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Summer 2007, vol 5 no 2

Nomori no kagami and the Perils of Poetic Heresy
By R. Keller Kimbrough


Poetic composition was extremely serious business in Kamakura-period Japan (1185-1333). The era boasts the Shinkokin wakashû 新古今和歌集, possibly the greatest of all Japanese poetic anthologies, as well as many sophisticated and highly theoretical works of poetry criticism, most of which have yet to be translated or adequately researched in or outside of Japan. The following article, written for an academic conference at Purdue University in October 2002 and previously published in the 2003 conference proceedings,1 concerns one such late thirteenth-century poetic treatise: Nomori no kagami 野守鏡, an angry polemic directed at the new poetic style of Kyôgoku Tamekane 京極為兼 (1254-1332), a great-grandson of the eminent Fujiwara no Teika 藤原定家 (1162-1241) and a poet who would achieve fame in his own and later generations for the stylistic innovations of his verse. As one of many contentious Kamakura-period commentaries, Nomori no kagami offers us insights today into the rich, unsettled, and sometimes menacing world of early-medieval poetics.

Nomori no kagami and the Perils of Poetic Heresy

In the ninth month of the third year of Einin 永仁 (1295), an anonymous critic composed a Buddhist poetic commentary by the name of Nomori no kagami , “Mirror of the Watchman of the Fields.”2 The work is both a vitriolic attack upon the new poetic style of Kyôgoku Tamekane, who had recently been chosen to edit the imperial anthology Gyokuyô wakashû 玉葉和歌集, and an angry denunciation of the fledgling Pure Land and Zen sects of Kamakura Buddhism. In the twentieth century, scholars have been largely concerned with establishing the identity of the author and the circumstances of the work’s composition. Fukuda Hideichi has argued that it was written by a Tendai priest affiliated with both the Enryakuji Eastern Tower at Sakuramoto (Mount Hiei), and the Gyôzan 魚山 school of shômyô 声明 sutra chanting.3 Ogawa Toyo’o has more recently suggested that the author was a priest by the name of Kujin 公尋, a disciple of Kôkaku 光覚 in the Gyôzan shômyô lineage.4 Other than such biographical or essentially religious inquiries, Nomori no kagami has received little attention in the modern period. Nevertheless, from the perspectives of Buddhist literary studies and early-medieval poetics, it is an important work because of its unique and radical extensions of prevailing theories of Buddhism and waka 和歌 (Japanese poetry).

By the late thirteenth century, waka had come to be widely associated in Japan with various aspects of Buddhist thought and practice. In his poetic commentary Korai fûteishô 古来風躰抄 (1197), for example, Fujiwara no Toshinari (Shunzei) asserts the concord of waka and the Three Truths of Tendai Buddhism.5 The Ise monogatari commentary Waka chikenshû 和歌知顕集, which Kikuchi Hitoshi dates to the mid-Kamakura period (13th century), reports that Japanese poetry “is the source of magical powers, drawing us to enlightenment,” and explains that the thirty-one syllables of a waka correspond to the thirty-one visible characteristics of a Buddha.6 In Shasekishû 沙石集 (ca. 1280), the priest Mujû Ichien identifies waka as the dharani (magical Buddhist spells) of Japan, while an exemplum in Jikkinshô 十訓抄 (1252) suggests that the chanting of waka may be substituted for that of the nenbutsu, the ritual invocation of Amida Buddha’s name.7 According to the poetic commentary Sangoki 三五記 (13th/early 14th century), the poet-priest Saigyô (1118-1190) maintained that the practice of poetry is a form of Buddhist meditation, and in Kokon chomonjû 古今著聞集 (1254), Tachibana no Narisue describes the painting in 1124 of a waka mandala—an esoteric tableau mingling the written names of the so-called “Thirty Six Poetic Geniuses” among representations of the Seven Buddhas of the Past—and Narisue’s own veneration of it in the ninth month of 1249.8

