Shika Wakashu (Shika Collection of Japanese Poems) (詞花和歌集)

Shika Wakashu is the sixth Chokusen Wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command) of the Hachidaishu (the eight Imperial anthologies of Japanese poetry). In 1144, Emperor Sutoku ordered FUJIWARA no Akisuke (1090 - 1155) to compile the anthology, and he finished and submitted it to the Emperor for inspection in 1151. It consists of ten volumes and contains a total of 415 poems. The Sanso bon (the third revised edition) of "Kinyo Wakashu" (Kinyo Collection of Japanese Poems) did not circulate widely, so many poems collected in Shika Wakashu overlapped the ones in Kinyo Sanso bon (Sanso bon of "Kinyo Wakashu").

The style of poetry in "Shika shu"(Shika Wakashu) is diverse; it is characterized by the fresh descriptive poems, and many poems in which the authors expressed their feelings.

Kinyo is the fifth Imperial anthology and Shika is the sixth; these two works have the same structure and their meanings of the titles are the same. Traditionally, the Imperial anthology had consisted of 20 volumes since the time of Kokin Wakashu, but they broke the custom and omitted the categories of Journey, Elegies, and Gods of Heaven and Earth, reducing the volumes of Love to two. Although the structure was simple, the poems were selected meticulously, therefore they look like selected gems of written expression.

The most significant difference between "Shika shu" and "Kinyo shu" is that "Kinyo shu" considered the contemporary poets to be important while "Shika shu" treated the poets around the period of Goshui Wakashu (Later Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poetry) with respect; it is illustrated by the fact that the poets whose poems were selected most were SONE no Yoshitada (17 poems) and Izumi Shikibu (16 poems). Meanwhile, the selector tried to avoid selecting the poems by the same contemporary poets. In principle, only one poem was selected per poet (but with a few exceptions, of course, such as the poems by Emperor Sutoku and Akisuke).

[Original Japanese]