Goshui Wakashu (Later Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poetry) (後拾遺和歌集)

Goshui Wakashu is the fourth Chokusen Wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command) of the Hachidaishu (the eight Imperial anthologies of Japanese poetry), and it came out after "Shui Wakashu" (Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poetry). Emperor Shirakawa gave an order, and FUJIWARA no Michitoshi selected the poems. In 1075, he received the imperial decree, completed the work on September 16 (in the old calendar) of 1086, and submitted it to the Emperor for inspection in October of the same year. It consists of twenty volumes, comprising a total of approximately 1218 poems (A New Version of Comprehensive National Poems).

The poems were classified into the following categories based on Kokin Wakashu (A Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry): Spring (two volumes), Summer, Autumn (two volumes), Winter, Celebration, Separation, Journey, Elegies, Love (four volumes), and Miscellaneous (six volumes). These categories of 'Gods of Heaven and Earth' and 'Shakyamuni's Teachings' in the 20th volume (Zoka (Miscellaneous poems) volume six) appeared in the Imperial anthology for the first time. It covers the poems which had been composed for about 130 years, the period after "Kokin" and "Gosen Wakashu" (Later Selected Collection of Japanese Poetry), which is equivalent to the reign of Emperor Murakami (946 - 967) to that of Emperor Shirakawa (1073 - 1087).

During the time when the magnificent dynastic culture began to decline, the selector compiled this collection of poetry, looking back on the splendid past. The major poets in the collection are Izumi Shikibu (sixty-seven poems), Sagami (thirty-nine poems), Akazome Emon (thirty-two poems), Noin (thirty-one poems) and ISE no Taifu (twenty-six poems). Talented female poets who were actively involved in the Imperial Court before and after the reign of Emperor Ichijo ranked high, and up to 30 percent of the poets in the collection were female. Poets from the period of Gosen (Wakashu) and Shui (Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poems) were considered important: KIYOHARA no Motosuke, ONAKATOMI no Yoshinobu, MINAMOTO no Michinari, FUJIWARA no Nagato, and FUJIWARA no Kinto. The poets and styles of poetry are diverse: Izumi Shikibu wrote love poems in which she expressed her passion; Akazome Emon composed delicate zotoka (poetry exchanged between a man and a woman); poems appealing to travelers' sentiments were composed by priest poets such as Noin and Ryozen; and SONE no Yoshitada made bold and unconventional poems. Some pointed out that the collection contained numerous lengthy forewords to poems explaining where and why they were composed, so it has prosaic character.

The selector of "Goshui shu," who was young, considered frank sentiments too seriously but downplayed the refined style, so upon its introduction many people criticized the anthology. For example, Dainagon (chief councilor of state) MINAMOTO no Tsunenobu (1016 - 1097), who was a leading figure in poetry circles but had not been chosen as the selector, wrote a book titled "Nan Goshui" (A Criticism on Goshui Wakashu) in order to criticize the anthology.


Michitoshi had asked his seniors in the poetry circles to help him, so the draft was checked in advance by SUO no Naishi, the mother of Prince Yasusuke, and MINAMOTO no Tsunenobu. He exchanged "Goshui Mondo" (A dialogue on Goshui Wakashu) with Tsunenobu, and his opinion had an influence on the reselection of poems. Even after it was completed and submitted to the Emperor, Michitoshi took "Nan Goshui" seriously and revised the anthology again in order to submit it to the Emperor for inspection.

Three poems composed by TSUMORI no Kunimoto had been selected for "Goshui shu," because TSUMORI no Kunimoto was said to have bribed Michitoshi with horse mackerel to select his poems, so the anthology was nicknamed 'Koaji shu' (a collection of horse mackerel) (according to Fukurozoshi, an essay on tanka poetry compiled by FUJIWARA no Kiyosuke).

[Original Japanese]