☆Yamabe-no Sukune, the Lord, Akahito’s poem: (a Chohka = Long Verse)
Wakareshi toki yu
Since the beginning,
When Heaven an’ Earth were divided,
It has been divine,
Raised high and praised as noble,
Above Suruga -
That lofty peak of Fuji,
Rising through the sky.
Look up to the Holy Mount!
E’en the passing Sun,
Shaded by the loftiness;
E’en the Moon at night
Fails to let her light reach down;
White clouds of the day
Give way to the august slope.
In any of seasons,
White snow falls and stays atop.
This epic mountain,
Men shall never cease to pass
Its sheer grandeur for eons!
In Man-Yoh-Shuh, there are two categories of poems, one Tanka and the other Chohka.
Tanka, or Short Verse, is indeed the most popular of the two, in that the sheer number of poems appearing there is overwhelmingly larger than Chohka.
When a Chohka, or Long Verse, appears, a Tanka usually follows as an answer song,
Or even as a summary song. Poem no.3-318, listed down below is one. It may be noted that the above Chohka song is sung with 5-7-5-7-5-7… syllabic rhythm and ending with 7-7 combination.
Even today in 21st century, Mount Fuji draws an enormous popularity among Japanese as well as foreign sight-seers due to its elegant form and appearance. Judging from this poem, it is certain that Mount Fuji was already in the ancient eras of 7-8th centuries an object of worship and adoration among Japanese people.
In fact, the Kanji characters used to describe Mount Fuji in this poem are
「不尽」― rather than the usual 「富士」. The former is pronounced same as the latter, but the meaning of the combination of the two letters, 不 and 尽, is “eternal”or “limitless”, suggesting the people’s feeling of adoration that way.