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83 KAIKŌ Kamo no Mabuchi | 17601 [It appears that Mabuchi felt that Kokka hachiron yogon shūi served a different purpose than what he wanted his students to glean from his ideas on poetry, which ideas had matured somewhat since the Kokka Hachiron Controversy. Thus, he wrote this short essay for the instruction of his students. In spite of this desire, it is unclear why this manuscript was never disseminated to his students. Arakida Hi­ saoyu, a student of Mabuchi, worked to publish a variety of “draft” manuscripts that his teacher had written, but apparently had never distributed. In this essay Mabuchi instructs students how they can polish their innate “mirror” through the composition of ancient poetry, allowing their magokoro “true heart” to shine, and return to a paradisiacal past.] PREFACE When one climbs a high mountain and looks down upon the foothills, he can clearly see the bends in the peaks and the innermost corners of the valleys . But when one gazes up at a high mountain from a hill, it is hard to distinguish many features of the mountain. Here, I take the five discourses of thought concerning the study of antiquity2 of my master, Agatai no Ushi.3 This discourse on poetry [Kaikō] is still in rough draft form, and though I am not fully satisfied with it, it discusses the sincere and profound poetry of antiquity compared with the narrow-­ minded and constrained verse of recent eras. Realizing that we should earnestly follow the poetry of the ancients is like finding the entrance to the pass of that high mountain; however, scholars of late who follow the path of poetic learning4 now teach that later poetry is better. Using this kind of flattery, they have discarded the ancient style of poetry.5 How sullen and regrettable this state is, but 1. The end of his treatise mentions that the work was completed in 1764, but internal evidence suggests that the work was essentially finished in 1760, and Mabuchi only engaged in slight editorial work afterward, completing this four years later. I thus leave the date as 1760. 2. Those five discourses are Kaikō, Bun’ikō, Kokuikō, Goikō, and Shoikō. 3. Kamo no Mabuchi’s scholarly name. 4. Pointing to the Norinaga school. 5. This barb is aimed at Motoori Norinaga, who disliked the Man’yōshū but was fond of the much later Shin Kokinshū. 84 Views on Poetry nothing can quench this desire I have to tell the world about my Master’s teachings; thus have we put this incomplete manuscript forward for publishing . Seventh month of the twelfth year of Kansei [1800], Arakida Hisaoyu6 KAIKŌ How profound! How moving was the earnest and sincere heart of men in ancient times. Because the ancient heart was earnest, there were few tasks to be done, with few tasks there were few words. Because of this condition, when an emotion struck the ancient’s heart, he would lift his voice and put these feelings into words to sing, and that appears to be the reason ancient Japanese called poetry uta.7 This kind of singing was done earnestly from a frankness of feelings, the words having integrity, employing everyday, unornamented words in the song strung together without concern for connections , having no set pattern. With this, singing was simply the form of expressing one’s feelings; therefore, anciently, there was no distinction between a poet and a nonpoet. Near the end of the reign of our distant, successive imperial rulers who have ruled endlessly for fifteen hundred generations , philosophies and vocabulary from Paekche and India entered our country and mingled with our realm’s culture and language. Due to this, magokoro “the true heart” became wicked like the swirling wind, and the words themselves, too, have become corrupted and divided like the crossroads , overly complicated. Therefore, as we come to the present, the emotions and word usage of contemporary poetry, even ordinary words, are different from those of antiquity. What people now call poetry forces a waka-­ type image on the hearer, proposing a selected [restricted] vocabulary , imitating the old poetic traditions without expressing the real thoughts and emotions of the poet. The emotions contained within these poems are like mirrors covered with dust—nothing is reflected clearly. Or these poems are like flowers growing amidst pollution, their stamens fouled and sterile. It is filthiness for people of later eras to try producing poetry while 6. Arakida Hisaoyu (1746–1804). He was a priest at Ise Shrine...


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