2001 Waka for Japan 2001
Back
Commentary
Introduction
Poems
Commentary
Background
Search
Contact Us

© Thomas McAuley

Send comments
to our Webmaster

Website created
by BBR


Fujiwara no Teika

Fujiwara no Sada'ie (better known to history as Teika) (1162-1241) is one of the four greatest Japanese poets. The son of Shunzei, Teika lived to an advanced age constantly plagued by both recurring illness and reverses and advances in his family's fortunes. Similarly, his poetry and critical writings also underwent a series of changes in the course of his life, leaving behind the most substantial and intense poetic legacy by a single poet in Japanese history.

Teika enjoyed an intense creative relationship with Emperor Gotoba, who commissioned him, with others, to compile the Shinkokinshû in 1202. The two men had different conceptions of the anthology's shape, with Teika arguing for excellence above all, even rejecting some of his own poems as unworthy, and Gotoba wanting some lesser poems to offset the brilliant. Nevertheless, the collection, when eventually produced, was a triumph and is still reckoned as the second-greatest of the chokusenshû, following the Kokinshû.

Teika's relationship with Gotoba was to sour, leading to a decline in his fortunes, but his poetic reputation remained high, and he was rehabilitated after Gotoba was exiled by the Shogunate in 1221. By this time, however, Teika's illness kept him confined to his house most of the time, preventing him from attending poetry competitions at court. He was still able, though, to accept a commission for a second imperial anthology, the Shinchokusenshû, and complete numerous works of criticism and several exemplary collections of waka. Perhaps the best-known of these today is the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, the 'Little Treasury of One Hundred Poets One Poem Each', which forms the base collection for the game of karuta, still a standard part of many Japanese families' New Year celebrations.

Teika also, like his father, championed the Genji Monogatari, and his work produced the texts upon which are based modern editions of the Genji, the Ise Monogatari and, indeed, the Kokinshû itself.

Teika has the following poems in the Japan 2001 Waka:

SZS V: 355
SZS VI: 400
SZS V: 414
SZS VII: 497
SZS XV: 951
SKKS I: 38
SKKS I: 40
SKKS I: 44
SKKS I: 63
SKKS I: 91
SKKS I: 134
SKKS IV: 363
SKKS IV: 420
SKKS V: 532
SKKS VI: 671
SKKS VI: 672
SKKS VII: 739
SKKS VIII: 788
SKKS IX: 891
SKKS X: 952
SKKS X: 953
SKKS XII: 1082
SKKS XII: 1117
SKKS XII: 1137
SKKS XII: 1142
SKKS XIII: 1196
SKKS XIII: 1206
SKKS XIV: 1284
SKKS XIV: 1291
SKKS XIV: 1320
SKKS XIV: 1324
SKKS XIV: 1332
SKKS XV: 1336
SKKS XV: 1390
SKKS XVI: 1455
SKKS XVI: 1557
SKKS XVII: 1646
SKKS XVII: 1686
SKKS XVIII: 1725
SKKS XVIII: 1759
SKKS XIX: 1872
RPBU 7
RPBU 19
RPBU 27

To sign up to the mailing list, please mail me.