Such waka-Buddhism associations were common in the thirteenth century, and insofar as they were advanced as a means of both defending waka against its critics and enhancing its prestige, they tended to be affirming of all waka, without regard to specific compositional styles. In 1295, however, the outspoken Nomori no kagami author altered the formerly generalist, positivist paradigm by acridly equating Kyôgoku Tamekane’s innovative poetic style with the recent “heresies” of the new sects of popular Buddhism. Invoking the ubiquitous rhetoric of the miraculous powers of poetry to condemn rather than affirm—bringing to bear the reverse edge of a double-edged sword, one might say—he argued that as bad waka, Tamekane’s verse constituted a dangerous affront to both the deities of Japan and the Buddhist Law. Fourteen years after the second Mongol invasion of Japan, he predicted that the country would be left vulnerable to foreign attack should Tamekane’s style become widespread. Combining native and imported philosophical thought with a Nichiren-type apocalyptic vision, and inspired by the continuing Mongol threat,9 he broke new ground in early-medieval critical discourse by extending the principles of contemporary waka theory to their logical (and now seemingly obvious) ends.

Kyôgoku Tamekane and the New Kamakura Buddhism

In its narrative structure, Nomori no kagami is far from unique. According to its introductory conceit (reminiscent of such works as Ôkagami 大鏡, Imakagami 今鏡, Mumyôzôshi 無名草子 and Masukagami 増鏡), an unidentified narrator—a Buddhist novice, over sixty years old—travels to Enkyôji Temple on Mount Shosha to pray for guidance in the Way of Poetry. On the temple grounds, he encounters a priest—a poet of over fifty—and the two fall into a discussion of waka. The narrator asks the priest’s opinion of Tamekane’s new poetic style, and the priest replies that although Tamekane is born of an illustrious family, his waka violates six poetic principles. The narrator immediately equates these with the six arms of Kannon (suggesting Tamekane’s desecration of the bodhisattva), and urges the priest to further explain. What follows is the priest’s detailed account, the conservative critique that is Nomori no kagami proper. It is divided into two parts, the first of which details Tamekane’s six offenses, and the second of which is a discursive polemic on the topics of Buddhism, shômyô, and the deplorable state of poetry in Japan.

As the priest would have us believe, Tamekane’s overarching offense is his failure to adhere to the poetic mores of his forebears. Traditional poems, he explains, when compared to those by Tamekane, are “like a man to a monkey.”10 Tamekane’s crime, for which he draws the priest’s reactionary ire, is his violation of poetic orthodoxy. Paraphrased, his six poetic transgressions are (1) his failure to take the appropriate heart (kokoro ) as seed; (2) his tendency to compose on exactly what he feels, to the exclusion of aesthetic considerations; (3) his use of vulgar, non-poetic language; (4) his disinclination to seek new conception (fuzei 風情) within established, traditional boundaries; (5) his failure to internalize appropriate poetic form (sugata 姿); and (6) his preference for the eighth-century Man’yôshû 万葉集 style rather than that of the early tenth-century Kokinshû 古今集.11 As Inoue Muneo has observed, although the Nomori no kagami author himself does not appear to have been of a poetic house, his complaints, attributed to the priest at Enkyôji Temple, resonate with those of the Nijô poetic faction.12

Regarding the first of Tamekane’s offenses—“taking the heart as seed and not taking the heart as seed”—the priest explains:

There are two aspects of the heart—good and bad—which is why in Buddhism it is said that though one takes the heart as guide, one should not take the heart as guide.13 In the same way, a poem should take the good heart as its seed, and not the bad. The good heart is elegant and refined—far from vulgar—and everyone who hears it should be moved. As the Kokinshû preface explains, “emotion springs from the heart, and poetry is expressed in words.”14 The bad heart is understood by the individual alone, and though that person might think it graceful, it will not appeal to anyone else. The Kokinshû preface warns that “[most poets] take anything to be a poem, apparently because they fail to understand the true nature of poetry.”15 As for Lord Tamekane, when it comes to taking the heart as seed, he says that one should always just compose directly on the things one feels. His language is unadorned, like ordinary speech. Hearing his new-style verse, the Tamatsushima Deity must have to wash out her ears in the waves of Waka-no-ura. (NKT 4:86)

