any given man, Komachi-san.

12)恋(Love) No.782《いまはとてわがみしぐれにふりぬれば ことのはさへにうつろひにけり:ima wa tote wa ga mi shigure ni furinureba kotonoha sae ni utsuroi nikeri》今はとて我が身時雨に降/古りぬれば 言の葉さへに移ろひにけり(Spring, Summer, even Autumn have already gone; here comes scattering rain, signaling the end of lonely Autumn, tinging leaves with yellow and red, depriving this old woman of her once legendary beauty and phenomenal amount of letters craving for her youthful love)

・・・Suddenly, Komachi finds herself old, sad and lonely… see how time flies, young girls… gather ye rosebuds while ye may!

13)恋(Love) No.797《いろみえでうつろふものはよのなかの ひとのこころのはなにぞありける:iro miede utsurou mono wa yo no naka no hito no kokoro no hana ni zo arikeru》色見えで移ろふものは世の中の 人の心の花にぞありける(what changes without changing colors is the mental flower invisible in the heart of a man)

・・・After finding herself not so young or beautiful or popular as she used to be, Komachi-san laments over the mutability of men’s affection… possibly forgetting how apathetic she used to be to their desperate attempts at winning her affection.

14)恋(Love) No.822《あきかぜにあふたのみこそかなしけれ わがみむなしくなりぬとおもへば:aki-kaze ni au tanomi koso kanashikere wa ga mi munashiku narinu to omoeba》秋風に逢ふ頼みこそ悲しけれ 我が身空しくなりぬと思へば(o that some Autumnal wind, not so gentle or energetic as in Spring or Summer, would come to carry me away wherever it wants to take me… this is the sad and probably the last hope of a woman who has seen better days)

・・・Komachi-san in the final stage of her Autumn is desperate for some man to come and pick her up, although vaguely convinced of the arrival of lonely mateless Winter.

15)雑(Miscellany) No.938(文屋康秀が三河の豫になりて、県見にはえ出で立たじやと言ひ遣れりける返事に詠める:Funya-no-Yasuhide ga Mikawa no zou ni narite, “Agata-mi ni wa e ide tataji ya?” to iiyarerikeru kaerigoto ni yomeru = when ふんやのやすひで was appointed みかはのぞう=lower officer in the district of Mikawa, he sent a message to Komachi asking her if she had no intention of coming to see him in such a local district… and Komachi replied as follows)《わびぬればみをうきくさのねをたえて さそふみづあらばいなむとぞおもふ:wabi nureba mi wo uki-kusa no ne wo taete sasou mizu araba inamu to zo omou》侘びぬれば身をうき草の根を絶たえて 誘ふ水あらば往なむとぞ思ふ(I have grown so desperate that I won’t stick to where I used to be; I will go wherever the tide around me invites me to go)

・・・Poor Komachi-san is making distress merchandise of herself… a suitable ending to “或る阿呆女の一生(aru ahou onna no isshou = a life of a foolish woman)”?… at least that’s what most Japanese in later years made of the dramatic development of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi), her beauty, love and life”.

16)雑(Miscellany) No.939《あはれてふことこそうたてよのなかを おもひはなれぬほだしなりけれ:aware to-iu koto koso utate yo no naka wo omoi hanarenu hodashi narikere》哀れてふ事こそうたて世の中を 思ひ離れぬ絆しなりけれ(the passion we call “あはれ(pity, love, affectionate sympathy ― aware… AA,ARE… look there… can you see that? can you feel it? don’t you think it’s… I don’t know how to say it, but you know what I mean?)” ― that’s the stickiest anchor latent in our heart which stops us from deserting this wearisome world for the salvation of our soul by way of Buddhist devotion, I found out)

・・・Some poet who preferred human pathos to religious paths wanted his (or her?) personal truth to be known to the world by drawing their attention with the famous name of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)”… or maybe he (one of those male editors of 『古今集(Kokin-shuu)』, most likely 紀貫之(Ki-no-Tsurayuki)) wanted to compensate for their sinful treatment of Komachi’s lifetime as “或る阿呆女の一生(aru ahou onna no isshou = a life of a foolish woman)”, by trying to make her look somewhat philosophical.

17)俳諧(Humor) No.1030《ひとにあはむつきのなきよはおもひおきて むなはしりびにこころやけをり:hito ni awamu tsuki no naki yo wa omoi okite muna-hashiri-bi ni kokoro yake ori》人に逢はむ月の無き夜は思ひ掟て 胸走り火に心焼け居り(at nights when there’s no moonlight out there bright enough to show him the way to my room, my heart is burning bright inside, blindly running here and there in the dark longing for my lover, impatient to see him in vain, intent on loving him and being loved by him ever more passionately in our next meeting)

・・・This is arguably the most womanlike of all “小町歌(Komachi rhymes)”… funny it’s dismissed as a piece of “俳諧歌(haikaika = humorous song)”.

