Few attempts have been made to establish the criteria for evaluating kyōka poetry. This paper deduces the method of rating kyōka around the Tenmei Period from Ōta-Nampo’s new-found comments at a poetry contest which I introduced at this association’s conference about ten years ago. With the limited material at hand here I have to focus on the particular case of Nampo, but it is worth noting that, compared with Karagoromo-Kijju or Moto-no-Mokuami, he put more emphasis on expression than idea in rating poems. His criteria have much to do with his and his colleagues’ style of gesaku works once called “expression-oriented” by Yukihiko Nakamura. In the poetical scene of the late eighteenth century, expressive neo-classicism was being replaced with realism. In the broader historical context, then, his criteria can be regarded as a variant of the old standard. Such adherence to the old principle invited the confusion of evaluation standards, which might have to some degree accounted for the situation that kyōka poetry after the Tenmei Period was regarded to be deteriorated in quality.
In mid-Edo Period the poets of the Dōjō school composed waka poems on the shoji paper doors at the “kirokujo” judicial office under the auspices of Emperor Sakuramachi. The aim of this paper is to trace the historical background of this work and explicate its exquisite treatment of the landscapes and histories of the famous places. It was a by-product of the two preceding works on the byōbu folding screens. One was produced at the “daijōe” imperial enthronement ceremony which was revived after the last one for Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado held about two hundred and seventy years. The other was the poems of the four seasons in the famous places of the Kantō district composed by the major poets of the imperial waka circle at the request of Tokugawa-Yoshimune. The shoji poetry was modeled after them, but it was an innovation. Until the Hōei Period the rooms in the imperial court had been furnished in Chinese style by the government. With waka poems and “yamoto-e” paintings the emperor boldly renovated them into the space of Japanese art. Later in the Kansei Period it inspired Emperor Kōkaku to make an unprecedented attempt to neo-classically ornament the Seiryō-den Palace with shoji poems. The collaboration of architecture, literature, and art had changed the palace into a site symbolic of the ideal of the country.
In July 10, 1751 or the fourth year of the Kan’en Period Kawai-Kageyuzaemon, the chief retainer of the Sakai family in the Himeji Domain, committed suicide after killing Inuzuka-Yūnai and Honda-Minbuzaemon at his home. This incident was recorded in Kiyō-ingo. There were originally three variants of the regional document which were further supplemented and revised into other editions. Chūshin-Kawai-jikki is another record of the incident made independently of Kiyō-ingo. This document must have been written by a local writer because of its rich references to the domain’s places, persons, and traditions. It represented Kawai as a person who cared for the local people so much that he came into collision with Inuzuka and Honda and couldn’t help solving it in such a tragic way. Both Kiyō-ingo and Chūshin-Kawai-jikki provide a glimpse into the way regional events were recorded and revised in early modern times.
Shinsho-taikōki, Taikō-shingenki, and Chōshū-shinsho-taikōki have been often confused with each other because they are regarded as the different titles of the same book. This paper distinguishes these three “jitsuroku” versions of Taikōki from each other by examining their interrelation. There are obviously textual differences between Shinsho-taikōki and Chōshū-shinsho-taikōki. Indeed, the former appeared earlier as it was already mentioned in a document written before the latter. The prefaces in several editions of Taikō-shingenki indicate that it was written after Shinsho-taikōki. There are many editions of Shinsho-taikōki and Taikō-shingenki, but they can be classified into two groups respectively. This classification can be also applied to their reworked versions Chōshū-shinsho-taikōki and Ehon-taikōki. It points to a possibility that there were originally two variants of Shinsho-taikōki and Taikō-shingenki.
This paper examines the semantic shift of the poetical word “kamikaze” in the work of Nakajima-Hirotari. Nakajima, a kokugaku scholar in the late Edo Period, was also known for his idea of coastal defense under the protection of “kamikaze” (he pronounced it “kamukaze”). In his bibliographic survey of the storms which miraculously saved Japan from the Mongol invasions, he found the description of them in the funeral song of Prince Takechi. It inspired him so much that he composed a waka poem “Mōko-shūrai-emaki-wo-mite-tsukureru-uta” to glorify the divine power of “kamikaze.” Later he sang about it again in his “emishiraga” song. Then Nakajima and Nagasawa-Tomoo argued for coastal defense to meet the increasing incursions of foreign ships. To emphasize their patriotism they made several poems with “kamikaze” as a national symbol. Through the analysis of the use of the word, here I will demonstrate how Nakajima had come to make an ideological use of poetry in his later career.