☆Princess Nukata’s poem
Autumn silver grass,
Reaped to thatch a makeshift villa –
From our days there and around,
On the rim of Uji City.
Perhaps the most popular poet (poetess) among Man-Yoh-Shuh poets will be Princess Nukata who served closely beside Emperors and herself a member of a noble family and married to at least two of the Emperors, active during mid. 7th century. She is particularly popular in that she made and sang open-hearted and often passionate poems in the fledgling eras of Japanese Imperial families.
By the time the above song was made by her, the Imperial Palace had been established in the form of Fujiwara Palace in Yamato (Nara Prefecture, now), and the poem is about the Imperial Inspection trips undertaken by the Emperor(s) to nearby posts, especially near Shiga Pref. area. Uji City is a mid-sized township still today situated just outside Kyoto.
In Nikitatsu Port,
Waiting for the moon to soar,
So the men take oars –
Now the tides have turned forward,
It’s time to sail, ship ahoy!
This is a song made by Princess Nukata “on behalf of the Empress’s heart”, when the Empress led an armada to sail out to Baek-Je to assist the Korean Kingdom which was a target of invasion by another kingdom on the Korean Peninsula. Nikitatsu is a port in today’s Ehime Pref. A dynamic piece of song.
My Lord, I’m worried –
You trot through those gromwell fields,
And o’er violet fields,
Across preserves, toward me –
Guards may spot you wave your sleeve.
In “Nihon Shoki” (“Chronicles of Japan”), which is the oldest history book of Japan, tracing the history from the Mythical Age up to Empress Jito in Nara Era (7th century), depicts the herb- and perhaps deer-hunting event held in now-Shiga-Pref. under the auspice of Emperor Tenchi, accompanied by Imperial members and staff in the year 668.
Princess Nukata had been for a time a wife of Emperor Tenchi, but she later became a wife of Tenchi’s brother, Emperor Tenmu, and in all a close inner member of the Imperial family. Princess seems to have spent a flamboyant life, but also acted as a key staff member in the Imperial Household supported by her influential family background.
To our eyes in modern Japan, this song, on the face of it, may seem like an introvert and hush-hush type of a love affair, worrying about the surrounding eyes. But things were somewhat different… (See the next song)