The priest’s reference to the anguish of the Tamatsushima Deity, a god of poetry identified with the legendary Sotôrihime, is typical of the acerbic wit displayed throughout the work. Wit aside, however, the priest’s criticism is not wholly unfair. In the commentary Tamekane-kyô wakashô 為兼卿和歌 #25220; (completed ca. 1287), Tamekane repeatedly stresses the importance of following the heart, even at the expense of proper diction. Words are less important than feeling, he maintains, “for when one evokes the heart in words, those words take on the scent of the heart.”16

In the course of his condemnation of Tamekane’s style, the priest is reminded of Ippen Shônin 一遍上人, the thirteenth-century founder of the Ji sect of Pure Land Buddhism. Fukuda Hideichi, Kobayashi Chishô and others have identified the Nomori no kagami priest’s doctrinal orientation as Tendai-mikkyô.17 From the priest’s perspective, Ippen, like Tamekane, is guilty of heterodox views:

Speaking of Tamekane’s mistakes, the priest Ippen misunderstands the principle of the nenbutsu. Because he thinks the phrase “skip and dance with great rejoicing” (yuyaku kangi 踊躍歓喜) means one ought to dance, he prances about as a kind of nenbutsu practice, waving his head and lifting his feet.18 Moreover, he thinks the expression, “the True Heart is the Pure Land” (jikishin soku jôdo 直心即浄土), means that one should avoid lying or holding anything back. Thus, he does not cover himself when he is naked, and just like a crazy person, he speaks his mind against those he dislikes without the least restraint. People esteem this as the epitome of righteousness, and rich and poor alike, they flock to him. Their number is greater than that of a thriving market. (NKT 4:68)

Ippen’s most grievous offense (like Tamekane’s) would seem to be his popularity. In espousing his own misguided practice, he is guilty of leading others astray, thereby contributing to the degradation of Buddhism in Japan.

The priest continues by enumerating Ippen’s three principal heresies. The first is the “dancing nenbutsu,” which, according to Ippen hijiri e 一遍聖絵 (an illustrated biography composed in 1299), Ippen took up as a lifelong practice in Shinano Province in 1279.19 The priest asserts that despite the sutras’ and commentaries’ inclusion of the locution, “skip and dance with great rejoicing,” there is no precedent for nenbutsu dancing among the founders of the various schools. Ippen’s second heresy is his habit of speaking freely about others and failing to conceal his nakedness. His third is his renunciation of proper priestly robes for the sake of a filthy horse blanket.

Later, the priest equates Ippen’s transgressions with Tamekane’s literary offenses. In both cases, their problems stem from instances of textual misinterpretation:

There is not the slightest difference between [Tamekane’s violation of] these poetic principles and [Ippen’s] present heresies. First, to take the words “taking the heart as seed” and then compose madly on an incorrect heart, is the same as following one’s reading of “yuyaku” and deciding to dance. Next, to recall the forthrightness of the “straight poetic style” (tadakotouta 正言歌)20 and then compose in a plain, unadorned style, is the same as misunderstanding the meaning of righteousness and then speaking ill of others and not concealing one’s private parts. Finally, to not emulate the elegant hearts and words (kokoro and kotoba) of poems in the old style, but to compose in a nearly vulgar form, is the same as giving up one’s priestly robes for a horse blanket. (NKT 4:69)

Whereas Tamekane fails to understand the meanings and significances of the Kokinshû and its prefaces—holy writ of the Way of Poetry, the Nomori no kagami priest would have us believe—Ippen misconstrues the sutras. Furthermore, like Tamekane, who has a tendency to express in verse all that is in his heart, Ippen speaks his mind freely and lays himself physically bare.

