Lady Kii’s “Coquettish waves” (Hyakunin Isshu #72)

Translation
By Lady Kii (Yushi Naishinno-ke no Kii, 1087-1109)
I’ve heard the sound
Of Takeshi Beach’s
Coquettish waves—
And I will not venture
Lest I wet my sleeves
Original Japanese
Pronunciation
祐子内親王家紀伊
Yushi Naishinno-ke no Kii
音にきく
Oto ni kiku
高師の浜の
Takashi no hama no
あだ浪は
Adanami wa
かけじや袖の
Kakeji ya sode no
ぬれもこそすれ
Nure mo koso sure
Literal Notes
Sound hear [i.e., know their fame]
Takashi ’s beach ’s
[Vain/futile/foe/enemy/coquettish-woman] wave
[Soar/fly/run/dash/wage/risk/gamble] no and sleeve
Wet this/indeed do/be
Takashi Beach is near Osaka and was famous for its waves. “Ada” means “vain/futile” but can also be “coquettish woman,” thus a wordplay symbolizing flirtation. However, the waves come and go, thus her suitor is not reliable. Sleeves are an emblem of love and wetting the sleeves is a common Japanese poetic symbol for wiping off the tears.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.