Shui wakashu (拾遺和歌集)

"Shui wakashu" is the third imperial anthology of Japanese poetry after Kokin wakashu (Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese poems) and Gosen wakashu (Later Collection of Japanese poems), and is the last one of the so called 'Sandai shu' (The Collections of Three Eras). It is said to have been compiled around 1006, during the reign of Emperor Ichijo. It has been said since ancient times that Emperor Kazan selected the poems himself, or he ordered FUJIWARA no Nagato (or Nagayoshi) and MINAMOTO no Michinari to select them, but there is no positive proof. Unlike the previous two imperial collections, wakadokoro (an office for selecting poems) was not set up. It is thought to have been compiled based on "Shui sho" selected by FUJIWARA no Kinto, considering the similarity with the name (the issue of which one was the earlier was controversial for a long time, but in modern days the theory that "Shui sho" was the earlier has been established).

It consists of approximately 1350 poems: twenty volumes organized under headings of spring, summer, autumn, winter, congratulations, parting, acrostics, miscellaneous (One, Two), Kagura uta (poems, the theme of which is sacred Shinto dancing), love (five volumes), miscellaneous spring, miscellaneous autumn, miscellaneous congratulations, miscellaneous love, and laments. The composition inclusion of headings of miscellaneous spring and miscellaneous love is quite original.

The name 'Shui' means to glean excellent poems that had not been selected in the previous imperial collections, and by definition, while many poets from Kokin wakashu including KI no Tsurayuki (107) were selected again, poets from Manyo shu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) such as KAKINOMOTO Hitomaro (104) were re-evaluated, and poems by ONAKATOMI no Yoshinobu (59), KIYOHARA no Motosuke (48) and TAIRA no Kanemori (39) from Gosen wakashu era were added. Also, contemporary poets such as Kishi Joo (high ranking lady in the court), FUJIWARA no Michitsuna's Mother, and FUJIWARA no Kinto were included. It is interesting that as many as 37 poems by FUJIWARA no Sukemi, who was in a lower ranking post, were selected in the acrostics section.

Shui shu (abridged form of Shui wakashu) in general has a plain and graceful style, and includes many poems for formal occasions such as ga no uta (poems for congratulations), byobu uta (poems matching with a painting on the byobu, folding screen), and poems for uta awase (poetry competition), and especially includes excellent ones of love, eight of which were selected for Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (the Ogura One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each).

[Original Japanese]