Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

Banner clouds

Trail over the sea, aglow

In the setting sun

May the moon tonight

Shine bright and clear

Prince Nakano Ōe

Man’yōshū, Scroll 1. The anthor later became the Emperor Tenji. This poem has long been enjoyed as a masterpiece of Man’yōshū, nature poetry, but there are still many puzzles surronunding hoe to pronounce its characters. The last line in particular is still subject of controversy. One of the more widly accepted akirakeku koso , so many people habe probably memorized it that way. But here, after consulting all the various theories, I decided to use the reading given above. Watatsumi is the broad expanse of the sea, such that it conveys asense of something divine. As it setts, the sun lights up the banner clouds that trail across that vastness. This spectacular scene invites the eye to imagine the clear, bright moon which will shine tonight.

わたつみのWatatsumi no豊旗雲にtoyohatagumo ni入日さしirihi sasi今夜の月夜koyoi no tsukiyo清明にこそmasayaka ni koso