Tengu zôshi 天狗草紙, a satiric picture scroll dating from 1296 (one year after Nomori no kagami), contains criticisms of Ippen and his followers that are remarkably similar in wording and content to those in Nomori no kagami.21 The two works are connected in some way, but exactly how is unclear.22 In addition to its prose passages, Tengu zôshi contains painted representations of Ippen and his devotees in a variety of compromising situations, and one can imagine from these how the author of Nomori no kagami must have looked upon Ippen and his sect (and by extension, upon Tamekane’s new poetic style). First, there is a gluttonous, disorderly feast at which a priest is shown eating from his hand while a nun—apparently sick from having consumed too much—is led away from a rice tub by a companion.23 Next, a group of Ippen’s followers are depicted performing the dancing nenbutsu as a tengu—a kind of large demon-bird-man—showers them with flower petals. The Tengu zôshi narrator explains:

When they practice the nenbutsu, they wave their heads, shake their shoulders and dance, just like wild horses. The way they carry on, they’re no different from mountain monkeys. Neither the men nor the women hide their genitals. Eating with their bare hands, reveling in their impropriety, they act like beasts from the animal realm.24

Finally, there is an image of Ippen urinating into a bamboo tube. A kneeling nun holds the container under his robes, collecting his water for use as medicine. “What a lot of pee!” one onlooker exclaims in an inscribed caption. “It’s a cure for all that ails you,” another remarks. A blind nun declares her intention to wash her eyes out in it, and a lay woman says she wants to drink some to cure a stomach ailment, of all things.25 Perhaps it was this sort of vulgarity that the Nomori no kagami author associated with Tamekane’s abandonment of the Kokinshû style.

In a later section of the commentary, the Nomori no kagami priest compares Tamekane’s lax poetic approach to the loose practices of some contemporary Zen and Pure Land adherents. Their common problem (besides their popularity) is an aversion to the rigors of tradition:

As for those half-baked Zen priests these days, upon hearing the slightest sutra verse, they think they have immediately plumbed the depths of the Dharma. And those deluded nenbutsu practitioners—they just point to the passage about chanting the name, and then think they can easily attain rebirth in the Pure Land. Shakyamuni and Amida both abandoned their countries and left their homes to take up painful ascetic practices, but the devotees of the Zen and nenbutsu schools say they can easily attain enlightenment with little effort, and everyone rushes to join them, since they choose not to strain themselves with learning. Those who study the exoteric and esoteric doctrines have grown few as a result. It reminds me of the poetry these days, composed with ease by just following the heart, and without the poet considering the poems of old, avoiding poetic ills, adorning language, or guarding against taboos. If these new-style poems were to be chosen for an anthology, doubtless everyone would come to emulate them in the end. (NKT 4:87)

In the way that the Zen and Pure Land sects have robbed the older institutions of their adherents, perverting the practice of Buddhism, Tamekane’s innovations threaten to derange the rules of waka composition, leading all poets astray. In fact, the identification of Tamekane’s new poetic style with the rise of the Zen sect in Japan is particularly ominous insofar as both Nomori no kagami and Tengu zôshi attribute the Mongol conquest of Song China in 1127 to the advent of Zen.26

The priest’s final warning about a poetic anthology is most telling. As Fukuda Hideichi has shown, it was common knowledge in 1295 (the year of Nomori no kagami’s composition) that Emperor Fushimi 伏見天皇 had appointed Tamekane principal compiler of a new imperial anthology, later to be titled Gyokuyô wakashû (completed in 1313). Although Tamekane was only one of four compilers, Fushimi is said to have rigged the selection committee so as to give him an incontestable voice. Tamekane’s rival, Nijô Tameyo 二条為世 (1250-1338), who was another designated compiler, resigned from the committee in protest.27 Although the priest in Nomori no kagami speaks abstractly about a possible selection of poems, his complaint—as that of a likely Nijô sympathizer—is concrete and clear. If Tamekane’s influence should go unchecked, he forebodes, everyone will take up the new style, and the consequences will be severe.

