The legendary adventures

Here is a poem written in Chinese by Ikkyū, from the Kyōun shū (狂雲集, "Crazy Cloud collection"). The title is 乱中大嘗会, "Wartime combined-harvest-and-emperor-confirming-ceremony". (Daijōe: hard to translate.)


Here is how YANAGIDA Seizan trots it in his translation of the KS, published by Kōdansha in their "Classics of Zen" (禅の古典) series:



Tōkon, seidai, hyaku-ō no ato,
Gyokudai wa shingō no gotoku heion no kao.
Kaze fukedomo dōzezu, go-un no tsuki,
Yuki osedomo kudakigatashi, banzai no matsu.

Translated as prose:

The present [emperor], his sacred reign, heir to a hundred kings,
His presence is like diamond, his visage calm.
Though the wind blows he is not disturbed: a moon among five-[colored] clouds,
Though the snow presses he does not break: a ten-thousand-year-old pine.

The emperor here was Tsuchimikado II, who was enthroned just before what turned out to be the Ōnin War. Given the likelihood of being killed more or less at random in those days, it isn't surprising that Ikkyū should have come out in favor of peace, stability, the good old days, and the hundred-odd emperors who presided over them. (And let's not forget that one of those emperors was Ikkyū's own father.)

Anyway, what I like about Yanagida's edition is that he also provides a translation into more poetic Japanese, using 7- and 5-syllable lines (give or take some hypermetricity):



Kinjō tennō, hyakudai uketa,
Ni-ō no karada, onwa na hitomi.
Kaze ni mo ugokanu, tsuki no kage,
Yuki ni mo orenu, chiyo no matsu.

In pentameter:

Our emperor, his line one hundred strong:
A Hercules in form, though mild of eye;
A steadfast moon, unmoved by any wind;
An ancient pine, unbending in the snow.

It isn't often you can make legitimate use of Hercules in a translation from Japanese, but I claim that right, because Herakles was the original inspiration for the game of iconographic telephone played down the Silk Road that ended in the "Deva Kings" (仁王) mentioned in the original. Go Indo-Europe!

Popularity factor: 2


史料編纂所 (http://www.hi.u-tokyo.ac.jp/ships/)
(On-line Glossary of Japanese Historical Terms)

Suzanne Gay, <i>Moneylenders of Late Medieval Kyoto</i>: Imperial accession ceremony
Robert Borgen, <i>Sugawara no Michizane and the Early Heian Court</i>: Great Thanksgiving Festival
Francine Herail, <i>Fonctions et Fonctionnaires Japonais au Début du XIe Siècle</i>: célébration des Grandes Prémices du début d’un règne
William and Helen McCullough, <i>A Tale of Flowering Fortunes: Annals of Japanese Aristocratic Life in the Heian Period</i>: Great Thanksgiving Service

are some major variations. What I don't see in the system, but I know has been used in some translations is "Accension Harvest Festival"


"Accession Harvest Festival" sounds good to me. And thanks for that link, too!

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