Photo by Sunyu Kim on Pexels.com

From the 14th century Japanese text, “Essays in Idleness” (tsurezuregusa 徒然草) composed by Buddhist monk Kenkō:

The moment during the ceremony of abdication of the throne when the Sword, Jewels, and Mirror [the Imperial regalia, which still exist, btw] are offered to the new emperor is heartbreaking in the extreme. When the newly retired emperor abdicated in the spring [of 1318] he wrote this poem, I understand:

Translation by Professor Donald Keene
Original JapaneseRomanizationTranslation by Donald Keene
殿守のtonomori noEven menials
とものみやつこtomo no miyakkoOf the palace staff treat me
よそにしてyoso ni shiteAs a stranger now;
はらはぬ庭にharawanu niwa niIn my unswept garden lie
花ぞ散りしくhana zo chirishikuThe scattered cherry blossoms.

Then Kenkō writes in the same passage:

What a lonely feeling the poem seems to convey — people are too distracted by all the festivities of the new reign for anyone to wait on the retired emperor. This is precisely the kind of occasion when a man’s true feelings are apt to be revealed.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: