Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


Fujiwara no Akisue’s Waka Poems and Imayo

ONO, Junko

(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies, Department of Japanese Literature)

Key words:

Fujiwara no Akisue, Imayo, Ryojinhisho, waka poems, Shirakawa-in

Fujiwara no Akisue (1055–1123) is well known as an ancestor of Rokujo-touke and a founder of Hitomaro-eigu. It is easy to understand that he was a leader of the poetry circles during this period, as he attended many poetry parties such as “Horikawa-hyakushu” and acted as a judge of many poetry contests since the Eikyu period.

Aside from playing an important role as a poet, he was also a close vassal of the ex-Emperor Shirakawa-in, because Shinshi, his mother, was the ex-Emperor’s nurse.

Imayo was one of the entertainments held around Shirakawa-in during this period. It is not documented whether or not Akisuke himself sung Imayo, but it is supposed that he participated in the world of yujo (prostitutes) and Imayo, at least as a patron, due to the fact that his name was found written in “Ryojinhisho-kudenshu”.

Dr. Muneo Inoue points out that Akisue was good at other entertainments in addition to Waka, and was interested in teaching them to his children. He must have had above-average knowledge of Imayo, which was fashionable around Shirakawa-in, in order to have taught it to his children.

With these preconditions in mind, I would like to study how Akisue was influenced by Imayo to make waka poems by focusing on the relationship between his waka poems and Imayo, which has not previously been explored in great detail.