(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Jakuzen, Houmon-hyakushu, Imayo, Lotus Sutora
Jakuzen’s “Houmon-hyakushu” contains a hundred waka poems composed on the theme of Buddhist sutras. All the poems are annotated. This is a highly unusual style in the history of waka poetry.
It has already been pointed out that the poems in this collection take Buddhist scripture as their theme. This essay investigates how particular themes were selected from among the many Buddhist scriptures.
Jakuzen is famous as a traditional poet, but he also composed imayo (“new style” songs that were popular at that time), which were included in collection called Yuishinbou-shu. Considering the depth of his involvement in the production of imayo, it is no surprise that they had an influence on his waka poems.
Analysis of Jakuzen’s waka poetry reveals similarities between the expressions in his Imayo and the annotations he wrote for his waka poems. Houmon-hyakushu also uses some words that appear in imayo but are not usually used in waka poems.
This essay suggests that imayo may provide one clue to understanding the process by which themes were chosen for the poetry in Houmon-hyakushu.