The Perils of Poetic Heresy

In light of the conventional wisdom of early-medieval Japan, the Nomori no kagami author indeed had reason to fear. Identifying the Way of Poetry with political governance, Tamekane’s grandfather, Fujiwara no Tameie 藤原為家 (1196-1275), warns in his commentary Kokin joshô 古今序抄 (1264) against the reckless composition of waka.28 Similarly, Gyokuden jinpi 玉伝深秘, a medieval compendium of secret waka lore from the poetic lineage of Fujiwara no Tameaki 藤原為顕 (fl. ca. 1263-1278; an illegitimate son of Tameie), explains that “the affairs of state (sedô no matsurigoto) depend upon the quality of waka produced.”29 The late Kamakura-period treatise Jinpi kushô 深秘九章 (also associated with Tameaki) proposes that the nation suffered the calamity of the Mongol invasions because the imperial anthologies were carelessly compiled.30

Like many poets and scholars of the medieval period, the Nomori no kagami priest professes a faith in the supernatural powers of poetry. He claims that in the not-so-distant past, even Tamekane’s great-great-grandfather Shunzei 俊成 (1114-1204) was capable of moving deities with verse. He explains that it was by means of waka—two poems recited for the Kasuga Deity—that Shunzei secured the prosperity of his family line, including the thankless Tamekane. The Nomori no kagami priest laments:

Even if Hitomaro or Akahito should appear before Tamekane and instruct him to compose poems as he does, he should remember his Fujiwara heritage and resist, being who he is. That he chooses to compose in such a deviant style is both disloyal to his lineage and disrespectful of the Way. (NKT 4:71)

Tamekane’s disloyalty invites condemnation, but his disrespect for the Way of Poetry is positively dangerous.

Tale literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries abounds in stories of the ritual use of poetry as magic. Poets are reported to have employed waka toward a variety of ends, whether to summon rain, cure illness, find love, right wrongs, or achieve social success. Mujû Ichien, author of the Buddhist tale anthology Shasekishû (ca. 1280), asserts that Japanese poems “provoke responses in Buddhas and bodhisattvas and move gods and humans alike” because, as dharani, they “encompass the natural truths of lay and monastic life in thirty-one syllables.”31 The powers of a poem, Mujû contends, derive from a combination of content (truth) and form. Although the Nomori no kagami priest acknowledges the importance of truth, he is particularly concerned with the issue of language and its appropriate selection:

Dharani are words selected from the heart of the teachings of the various Buddhas; they are the ultimate distillation of the true principle of immediate salvation of sentient beings. This is why although their lines are few, their effects are great. The words of poetry are also many, but the poet chooses from among them in order to compose a verse in thirty-one characters. The same as a dharani, the verse expresses the truth of the poet’s intent. (NKT 4:87)

Just as the words of a dharani are selected from the sutras, the priest maintains, the words of a waka are drawn from the larger poetic lexicon. Tamekane, however, fails to discriminate among words. The third of his six poetic transgressions is his use of vulgar, non-poetic language. The Nomori no kagami priest explains:

Lord Tamekane chooses neither his words nor his heart. He proposes that we should simply compose in whatever way we feel. Not only will this be the end of the Way of Poetry, it will destroy Buddhist Truth as well. (NKT 4:87)

Logically speaking, if the Ways of Poetry and Buddhism are the same (as numerous early-medieval commentaries maintain), then the destruction of one would indeed signify the destruction of the other.

