Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Go west : Dazaifu and Sugawara no Michizane

Date Published: Last Update:2015/04/10 Others ,

Michizane with his poem

- Michizane by Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1885) -
On the top right, his poem, which was written when he was eleven, is shown.
Illustration from GATAG

Sugawara no Michizane is the person who is worshipped as god of study at the shrine, “Dazaifu Tenman-guu”.
“Sugawara” is the family name and “Michizane” is the first name.

He is also well-known as one of the Big Three Onryou (vengeful spirit) in Japan, along with Taira no Masakado and Emperor Sutoku.

Life of Sugawara no Michizane

He was born into an academic family in 845 and known as a child prodigy.
It is said that he composed a “waka”, Japanese style poem at the age of five.

Michizane's poem 2

The poem with 5-7-5-7-7 morae.
"Ako" is Michizane's childhood name.

[Translation]
Oh, what beautiful
red, plum blossoms!
On my face,
I even want to wear them.

When he was eleven, he wrote a jueju style poem, consisting of four lines with five Kanji characters each.
(In Japanese, “jueju” is “zekku”.
And “gogon-zekku” is the name for the poem of four lines with twenty Kanji characters in total.)
This is the poem.

Michizane's poem 1

I can get the meaning from the characters, but not sure how to read the poem.

[Translation]
Title: “Looking at Japanese plum blossoms in a moon-lit night”
The moonlight are bright like snow in sunshine.
The plum blossoms look like shining stars.
How wonderful it is, as the golden mirror (moon) is moving,
for the garden to be filled with scent of plum blossoms.

Michizane passed exams to get promoted, and rapidly worked his way up.
After he served important posts in the court, he was designated as “U-daizin” in 899.

Note:
“U-daijin” literally means “Right Minister”.
It was the third top of “Daijyou-kan” next to “Daijyou-daijin” and “Sa-daijin” (“Left Minister”).
“Daijyou-kan” was the highest govenment body in the old times.

In 900, there was a party in “Seiryou-den”, the pavillion used as the Emperor’s habitual residence.
Michizane wrote a poem entitled as “Shuushi” (lit. “Thinking in autumn”) there, and Emperor Daigo was quite impressed by it.
The emperor took off one of his clothes and gave it to Michizane.
This moment is probably the height of his life.

At that time, there was a very powerful family, the Fujiwara.
Michizane was a pain in the neck for the family and many people felt jealous of him because they thought he went too far as a person from an academic family.
In the same year as the party was held, Michizane was advised to retire by a scholar, Miyoshi Kiyokuki (“Miyoshi” is the family name), but he refused.

Then in the following year, he was suddenly relegated to Dazaifu on the charge of an alleged conspiracy against the emperor.
The false appeal was made by “Sa-daijin”, Fujiwara no Tokihira.

During his miserable days in Dazaifu, he was thought to have prayed to god for peace and prosperity of the nation under the emperor as well as for the time to come when his name would be cleared, but he surely held a grudge against people who had framed him.
He left poems filled with negative feelings like sorrow or anger.

In 903, about two years after he spent moaning his severe fate in Dazaifu, he passed away.
Now, “Dazaifu Tenman-guu” is on the location where Michizane’s body is believed to have been buried.

Dazaifu 04

- "Dazaifu Tenman-guu" with plum trees -

 

There are several mysterious legends around him.
I’m going to write about them in the next post.

 

Related posts:
#Dazaifu (1: General Info)
(3: Michizane – legends)
(4: Michizane – vengeance)
(5: Michizane – Tenman-guu)
(6: Dazaifu – to the main shrine)
(7: Dazaifu – the main shrine and around)
(8: Dazaifu – Kyushu National Museum)

#Hakata (1: General Info)
(2: Moomin Cafe)
(3: Juventus Lounge)
(4: Kushida Shrine and others)

The following two tabs change content below.

kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Number List 5

Basic Japanese : Trivia about numbers in Japanese

The final post about numbers in Japanese. Number over quadrillion Numbers over “chou” (trillion to quadrillion) are quite rarely used. You may hear the following unit “kei” sometimes, but numbers over the unit “kei” won’t be seen in usual life. I’ve never seen it myself even in the news and I actually can’t name units […]

Read Article

Inogashira park

Japanese urban legends – Part 3 –

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (3) Mary-san (Ms. Mary) A girl had an old Western doll and called it “Mary”. When her family moved to another place, she disposed it because it was old. One night, a telephone rang at her new home. The girl got it, then heard the voice saying, “Hello, I’m […]

Read Article

Iroha 3

Basic Japanese : “Iroha-uta”, line by line – Part 1 –

“Iroha-uta” as a poem I’m going to explain the meaning of the poem in two posts. As I wrote in the previous post, it is thought to be composed in the Heian era (794 – 1185). In the major theory, the poem is said to express a doctrine from the Nirvana Sutra. But the poem […]

Read Article

Dazaifu 06

Go west : Sugawara no Michizane – Legends

There are mysterious legends around Sugawara no Michizane. Most of them are episodes after he was framed by his political enemy. Michizane and the flying plum tree This legend is very well-known along with the following poem. The night before he left his home in Kyoto, the capital at that time, he composed a poem […]

Read Article

Jinmen-inu

Japanese urban legends – Part 1 –

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (1) Summer in Japan is ridiculously hot and humid except in some northern areas. So, people enjoy horror stories especially in summer to feel shivering cold. There are many old and new ghost / horror stories in Japan, and I feel it would be nice to introduce some. (It’s […]

Read Article

Lady saying "Arigatou"

Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese

There are several ways of saying “Thank you” in Japanese. In this post, I am going to explain the most common phrase for “Thank you”. Arigatou (gozai masu / mashita) The phrase was derived from “Arigatashi”, which literally means “difficult to be”. The Kanji in “ari” means “there is” or “be (there)”, and another in […]

Read Article

Iroha 11

Basic Japanese : “Iroha-uta”, line by line – Part 2 –

The rest of “Iroha-uta”, line by line Line 3 From a Buddhism thought, “Free from living and dying(, by entering Nirvana)”. [First half] Meaning: The deep mountain called life, “Ui” is also a Buddhism word. It means “every thing and phenomenon which comes from various karma(, always lives and dies and never lasts forever)”. Some […]

Read Article

Itadaki masu image

Basic Japanese : “Itadaki masu” – Phrase before meal

When I watch foreign TV dramas, I sometimes see Christian people praying before meal. It seems that the prayer is to appreciate God who have given them food. In Japan, maybe Christians do the same, but I guess most of people say certain phrases before and after dinner instead of a prayer. If you love […]

Read Article

Kitano Tenman-guu 2

Go west : Tenman-guu to console Michizane

“Kitano Tenman-guu” in Kyoto to console Michizane In 942, Michizane’s spirit showed up before a girl from a poor family in Kyoto and ordered to build a shrine for him in “Ukon no baba” (“hippodrome controlled by the right guard office”), the place where he often visited during his life. Of course she didn’t have […]

Read Article

Mister Karl

Basic Japanese : How to say “I” in Japanese – Part 2 –

General, but not very often used “I” in Japanese Several first-person singular pronouns for common people, only used by some. Neutral [Jibun] “Jibun” means “oneself”. Can be used by anybody according to circumstances, but I guess few common people use this as a usual pronoun for themselves. Maybe male athletes often use this, especially in […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