Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


Minamoto no Toshiyori’s Waka Poems and Tan-Rengas
and their Influence on Subsequent Waka Poetry

ONO, Junko

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

Key words:

Minamoto no Toshiyori, waka poems, renga, honkadori, Toshiyori-zuino, Sanbokuki-kashu

It has been discussed how tan-renga had developed as a form of expression distinct from waka poetry using common rhetorical techniques such as kake-kotoba and engo, as exemplified by the tan-rengas of Minamoto no Toshiyori. In my own examination of waka and tan-renga, I have noticed that there are some characteristic aspects different from those pointed out in previous research.

The tan-rengas that Toshiyori contributed to were not made by using words from a specific waka poem, but by the formal structure popular among many waka poems. Creating tan-rengas by using this form often found in waka poems means that there is less of a range in which the poet can create, as the poet can only use half the number of characters available in waka poems. On the other hand, the smaller number of characters means that the poet could create his piece more quickly. It can be said that he could utilize the improvisation which is characteristic of renga in composing the tan-rengas, and this method came to be used not only in tan-renga, but in waka poems.

The methodology of honkadori, a type of allusion to previous works, had not been established at the time of Minamoto no Toshiyori. In what way could Toshiyori’s above-mentioned compositional technique be considered honkadori by his contemporaries and later poets?