The dangers of Tamekane’s new poetic style in fact extend beyond the death of waka and the dissolution of Buddhist Truth. In what Ogawa Toyo’o has described as a “radical ideology of the powers of poetry,”32 the Nomori no kagami priest invokes Chinese philosophical thought to argue that the security of the very state depends upon the proper maintenance of waka tradition:

It is because waka establishes rectitude in music and etiquette that our country is stable and not wracked by outside enemies. That Buddhism is widespread here, excelling countries greater than our own, is also due entirely to the virtues of waka. The Song Dynasty is without waka, and thus lacking guidance in music and etiquette, their Eight Schools of Buddhism have all disappeared and their country is plundered by foreign traitors. Now considering that the deities of Japan—deities who revere the Holy Law, protect our nation and love poetry—detest the contemporary style, we are sure to suffer their wrath as a result. If Lord Tamekane receives unhindered control of an imperial anthology and chooses muddled poems in the new style, it will mean the end of waka. (NKT 4:83)

The priest’s warning is dire. Though fine poems may move the gods, bad ones may alienate them as well. For this reason, it is the religio-political duty of all poets to compose appropriate waka as a means of ensuring the stability of Buddhism and the state. After all, it was the deities, with their “divine wind” (kamikaze 神風), who swept away the invading Mongol ships in 1274 and 1281. Without their aid, the country might have been overrun, suffering the unhappy fate of the Song in China.

For the Nomori no kagami priest, a champion of waka as ritual literature, Tamekane’s violation of poetic convention lends his verse a dangerously chaotic quality that would have been especially disturbing in the era of the Mongol threat. Herbert Plutschow has explained that “[r]itual literature can be seen as a reaction toward chaos, used at specific occasions, regular or irregular, whenever chaotic forces had to be countered.”33 Because Tamekane “chooses neither his words nor his heart,” composing poems from language outside the limits of established poetic diction, his waka fails in its ritual purpose: that of safeguarding Japan against the Mongol hordes. Galvanized by the recent attacks—frightening events of a geo-political scale—the Nomori no kagami author boldly extends the boundaries of thirteenth-century critical discourse in order to castigate Tamekane and his intended compilation of Gyokuyô wakashû. By equating Tamekane’s poetic innovations with the heresies of the new schools of Kamakura Buddhism, extending the formerly positivist waka-Buddhism association to its more-or-less logical extremity, the Nomori no kagami author articulates a dark new conception of poetry, politics, and the hazardous powers of language.


Works Cited

Bibliographic abbreviations:

GR Hanawa Hokiichi 塙保己一, ed. Gunsho ruijû 群書類従. 19 vols. Tokyo: Keizai Zasshisha 経済雑誌社, 1898-1902.
NKBT Nihon koten bungaku taikei 日本古典文学大系. 100 vols. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1958-68.
NKBZ Nihon koten bungaku zenshû 日本古典文学全集. 51 vols. Tokyo: Shôgakukan, 1970-76.
NKT Sasaki Nobutsuna 佐々木信綱, ed. Nihon kagaku taikei 日本歌学大系. 10 vols. Tokyo: Fûkan Shobô, 1956-63.
SNKBT Shin Nihon koten bungaku taikei 新日本古典文学大系. 100 vols. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1989-2005.
SNKBZ Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshû 新編日本古典文学全集. 88 vols. Tokyo: Shôgakukan, 1994-.
TSD Takakusu Junjirô 高楠順次郎 and Watanabe Kaigyoku 渡邊海旭, eds. Taishô shinshû daizôkyô 大正新修大蔵経. 85 vols. Tokyo: Taishô Issaikyô Kankôkai, 1924-32.


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Fukuda 1972
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Hirota 1997
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Huey 1989
  Robert N. Huey. Kyôgoku Tamekane: Poetry and Politics in Late Kamakura Japan. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989.
Inoue 1965
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Kobayashi 1975
  Kobayashi Chishô 小林智昭. “Nomori no kagami kô.” In Hôgo bungaku no sekai, 176-213. Tokyo: Kasama Shoin, 1975.
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McCullough 1985
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Matsuo 199
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Wakabayashi 2002
  Haruko Wakabayashi. “The Dharma for Sovereigns and Warriors: Onjô-ji’s Claim for Legitimacy in Tengu zôshi.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 29, no. 1-2 (2002): 35-66.