18)物名(Butsumei) No.1104(with “おきのゐ” and “みやこしま” lurking somewhere in the poem)《<おきのゐ>てみをやくよりもかなしきは <みやこしま>べのわかれなりけり:oki noite mi wo yaku yori mo kanashiki wa miyako shimabe no wakare narikeri》燠の居て身を焼くよりも悲しきは 都島辺の別れなりけり(what consumes my heart more severely than burning pieces of coal is my parting from you going to an island leaving me behind in the capital city of Kyoto)

・・・This TANKA is a frivolous play on words solely intended to contain the sequence of letters “お・き・の・ゐ” and “み・や・こ・し・ま”, perhaps proper names of some unknown places in ancient Japan the whereabouts of which are out of reach of any reference or inference of today’s scholars… possibly created as a sequel to No.938 suggesting 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) ended up being left alone in Kyoto by 文屋康秀(Funya-no-Yasuhide) leaving for 三河(Mikawa).

・・・Now that the moral tale of a woman once so beautiful and attractive in her youth turning so desperate and lonely later in her life is complete, the rest of this list are just superfluous episodes added at the discretion of some whimsical poets using the name of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” as an easy eye-catcher (so asserts 之人冗悟:Jaugo Noto, without any positive proof but his poetical sensibilities).

●4 from 『後撰集(Gosen-shuu:A.D.953-958)』

19)恋(Love) No.780《こころからうきたるふねにのりそめて ひとひもなみにぬれぬひぞなき:kokoro kara ukitaru fune ni nori somete hitohi mo nami ni nurenu hi zo naki》心から浮きたる舟に乗り初めて 一日も波に濡れぬ日ぞなき(since I started embarking upon a ship going up and down upon waves of emotion at the mercy of this whimsical love affair, not a day goes by but I get soaking wet with tears)

・・・A good TANKA, to be sure; perhaps its author was so sure that s/he attributed it to the legendary “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” whose image had by then been firmly established by the preceding 18 poems in 『古今集(Kokin-shuu)』.

20)雑(Miscellany) No.1091《あまのすむうらこぐふねのかぢをなみ よをうみわたるわれぞかなしき:ama no sumu ura kogu fune no kaji wo nami yo wo umi wataru ware zo kanashiki》海人の住む浦漕ぐ舟の舵を無み/波 世を海/倦み渡る我ぞ悲しき(I am just like a fisherman who has to wade across the sea of weariness in a boat without any steerage)

・・・Possibly made as a story pertaining to 『古今集(Kokin-shuu)』No.623 & 727.

21)雑(Miscellany) No.1196(いその神といふ寺に詣でて日の暮れにければ、夜明けて罷り帰らむとて留まりて、この寺に遍昭侍ると人の告げ侍りければ、物言ひ心見むとて言ひ侍りける:Iso-no-kami to iu tera ni moudete hi no kurenikereba yo akete makari-kaeramu tote todomarite kono tera ni Henjou haberu to hito no tsuge haberikereba mono ii kokoro mimu tote ii haberikeru = 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) was visiting a temple called “石上(Iso-no-kami)”; since the sun had already set, she intended to stay there for the night and to leave at dawn, when someone told her that 僧正遍昭(soujou Henjou), the legendary Buddhist priest who used to be well-known as the most gorgeous playboy, was also staying at the same temple; thereupon 小町(Komachi) sent a rhyme to 遍昭(Henjou), trying to see if he was still worthy of the name of a lady’s man)《いそのかみにたびねをすればいとさむし こけのころもをわれにかさなむ:iso no kami ni tabi-ne wo sureba ito samushi koke no koromo wo ware ni kasa namu》岩の上に旅寝をすればいと寒し 苔の衣を我に貸さなむ(on a trip making a pillow of a stone lying on the ground, feeling so cold that I feel like sleeping in sleeves of moss… the color of your sleeves as a Buddhist priest is mossy… show me the true color of your loving heart by showing me some mercy)

・・・Komachi-san is taken out on a trip for no other reason than that the author of this TANKA wanted to make a gorgeously amorous couple of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) the man-eater” & “僧正遍昭(soujou Henjou) the lady-killer”… not unlike the coupling of “エイリアン対プレデター(Alien vs. Predator)” or “キングコング対ゴジラ(King Kong vs. Godzilla)” or “ブルース・リー対宮本武蔵(Bruce Lee vs. Miyamoto Musahi)”… celebrities in Japanese legends ― ancient or contemporary ― have no right to protest against such hocus-pocus fabricated by nobody and thoughtlessly accepted by everybody.

