Fujiwara no Mototoshi

Fujiwara no Mototoshi
Fujiwara no Mototoshi from the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.

Fujiwara no Mototoshi

Fujiwara no Mototoshi (藤原 基俊) also went by the name of Kakushi. He was the son of the Minister Fujiwara no Toshiie1 and great grandson of Fujiwara no Michinaga3 He lived from 1060 to 1142.

During his life he held the position of Lieutenant of the Imperial Guard of the Palace Gates and in 1138 decided to enter into religion when he then took the name of Kakushi.1

He acted as teacher to Fujiwara no Shunzei and helped in the compilation of the Shinsen rōeishu around 1110 which is a collection of Japanaese verse in the form of song.3 Apparently his conservative style of poetry, caused him to have a rivallry with Minamoto no Toshiyori who was more experimental.4

As a poet he also acted as judge in many poetic competitions. In total, we can find 105 poems by him in Imperial Anthologies1, such as the Kin’yō wakashū4 as well in a private collection of his poetry. He was listed as one of the 36 Poetic Geniuses of the Late Classical Period, and one of his poems (No.75) can be found in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu and goes as follows:1

Japanese text2
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
契りをきし
させもが露を
命にて
あはれことしの
秋もいぬめり
Chigiri-okishi
sasemo ga tsuyu o
inochi nite
aware kotoshi no
aki mo inumeri
I believed in you with all my heart
But again this autumn passed,
Filled with sadness. Your promises -
But vanishing dewdrops
Of the mugwort blessing!

Footnotes

1. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.
2. Suzuki, H. et al. (1997) ”Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu”. Tokyo: Bun’eidō.
3. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
4. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.

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