Vol.5 Tsuzumigataki & Saigyo-Hoshi


ページ番号1005732  更新日 平成30年3月8日 印刷 

Shimotaki Park

There is a folktale concerning “Tsuzumigataki” that tells us about something that happened more than 800 years ago.
Soon after the Buddhist monk Saigyo-Hoshi decided to become an expert in the field of Waka poetry, he crossed a high mountain and arrived at the bank of the Inagawa River.
There he found a beautiful waterfall (taki in Japanese) that made a sound like the beating of a Tsuzumi drum, which comforted him greatly. As he gazed at the beautiful waterfall, a poem came to him:
Over a great distance
I came to the waterfall
The sounds of a beating drum
Sweet white lilies on the banks
Oh, how beautiful they are

He was quite satisfied with his poem and went to sleep, as he was tired and hungry. The cold wind woke him up from his sleep and he saw lights coming from a house nearby. He visited the house to ask for a night’s lodging. An old couple with white hair and a young person who seemed to be their grandchild welcomed him in and served him a warm meal. Saigyo-Hoshi showed them his poem. They suggested that he change his poem like this,

Viewing the waterfall
Of particular great fame
Its hand drum sound
White lilies on the riverside
Oh, how beautiful they are

He was impressed by their suggestion and realized his immaturity as a poet.
Later, waking from his sleep, he found himself in front of a small shrine inscribed with the words “God of Sumiyoshi".
He then realized that what he had learned was taught to him in a dream. His dream urged him to train himself to become humble.
By the end of the Heian era Saigyo-Hoshi had become a great poet. His works can be found in the famous book of poetry, Shin-Kokinwakashu.

A Waka poem is a 31-syllable Japanese poem divided into phrases of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables.
A “tsuzumi” is a tabor used in traditional Japanese music.

The Location of Shimotaki Park


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