22)羈旅(Travel) No.1361《はなさきてみならぬものはわたつうみの かざしにさせるおきつしらなみ:hana sakite mi naranu mono wa watatsuumi no kazashi ni saseru oki-tsu-shira-nami》花咲きて実ならぬものは渡津海の 頭挿に挿せる沖つ白浪(white waves offshore look just like flowers, floral hairpins beautifully crown the ocean… beautiful as they look, no fruit will they bear… that’s the bare truth of my fruitless beauty legend)

・・・Legends about Komachi seem destined to be accompanied by something pertaining to the sea at the time of 『後撰集(Gosen-shuu)』.

・・・TANKA Poets after the first two Imperial anthologies stopped flirting with the name of Komachi… the name (or WORK) of 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi) ceases to appear in any following anthologies, until the last one pays ample tribute to this legendary “virtual idol of Heianese TANKA”:

●6 from 『新古今集(Shin-Kokin-shuu:A.D.1210-1216)』:

23)秋(Autumn) No.312《ふきむすぶかぜはむかしのあきながら ありしにもにぬそでのつゆかな:fuki musubu kaze wa mukashi no aki nagara arishi ni mo ninu sode no tsuyu kana》吹き結ぶ風は昔の秋ながら ありしにも似ぬ袖の露かな(the Autumnal wind is no different from that which used to wave my youthful sleeves, but my sleeves are now wet with tears cried over my vainly past prime)

・・・Possibly inspired by 『古今集(Kokin-shuu)』No.822.

24)秋(Autumn) No.336《たれをかもまつちのやまのをみなへし あきとちぎれるひとぞあるらし:tare wo ka mo matsu-chi-no-yama no ominaeshi aki to chigireru hito zo aru rashi》誰をかも待つ乳の山の女郎花 秋と契れる人ぞあるらし(although I don’t know whom it was waiting for, flowers of ominaeshi on Matsuchi-yama, lying down on the field, seem to suggest that someone slept with Autumn)

・・・Literally translated, “待乳山(Matsuchi-yama)” and “女郎花(ominaeshi)” mean “a mountain waiting for the milk to be sucked from Mom’s breast” and “a lady flower” respectively… without respect to decency, the author of this TANKA simply seems sexually excited over his idle imagination ignited by such voluptuous terms as “乳(chichi = tits)”, “女(omina = a beautiful woman)” and “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi = the sexiest toy for a man)”.

25)哀傷(Lamentation) No.758《あはれなりわがみのはてやあさみどり つひにはのべのかすみとおもへば:awarenari wa ga mi no hate ya asamidori tsuini wa nobe no kasumi to omoeba》哀れなり我が身の果てや浅緑 遂には野辺の霞と思へば(the color of my clothes will end up in the lowest green, only to fade as smoke into the sky… how piteous!)

・・・How curious!… the author of this TANKA is lamenting over HIS lowly position at the Imperial Court ― the color “浅緑(asa-midori)” is the lowest symbol color of all official grades ― when SHE should be lamenting over HER fading beauty if SHE purports to be an “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” at all.

26)哀傷(Lamentation) No.850《あるはなくなきはかずそふよのなかに あはれいづれのひまでなげかむ:aru wa naku naki wa kazu sou yo no naka ni aware izure no hi made ka nagekamu》在るは亡く亡きは数添ふ世の中に 哀れいづれの日まで歎かむ(in a world where what used to be is no more and what’s gone keeps increasing in number, how many more days should I spend moaning over my pitiful losses?)

・・・A song mourning over a loss is too vaguely general to be attributed to “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” whose lamentation should literarily be focused on the loss of her legendary beauty… a pitiable one increasingly abundant in the world of fakes at the hands of presumptuous poets with insufficient knowledge of and no respect for the legendary Komachi.

27)恋(Love) No.1405《わがみこそあらぬかとのみたどらるれ とふべきひとにわすられしより:wa ga mi koso aranu ka to nomi tadorarure tou beki hito ni wasurareshi yori》我が身こそあらぬかとのみ辿らるれ 訪ふべき人に忘られしより(since the man who ought to be tracing his path to my room seems to have completely forgotten to trace it, I cannot help but trace the path to my long-past youth and beauty, wondering if it really existed at all, whether I still exist in this world or I am already non-existent in the eyes of others)

・・・A witty rhyme with “辿る(tadoru = trace)” as its focus of attention… that’s all.

