Literary News from Japan 1999


Discovery of a fragment of Ryozin Hisyo

Discovery of a fragment of the original Ryozin Hisyo

On 20 May, Professor Hukusima Kazuo, the director of the music historiography center at the Ueno-gakuen College in Tokyo, presented that they discovered a fragment of the original codex of Ryozin Hisyo, which was edited by Grand Emperor Go-Sirakawa (1127 - 1192). With handwriting analysis, they judged that the fragment was written off by Go-Sirakawa himself. Scholars agreed to their conclusion.

Grand Emperor Go-Sirakawa was the great Machiavellian politician through the Genpe Wars in the late 12th century, and Minamotono Yoritomo, the first Syogun of Kamakura Bakuhu called him Otengu (big monster). Go-Shirakawa was also fascinated with Imayo, popular songs sang by Sirabyosis, the ancestors of Gesya. He invited many Sirabyosis to his palace and exercised Imayo songs so zealously that he edited an anthology titled Ryozin Hisyo in 20 volumes, a little part of which was preserved.

an unknown piece

The fragment, which was purchased by the Ueno-gakuen College in 1995, contains a piece of unknown Imayo song following;

Yoru-hiru akekosi Tamakura ha
Akete mo hisasiku narini keri
Nani tote Yoru-hiru muture kemu
Nakarahe sari keru mono yuhe ni
Nobody puts his head on my arm in nights or days,
where the sweetheart put his head long long ago.
We were so zealous with love in those days,
for we were aware of our happy short days.)

(May20 1999)

Copyright 1999 Kato Koiti
This page was created on May20 1999

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