Shin Shoku Kokin Wakashu (NEW Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry Continued) (新続古今和歌集)

"Shin Shoku Kokin Wakashu" is an anthology compiled by imperial command in the Muromachi period. It is the last book of Nijuichidaishu (the twenty-one collections of waka compiled by imperial command).

Because the sixth seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") Yoshinori ASHIKAGA in the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) suggested to the Emperor Gohanazono to compile a new anthology, the Emperor ordered Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) Masayo ASUKAI (first named Masakiyo) to select poems, and Gyoko helped him as Deputy Chief of the office to compile the imperial poetic anthology. On October 17, 1433, the order was issued; on September 21, 1438, the four seasons' part was submitted to the Emperor for inspection; on August 15 of the following year the anthology was completed. Manajo and Kanajo (the Chinese preface and the kana (the Japanese syllabaries) preface) were written by Kanera ICHIJO. In order to present poems to the Emperor, Oseihyakushu (100 poems on set themes, also known as Eikyo hyakushu) were composed, and some Hundred-Poem collections were also used for the anthology such as Hoji (hosted by Emperor Gosaga), Koan (hosted by Emperor Kameyama), Kagen (hosted by Emperor Gouda), Bunpo (hosted by Emperor Gouda), and Jowa (hosted by Cloistered Imperial Prince priest Sonen).

When Gohanazono in ordered to compile the anthology, he was only 15, but had a profound knowledge of poetry and music, being known as a wise Emperor who made many poems. Masayo ASUKAI was a sixth generation descendant of Masatsune ASUKAI, who was one of the compilers of Shin Kokin Waka Shu (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry), and he had the honor to be chosen as compiler thanks to Yoshinori ASHIKAGA, who was his supporter. Needless to say, Kanera ICHIJO was the greatest person of culture who lived in the Muromachi period.

This Imperial anthology has a traditional structure of 20-volumes. There is no doubt that the anthology was compiled following the categorization used in Shoku Kokin Wakashu, although replacing poems on gods with ones on celebrating longevity, and putting the poems on gods at the end of the book modeled after Senzai Wakashu (Collection of Japanese Poems of a Thousand Years). About 2140 or more poems were collected in it. It follows the poetry style of the Nijo group which depended on ideas of yugen (a subtle and profound beauty) and kotan (simple and refined). The Nijo group's poems represented by Tona (19 poems), Tamesada NIJO (14 poems), and Keiun (13 poems) were considered important, while almost no poems of the Kyogoku group and Reizei group were collected, revealing the selectors and patron's intentions. Also, only a tiny number of poems written the female poets were selected.

Although the poems were mainly selected from the ones composed after Shin Kokin, they range widely over every era. Compilers respected the period of Shin Kokin, and especially poems by Yoshitsune KUJO, FUJIWARA no Shunzei, FUJIWARA no Teika, FUJIWARA no Ietaka, Emperor Gotoba, and Emperor Juntoku which were selected more than others. As to the contemporary poets, poems by Emperor Gokomatsu takes third place (26 poems), and the man who proposed the compilation of Sin Shoku Kokin Yoshinori ASHIKAGA (18 poems) and commander Gohanazono in (12 poems) were taken seriously. Many poems composed by those who were from the samurai families except Yoshinori were chosen too. The selector Masayo's father, Masayori ASUKAI's poems were selected most (29 poems) and one of his poems was put at the beginning of the book; besides it is obvious that the poems by the selector's ancestors were treated favorably: Masayo's own poems (18 poems), Masatsune's (18 poems), and Masaari ASUKAI's (14 poems) were frequently selected.

Gohanazono was planning to make another Imperial anthology, but it was interrupted by the Onin War, and no anthology was compiled after that.

[Original Japanese]