1 R. Keller Kimbrough, “Nomori no kagami and the Perils of Poetic Heresy,” Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies 4 (2003): 99-114. There is also a companion article to this piece (“Reading the Miraculous Powers of Japanese Poetry: Spells, Truth Acts, and a Medieval Buddhist Poetics of the Supernatural,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 32, no. 1 [2005]), which is available for download as a PDF file from the website of the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies at (select publications; periodicals; English periodicals; Japanese Journal of Religious Studies; Back Issues On-line; 2005, 32/1).

2 Nomori no kagami is typeset in NKT 4:64-96 and GR 27:474-514 (see list of abbreviations at the end of this article). A section corresponding to the first five-and-a-half pages of the NKT Nomori no kagami text has been annotated in a series of short articles: Heian-chô bungaku kenkyûkai 1995, Masubuchi 1998a, and Masubuchi 1998b. Nakagawa Hiro’o 中川博夫 (at Tsurumi University 鶴見大学) is currently compiling an annotated edition for publication in Miyai Shoten’s 三弥井書店 Karon kagaku shûsei 歌論歌学集成 series.

3 Fukuda 1972, pp. 622-40. All extant Nomori no kagami manuscripts contain a colophon attributing the work to Rokujô Arifusa 六条有房 (1251-1319). Fukuda rejects the attribution, but he argues that the internal date of 1295 is in fact correct.

4 Ogawa 1999, pp. 264-70. Although Ogawa makes a convincing case, his argument rests upon the supposition that the old priest at Enkyôji Temple (to whom the narrator attributes the commentary) is a transparent projection of the author.

5 NKBZ 50:274-75; LaFleur 1983, pp. 90-97; Stone 1999, pp. 43-44.

6 The abstract essence of a poem (its kokoro) corresponds to the thirty-second distinguishing characteristic of a Buddha (the Unseen Sign, or mukenchô-sô 無見頂相). Katagiri 1969, p. 199. Sangoki (NKT 4:341) and Genpei jôsuiki (vol. 7; Matsuo 1993, p. 38) contain similar explanations. On the date of Waka chikenshû, see Kikuchi 1983, p. 221.

7 Shasekishû, in NKBT 85:222-23; Jikkinshô, in SNKBZ 51:443-44. Jikkinshô 10:53 records that Fujiwara no Ietaka (1158-1237) attained rebirth in the Pure Land after reciting three waka at the time of his death, and that a monk by the name of Hônichi Shônin achieved Pure Land rebirth after making it his lifelong practice to recite three waka, three times a day.

8 Sangoki, in NKT 4:341; Kokon chomonjû, in NKBT 84:252-53. The mandala was painted at a celebration marking the renovation of Ungoji 雲居寺 temple in 1124. The Thirty-six Poetic Geniuses (sanjûrokkasen 三十六歌仙) were identified by Fujiwara no Kintô (966-1041) in his anthology Sanjûrokunin sen 三十六人撰. The Seven Buddhas of the Past (kako shichibutsu 過去七仏) are Shakyamuni and the six Buddhas who appeared in the world before him.

9 For a discussion of the conflict, see Verschuer 2002, pp. 414-16 and 427-36.

10 NKT 4:70

11 In identifying Tamekane’s six poetic faults (ayamari), the priest first lists them as cryptic, dialectic abbreviations: (1) 心を種として心を種とせざる事 (Taking the heart as seed and not taking the heart as seed); (2) 心をすなほにして心をすなほにせざる事 (Being frankhearted and not being frankhearted); (3) 詞をはなれて詞をはなれざる事 (Avoiding language and not avoiding language); (4) 風情をもとめて風情をもとめざる事 (Seeking conception and not seeking conception); (5) 姿をならひて姿をならはざる事 (Emulating form and not emulating form); (6) 古風をうつして 古風をうつさざる (Patterning the old style and not patterning the old style). NKT 4:67. Also see Huey 1989, pp. 34-35.

