The Hundred Poets of the Inkstand

(Sumi-ire hyaku-nin isshu, 住入 百人一首)

Publisher: Sa-Ichi of Ichigaya

c. 1845

 

Hyaku-nin isshu is an anthology of 100 poems by 100 different poets compiled by the thirteenth-century critic and poet Fujiwara no Sadaie (also known as Teika). The poems are all five-line poems of 31 syllables arranged as 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7. This form was known as waka and is now known as tanka. The 100 poets are in approximately chronological order from the seventh through the thirteenth centuries. Some of the prints portray the poets, and some show scenes associated with their lives or poetry. The poem and some descriptive text appear on each print. The poems were translated by Clay MacCauley in his book Single Songs of a Hundred Poets (1917, Kelly and Walsh, Yokohama). The prints are each about 7 by 5 inches (18 by 13 centimeters), a size known as koban. These images were originally printed four to an ban sized sheet.

 

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Number: 1

Poet: Emperor Tenchi Tenn

Scene: Emperor Tenchi Tenn on a palace balcony overlooking a misty landscape

Robinson: S27.1

 

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Number: 2

Poet: Empress Jit Tenn (持統天皇)

Scene: Empress Jit Tenn and a maid looking back at a garden pavilion

Robinson: S27.2

 

I am grateful to Horst Graebner for this image.

 

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Number: 3

Poet: Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (柿本人麿)

Scene: Poet Kakinomoto no Hitomaro at his writing desk, chin in hand, watching a pheasant in a tree

Robinson: S27.3

 

I am grateful to I am grateful to Horst Graebner for this image.

 

 

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Number: 4

Poet: Yamabe no Akahito

Scene: Poet Yamabe no Akahito on the rocky sea-shore with Mount Fuji in the background

Robinson: S27.4

 

 

Number: 5

Poet: Sarumaru Day (猿丸大夫)

Scene: Poet Sarumaru Day standing and viewing a mountain with maple trees in their autumn colors

Robinson: S27.5 (listed as not seen)

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 6

Poet: Chnagon Yakamochi (Otomo no Yakamochi)

Scene: Poet Chnagon Yakamochi on a veranda contemplating a building through the mist

Robinson: S27.6

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 7

Poet: Abe no Nakamaro

Scene: Poet Abe no Nakamaro seated on the foreign shore with two Chinese men, one of whom points across the sea towards Japan

Robinson: S27.7

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 8

Poet: The monk Kisen-hshi

Scene: Two girls seated picking tealeaves while one of them rebukes a wandering child

Robinson: S27.8

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 9

Poet: Ono no Komachi

Scene: Poetess Ono no Komachi seated on a palace veranda

Robinson: S27.9

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 10

Poet: Semimaru

Scene: The blind poet Semimaru seated at the window of his hut listening to the sounds of passing travelers on the road

Robinson: S27.10

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 11

Poet: Sangi Takamura (参議篁) also known as Ono no Takamura

Scene: Stern view of a junk

Robinson: S27.11 (listed as not seen)

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

Number: 12

Poet: Sj Henj (The Monk Henj, 僧正遍昭)

Scene: Sj Henj looking up at winged figures

Robinson: S27.12 (listed as not seen)

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

Number: 13

Poet: Emperor Yzei-in (陽成院)

Scene: Emperor Yzei-in bareheaded and seated on a veranda with mist and distant mountains in the background

Robinson: S27.13

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 14

Poet: Kawara no Sadaijin (Minamoto no Toru)

Scene: Poet Kawara no Sadaijin seated and dozing with folded arms with a river and drying clothes in the background

Robinson: S27.14

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 15

Poet: Emperor Kk Tenn

Scene: Two court ladies and three pages searching for young greens (wakana) in the snow

Robinson: S27.15

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 16

Poet: Chnagon Yukihira (Ariwara no Yukihira)

Scene: Attendants carrying a palanquin under the watchful eyes of a supervisor with a wooded hill in the background

Robinson: S27.16

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 17

Poet: Ariwara no Narihira Ason

Scene: Poet Ariwara no Narihira with a page beside the Tatsuta river viewing the autumn maples

Robinson: S27.17

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

 

Number: 18

Poet: Fujiwara no Toshiyuki Ason (藤原敏行朝臣)

Scene: Poet Fujiwara no Toshiyuki Ason dozing at his writing table by lamplight with a screen behind him

Robinson: S27.18

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

Number: 19

Poet: Lady Ise (伊勢)

Scene: Lady Ise with a fan in hand walking by the sea-shore with distant sailboats in the background

Robinson: S27.19

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

 

Number: 20

Poet: Prince Motoyoshi-shinn (元良親王)

Scene: Prince Motoyoshi-shinn and his lady by the Bay of Naniwa with distant sailboats in the background

Robinson: S27.20

 

The poem translates:

In this dire distress

my life is meaningless.

So we must meet now,

even though it costs my life

in the Bay of Naniwa.

 

I am grateful to Stuart Varnam-Atkin for this image.

Robinson refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.

 

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