Backfired: Poem Number 74

A typhoon approaching Hong Kong, courtesy of Wikimedia. Photo by No machine-readable author provided. Mcyjerry~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Even the Hyakunin Isshu has its comedic moments:

うかりけるUkarikeru“Make that heartless
人をはつせのHito wo hatsuse nowoman, O mountain storm
山おろしよYama oroshiyoof Hatsuse Temple—
はげしかれとはHageshikareto wacrueller still!”—this is not
祈らぬものをInoranu mono wowhat I prayed for, and yet…
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

The author is Lord Minamoto no Toshiyori (1055-1129) who is the author of Tsunenobu (poem 71) and father of Shun’e (poem 85) and was one of the leading poets of his day, plus he helped compile the Imperial Anthology the Kinyōshū, as well as many poems of his own in various anthologies. He was also a leading poet of his era, along with Mototoshi (poem 75).

As Professor Mostow explains, Fujiwara no Teika (poem 97), who compiled the Hyakunin Isshu, valued this poem very highly because of its depth of feeling and excellent word choices. As the anthology explains, the poem was written out of frustration after having prayed to be able to meet a certain woman, and somehow she became even more resistant.

The name “Hatsuse Temple” is another name for a famous Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan called Hasedera. Hasedera is very well-known in Japan, and apparently was a frequent pilgrimage site for lovers and those with romantic interests. If you ever do happen to be in Japan, especially in the Nara area, I’d highly recommend visiting Hasedera temple.

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