Risqué innuendo: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「ももくさの はなのひもとく あきののに おもひたはれむ ひとなとがめそ」英語訳

Kokinshu is a really unique anthology, for it includes not only stylized elegant poems but also poems with humor and wordplay. Here is a Waka with an unexpectedly risqué pun.

ももくさの はなのひもとく あきののに おもひたはれむ ひとなとがめそ
momokusano hanano himotoku akino noni omoi tawarem hitona togameso

On the autumn leas
The flowers are all disrobing at ease
How breezy and fun it would be
If we could be as carefree

Literally: The flowers are in full bloom(disrobing) on the autumn fields, so please don’t keep us from having fun.
さまざまな花が咲き誇る秋の野原で 思い切り戯れてみたい 人にはとがめられたくないよ

What we see here is cute innuendos on the verge of being raunchy. Himotoku means coming into bloom and untying a sash. Omoitawaru indicates having fun nonchalantly. The question is having fun with who. One interpretation is autumn flowers but… Modern readers would be still surprised, puzzled and fascinated by its diversity.


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