Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Upon this pathway,
I have long heard others say,
man sets forth at last --
yet I had not thought to go
so very soon as today--
--Ariwara Narihira

    For sorrowing sons
who would have their parents live
a thousand long years --
how I wish that in this world
there were no final partings.
--Ariwara Narihira

The pictures accompanying these waka by Ariwara Narihira (the aristocrat romantic of his time (825-880), poet of the Kokinshu and Ise Monogatari, as well as an alleged inspiration for the character of Hikaru Genji) were taken recently in a remote village in the mountains northwest of Lake Biwa called Ariwara Minka Shuraku, where Narihira is said to have lived, and where his grave is located. Not long ago there were many more thatched roofs and many more residents, but the young folks have been moving to the big city for quite a while now...

The woodcut above by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1891) depicts Ariwara Narihira looking for the ghost of Ono-no-Komachi on an autumn night.


Trace said...

Gorgeous Pictures! I'm still reading. Don't always have time to keep up with my comments. Work has been crazy of late. Thank you so for the great pictures.

Robert Brady said...

Thanks for reading, trace.