Notes / 注釈

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The confusion between dream and reality (yume and utsutsu) is a common metaphor for the illusory and transient nature of this life. Here, in the thematic opening song (shidai) the waki questions whether simply taking religious vows is enough to allow one to attain enlightenment.

Ichinotani is the place on the Japan sea near Suma where Kumagae killed Atsumori. It is located in present-day Kobe.

This is the first of many phrases in this play taken from the Suma chapter of The Tale of Genji.

A line from Shûishû poem 567 by Hitomaro, in which the speaker asks that the grass not be cut so that it could serve as feed for the horse of an expected lover. Another version of the poem appears as Manyôshû poem 1291.

A variation on Kokinshû poem 962 by Ariwara no Yukihira.

An allusion to the Japanese preface to the Kokinshû, which states that even close friends desert those who fall in status.

A phrase from a Chinese poem by Ki no Seimei, which appears as poem 559 in the Wakan rôeishû: "When the sun sets on mountains roads / the sounds of foresters' songs (shôka) and shepherds' pipes (bokuteki) fill the ear. / When the birds return to valley nests, / the tints of bamboo smoke and pine mist obstruct the vision." The sinicized terms shôka and bokuteki are replaced in the next line in the play with the Japanese terms ashikari no fue (grass cutters' flutes) and kikori no uta (woodsmen's songs).

This phrase, ukiyo o wataru hitofushi, was used in the kusemai Saikoku kudari composed by a poet known as Tamarin to describe the songs of female entertainers. This play borrows other phrases from this kusemai.

Flutes and other valuable instruments were often named. According to The Tale of the Heike, Tender Branch (saeda) was the name of the flute Atsumori carried with him to his death; however, other sources claim the flute was called Green Leaf (aoba).

Sumiyoshi, in present-day Osaka, was a port frequented by ships from Korea. "Korean" flutes (koma-fue) are used in court music (gagaku).

Taki-sashi; the Suma seafolk burned firewood to boil down brine for salt. There is reference in book 10 of Jikkinshô, a thirteenth-century anthology of tales, to a flute called Charred Head (kashira-taki).

Based on a passage in Kanmuryôjukyô, a basic sutra of Pure Land Buddhism which describes meditations centering on Amida.

This passage draws on poem 270 in the Kinyôshû by Minamoto Kanemasa (fl. early twelfth century). In the Suma chapter of The Tale of Genji, the exiled hero is also awakened by the cries of plovers. Here the sound of plovers is a metaphor for the voice of the praying priest.

Based on a couplet by Po Chü-i included in the Wakan rôeishû as poem 291:

"The pine has a thousand years, yet in the end it dies; /the rose of sharon a single day, for it to enjoy its glory."

The Nagato version of the Tale of the Heike states: "A generation (hito mukashi) used to last 33 years, but now it's only 21." It was 23 years from the first Heike uprising of 1160 until the Heike fled the capital in 1183.

Based on The Tale of the Heike, book 7, "Now it was clear to every eye that adversity and happiness follow the same path, that prosperity and decline are as a turn of the hand. Who could help feeling pity? Once, in Hôgen, they had flourished like springtime blossom; now, in Juei, they fell like autumn leaves" (McCullough, 1988: 246).

This phrase and eight others in the kuse were listed in an early handbook by Yoshimoto Nijô (1320-88) as appropriate phrases (yoriai) from the Suma chapter of The Tale of Genji to use in linked verse (Wada 1976: 5 and Goff 1991: 64-66). The kuse also borrows from the kusemai Saikoku kudari.

Based on book 10 of The Tale of the Heike, where the phrases refer to a Heike clansman, Shigehira, who was captured by the Genji: "Must not his thoughts, fretful as a caged bird longing for the clouds, find themselves afloat on the southern seas a thousand leagues distant? Must not his feelings, sad as those of a homing goose lost from its fellows. . . ." (McCullough, 1988: 331).

This statement and the following description of Atsumori's death are based on the account given in The Tale of the Heike (McCullough, 1988: 315-17).

In the Kanze school, the shite throws down his fan and draws his sword here.

The ren of the priest's name is written with the character for lotus.