Koetsu-fu, Shikishi Gasane

Yoso ni Nomi
Mitete ya Yaminan
Kazuragi ya
Takama no Yama no
Minne no Shirakumo

This is one of the Japanese poem from Wakan Ro-ei Shu that was published in Heian era. This song means that:
Will this love vanish like clouds on the mountain in Kazuragi?

In this article, the detail of this song will be clarified.


First, the historical background should be mentioned.

In Heian era, women did not show their face to others, and only men who went steady with allowed to see women’s face.
In other words, gathering male gaze was no exaggeration to say that they were to get married in the era.

This song is about the moment when a man who falls in love with a woman. However, the man almost gives up his love. The reason why is in the gap of their status.

Takama no Yama(高間の山) that appears in this song is one of the highest mountains in the Kazuragi(葛城) mountain ranges. This mountain in the poem implies that the woman is of a high social position as compared with the man. In short, this poem is about ‘love between people of unequal social rank’.

Morganatic marriage is ever lasting topic in the literary world. We can see many stories about love between different classes.

For example, Lady Chatterley’s Lover  is  one of the most famous stories about morganatic affair. Titanic, and Beauty and the Beast are also about a man of low social standing and woman who is of a high social position. (Beast in Beauty and the Beast has high rank though.)

This song is about unrequited love, and that kind of love story is one of the most important theme, and the gap of status is never ending argument in the literary world.
Then, the poem on the left side should be also mentioned.

Ame wo Fukumeru Reisho wa
Ten Sara ni Hare
Aki wo Yaku
Rinyou wa
Hi Kaette Samushi

This song says that: The sound of wind blowing through pine trees sounds like rain, however, the weather is bright and clear. The leaves turns red and they are just like fire, and the contrast between the redness of leaves and the coolness of autumn is becoming more remarkable.

和漢朗詠集 Wakan Ro-ei Shu

This is one of the most famous collections of poems in Japan, that was collected by 藤原公任 Fujiwara no Kintou in 1013.
Wakan Ro-ei Shu consists of vol.1 and vol.2, and it has 588 poems.

In vol.1, poems that are related to seasons are recorded, and other poems are in vol.2.
Once Wakan Ro-ei Shu was published, it became very popular as an example among poets.
In addition, this collection was used as a sample of calligraphy as well and Novels and essays in the Middle Ages were also influenced by Wakan Ro-ei Shu.

As above, it can be say that Wakan Ro-ei Shu is one of the most impactful books in Japan.