☆Hitachi Otome’s poem:
May you not forget
This poor Eastern country girl,
Reaping hemp from sods
Daily in our old orchard,
Bleaching into linen cloths.
Tokyo today is the capital of Japan, occupying by far the greatest economic scale within the whole country, but back in ancient times as 7th and 8th centuries and for many years to follow until Edo Era initiated by Tokugawa Shogunate Govcernment, Kanto area including surrounding districts were regarded as rural economies mostly supplying Capital Nara and Capital Kyoto, later with the agricultural and fishery produce. One such product was cloth material.
Tama River, which still runs through Kanto Plains, used to play an important role as the bases for production and transport of such goods. (See Vol. 14-3373)
During this time in Japan, 7-8th century, still a barter trade was the main stream of commericial activities, although coins were being used, and thus the cloth materials were important products among ordinary people, both as living necessities and as trading means. This poem, created by Hitachi Wotome – literally a girl from Hitachi in Kantoh area(roughly Ibaraki Pref. nowadays), is said to be sung by her when Fujiwara-no Umakai, Governor of Hitachi Province, was going back to Nara after a stint.