Try as I might though
to keep my romance secret
my face gives away
my obsession – so much that
people ask if I’m lovesick
Taira no Kanemori (? –991 AD, 平兼盛) was a middle Heian period waka poet and Japanese nobleman. He is designated as a member of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals (Sanjurokkasen) poet exemplars of the Asuka, Nara, and Heian periods. His is the 40th poem in the famous Hyakuninisshu anthology.
According to historical accounts, at a ceremonial poetry competition held at the Emperor’s Seiryou Palace, Kanemori and Mibuno Tadami were given the topic of “Secret Love” to each come up with a tanka poem. Fujiwarano Saneyori was to determine the winner, but given their quality, he initially called it a draw. Upon seeing Emperor Murakami repeat the opening stanza “shinoburedo” of Kanemori’s poem to himself, Saneyori ultimately declared Kanemori to be the winner of that round.
Kanemori possibly fathered Akazome Emon a poetress, whose poem is # 59 in the Hyakuninisshu collection.
More to come on Mibuno Tadami, whose “Secret Love” poem is #41 in Hyakuninisshu, and Akazome Emon.
Shoukei (照渓) is a practitioner and teacher of Japanese calligraphy and a Japanese-English translator. Her calligraphy pieces have appeared in exhibits in Tokyo, New York, and Jersey City. Her translations include technical writing, manga, poetry, and fiction. Shoukei utilizes her calligraphy and translations to showcase the beauty of Japanese art and culture to the rest of the world.