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... Read More

Crickets: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「あきのよの あくるもしらず なくむしは わがごとものや かなしかるらむ」英語訳

Here is another Waka from Kokinshu portraying a melancholic autumn. What in natural settings do you think would be the best to express melancholy, especially in this... Read More

The Moon: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「このまより もりくるつきの かげみれば こころづくしの あきはきにけり」英語訳

The moon is one of the most typical subjects to describe deepening autumn. Seeing the moon in the autumn sky arouses pain and sadness. The technique is not as explicit as in the following... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

Acrostic Poems: Lyricism of Kokinshu

『古今集(古今和歌集)』和歌「からころも きつつなれにし つましあれば はるばるきぬる たびをしぞおもふ」英語訳

One of the features of the Kokinshu anthology is its well-crafted style, whose overuse was criticized later in history. Here is one of the techniques: Acrostic poems. You can read particular... Read More

Poetic Spirit: Lyricism of Kokinshu


Kokin wakashu, or Kokinshu , “The Anthology: Now and Then”, is the first imperial anthology of Japanese poems, Waka, in the 10th century. Its preface is well known because it is the... Read More

One of My Pet Peeves is…: Sei Shonagon and Her Language


We all know too well that making a mistake makes us feel awkward and annoyed. For a change, why not think about failure from a different point of view?  Sei Shonagon, one of the most renowned... Read More