28)雑(Miscellany) No.1802《こがらしのかぜにもみぢてひとしれず うきことのはのつもるころかな:kogarashi no kaze ni momijite hito shirezu uki kotonoha no tsumoru koro kana》木枯らしの風にもみぢて人知れず 憂き言の葉の積もる頃かな(Wintry wind cold on the tinged leaves on the branch, blowing them down to the ground without making anyone particularly sad… I’m the only one sadly wet on the ground, grumbling over my fate with my beauty and admirers quickly fading away)

・・・Well, not too bad as a “小町歌(Komachi rhyme)” Wintry version… although it was the late-Spring version (『古今集(Kokin-shuu)』No.113) that people cherish so dear, I love it (possibly, her), personally.


・・・TANKA poems purportedly made by 小町が姉(Komachi-ga-ane = elder sister of Komachi)

ex-1)『古今集(Kokin-shuu)』恋(Love) No.790《ときすぎてかれゆくをののあさぢには いまはおもひぞたえずもえける:toki sugite kare yuku ono no asaji ni wa ima wa omoi zo taezu moekeru》時過ぎて枯/離れ行く小野の浅茅には 今は思ひぞ絶えず燃えける(my heart keeps burning as he and I get parted from each other on the field where thatch plants grow)

・・・Why “on the field where thatch plants grow”? ― Because that’s what “小野(ONO)の浅茅” means… that is all.

ex-2)『後撰集(Gosen-shuu)』恋(Love) No.617《わがかどのひとむらすすきかりかはむ きみがてなれのこまもこぬかな:wa ga kado no hito-mura susuki kari kawamu kimi ga te-nare no koma mo konu kana》我が門の一叢薄刈り飼はむ 君が手馴れの駒も来ぬかな(the gate of my house is thick with growing weeds; let’s cut them clean to welcome you to my gate, let’s feed the horse you love to ride with the weed I cut for him)

・・・Mm… a lovely song, a “real woman”‘s song, so it seems to Jaugo-san… how do you think, Sayaka-san?

ex-3)『後撰集(Gosen-shuu)』恋(Love) No.896《ひとりぬるときはまたるるとりのねも まれにあふよはわびしかりけり:hitori nuru toki wa mataruru tori no ne mo mare ni au yo wa sabishikarikeri》独り寝る時は待たるる鳥の音も 稀に逢ふ夜は侘しかりけり(when I keep lying in bed alone, vainly waiting for you to come, and then sleeplessly waiting for the dawn to come, the chirps of birds early in the morning sound like bliss to my restless heart; when occasionally I enjoy lying in bed with you, the same chirps of birds too early to come in the morning sound so bitter to my quenchless body)

・・・A voluptuously sexy song becoming to a woman who calls herself “a sister of a legendary beauty”.

ex-4) 『後撰集(Gosen-shuu)』雑(Miscellany) No.1291《よのなかをいとひてあまのすむかたも うきめのみこそみえわたりけれ:yo no naka wo itoite ama no sumu kata mo uki me nomi koso mie watari kere》世の中を厭ひて海人/尼の住む方も 浮/憂き目のみこそ見え渡りけれ(a world-weary woman secluded from the public hiding herself nowhere is still not immune to bitterness pervading everywhere)

・・・To the author of this TANKA, a nunnery must have seemed to be the logical place for a woman who had been treated so bad as “the sister of a legendary whore”.


・・・a TANKA poem purportedly made by 小町が孫(Komachi-ga-umago = a granddaughter of Komachi)

『後撰集(Gosen-shuu)』雑(Miscellany) No.1268(あだ名立ちて言ひ騒がれける頃、或る男仄かに聞きて、哀れ、如何にぞ、と問ひ侍りければ:ada-na tachite ii-sawagarekeru koro aru otoko honokani kikite aware ikanizo to toi haberikereba = when a man overhears a groundless rumor about her flirting with some other man, he became anxious and asked her if she really did, to which she replied as follows)《うきことをしのぶるあめのしたにして わがぬれぎぬはほせどかわかず:uki koto wo shinoburu ame no shita ni shite wa ga nure-ginu wa hosedo kawakazu》憂きことを忍ぶる雨/天の下にして 我が濡れ衣は干せど乾かず(in a world where nasty drops of rumor keep falling down in torrents, my sleeves are always wet with tears cried over my defamed reputation)

・・・Defamed reputation as “小町が孫(Komachi-ga-umago = a granddaughter of Ono-no-Komachi)” springs from groundless yet strangely plausible imagery instantly ignited at the mention of “小町(Komachi)” ― for which the author of this very poem is also to blame ― so it seems to me… what do you say to it, my dear reader[s]?

Having an English-speaking self within you is just like having a conversation partner like Sayaka-san/Jaugo-san beside you.
We provide you not with actual conversation partners, but we enable you to engage in intellectually enticing conversation with Sayaka-san/Jaugo-san(…no mean feat, isn’t it?)
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