Let go: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「あきかぜに あへずちりぬる もみぢばの ゆくへさだめぬ われぞかなしき」英語訳

Lyricism of Kokinshu is characterized by expressing emotions while singing about nature. Falling leaves arouses a certain kind of sadness. Is it the waning and withering of life? Or is it uncertainty and transience of life?

あきかぜに あへずちりぬる もみぢばの ゆくへさだめぬ われぞかなしき
akikazeni aezu chirinuru momijiba no yukue sadamenu warezo kanashiki

The trees let their leaves go
As the autumn winds blow
All adrift helplessly and hopelessly
That’s what I meant to be

Leaves fall in the autumn winds without resistance. They have no exact direction. I have no idea where I will go, which makes me sad.
秋の風に耐え切れず散ってゆく紅葉の葉は 行方は決まっていない 自分の運命も同じようにどこへ向かいどうなっていくのかわからない それが悲しい

Transitory and frail nature of life is one of the keys to understand sensitivity expressed in Japanese ancient writings. Autumn brings melancholy. Falling leaves signifies frailty. This is the axiom. The ever-changing exterior of nature such as the leaves withering and falling is often internalized by poets anticipating gloom uncertainty and frailty. “Aezu” here means “without resistance”, or “let go”. It’s no easy to let go of what you have in the face of a challenge, but it’s a state of calmness that you can achieve once you are aware that nothing stays the same and all you need to is just follow the course of nature.

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