Vagabond: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「よのなかは いづれかさして わがならむ いきとまるをぞ やどとさだむる」英語訳

Here is an extra post adding one more look into Kokinshu to the “Lyricism of Kokinshu” series. Some unique poems from the anthology are distinctive in their choice of subjects and their techniques, but this one is absolutely different from the other 1110 poems. It’s a modern (or post-modern) perspective on a sense of home and a state of being a modern vagabond that makes this waka exceptional.

よのなかは いづれかさして わがならむ いきとまるをぞ やどとさだむる
yononaka wa idureka sashite waganaran ikitomaruwozo yadoto sadamuru

We all try to find a place like home
In this world, into which we were all thrown,
Wherever I am, wherever I roam,
I will ground myself in a world that I call my own

Is there any place in this world that I can call home? Well, I’ll make a home wherever I get.
この世の中の一体いずこも 自分の居場所と定められようか 行き着いた先どこをも居場所としよう

A modern vagabond. The One who won’t stay at one place but stray. The one who won’t seek a perfect location but establish themselves anywhere they get. Though many people still try to secure a physical environment where they could settle down, seek for a community they would thoroughly conform to, we live in a time where institutionalized certainties no longer guide us, or everything has arguably become questionable and questioned. General mobility and frequent travel mark our time. Think about our career, our position and our role to play in society. People are always on the move. We are, in a sense, all wanderers.


Criticized for bringing about fragmentation of interests and distractions, alienation and disillusionment, and fragmentation of society and individuals, the modernized world is still getting smaller and smaller. The speed with which communication takes place allows our identities to be more multidimensional. Whatever self you believe you are supposed to be, you undergo constant exposure to different ideas and experiences, and your sense of self also undergoes constant revision. Take on an ever-changing world, and you learn to choose your own fate. Having a “home” is now something never to be taken for granted.


This anonymous poem, written more than 1000 years ago, sings out that kind of determination. Why not wrap up the Kokinshu series here and in the next series of posts take a further look at the theme: Home.


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