Tribute to Autumn: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「あききぬと めにはさやかに みえねども かぜのおとにぞ おどろかれぬる」英語訳

On the first day of autumn by the lunar calendar, as the first song in the 4th volume of Kokinshu dedicated to Autumn, Fujiwara no Toshiyuku paid a tribute to the beginning of the season.

あききぬと めにはさやかに みえねども かぜのおとにぞ おどろかれぬる
aki kinuto meniwa sayakani mienedomo kazeno otonizo odorokarenuru

How can you see autumn come?
You can hear it in the wind.

You can’t see explicitly if the autumn has already arrived but you notice it when you hear the sound of the wind.
秋が来たと 目でははっきりとは分からないけど 風の音で 秋だなと気づかされるなあ

Fujiwara no Toshiyuki is well-known as one of the 36 great poets from the Heian era. The sensation he got in the autumn wind is no different from what we feel today. What he did well is incorporating different sensory perceptions – visual and auditory – into this song despite the constraint of 31 words of Waka. Though many of the poems in Kokinshu were wrote about 1000 years ago, they still speak to modern readers like us when we look around and pay attention to how nature works and what nature brings us from season to season.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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