12 Inoue 1965, pp. 38-40.

13 Ôjô yôshû 往生要集 (written in 985; TSD 84 [2682]: 65a). Kamo no Chômei alludes to this same passage in Hosshinshû 発心集 (ca. 1212-1216; Miki 1976, p. 43), but as Masubuchi suggests, his meaning is somewhat different from that of the Nomori no kagami author. Masubuchi 1998a, p. 42a.

14 From the Mana (Chinese) Preface to Kokin wakashû 古今和歌集 (dated 905; SNKBT 5:339).

15 From the Kana (Japanese) Preface to Kokin wakashû (SNKBT 5:15). The translation of the second part of this sentence is borrowed from McCullough 1985, p. 7.

16 NKBT 65:161. Whether or not the Nomori no kagami author was familiar with Tamekane-kyô wakashô is unclear. See Fukuda 1972, pp. 649-56.

17 Fukuda 1972, pp. 628-630; Kobayashi 1975, p. 208.

18 The phrase “joyful dancing” (yuyaku kangi ) appears in the Muryôjukyô 大無量寿経 sutra (TSD 12 [360]: 273a).

19 Kadokawa Shoten Henshûbu 1960, pp. 68 and 40-41; Hirota 1997, p. xxxix.

20 The “straight poetic style” is the fifth of six poetic styles outlined in the Kokinshû Kana Preface.

21 Komatsu 1984, pp. 56b and 168b. The title Tengu zôshi is in fact anachronistic; as Takahashi Shûei has demonstrated, there is strong evidence that the work was previously known as Shichi tengu e 七天狗絵. Takahashi 1998, pp. 291-97.

22 Umezu Jirô has suggested that their authors may have been the same, but Fukuda Hideichi and others have argued against this possibility. Umezu 1978, p. 10; Wakabayashi 2002, pp. 53-55; Takahashi 1998, p. 293; Fukuda 1972, pp. 625-26.

23 The Tengu zôshi paintings are reproduced in Komatsu 1984, pp. 58-59. Kuroda Hideo argues that the depiction of the nuns is actually a representation of female homosexuality within the Jishû 時衆. His argument is strong, but his conclusion is impossible to substantiate. Kuroda 1986, pp. 18-24.

24 Komatsu 1984, pp. 56b and 168b.

25 Komatsu 1984, pp. 59b and 168c-d.

26 NKT 4:83 and 88; Komatsu 1984, p. 168b. Tengu zôshi is somewhat more direct than Nomori no kagami in attributing the downfall of the Song Dynasty to the advent of Zen. The Nomori no kagami priest first explains that the Song fell prey to barbarians because of the dissolution of the eight sects of Buddhism (p. 83), and he later explains that those eight sects disappeared because of the rise of Zen (p. 88).

27 Fukuda 1972, pp. 657-58.

28 Ogawa 1999, pp. 244-45.

29 Ogawa 1999, p. 261.

30 NKT 4:396. I follow Ogawa 1999 (p. 261) in interpreting the “national calamity” to be that of the Mongol invasions.

31 NKBT 85:222-23. Also see Kimbrough 2005.

32 NKBT 85:222-23. Also see Kimbrough 2005.

33 Plutschow 1990, p. 258.


name Keller Kimbrough is an assistant professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has also taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and Colby College since completing his PhD at Yale University in 1999. Keller is the author of the forthcoming Preachers, Poets, Women & the Way: Izumi Shikibu and the Buddhist Literature of Medieval Japan (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, in press), and numerous articles in the journals Monumenta Nipponica, Women and Performance, Asian Folklore Studies, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, and Japanese Language and Literature.