The Emperor’s Cherry Birch Bow

Nakatsu Sumera Mikoto (died ~665 AD)
The emperor is kind
in the morning;
in the evening
he gathers us close.
He has a favorite
cherry birch bow:
we hear its sound
even from here.
He might leave soon
for morning
hunting,
or he might leave soon
for evening
hunting.
But we always hear
the bowstring sound 
of his favorite
cherry birch bow.



Original Text

Modern Text

Pronunciation

中皇命
中皇命
Nakatsu Sumera Mikoto
八隅知之
やすみしし
Yasumi shishi
我大王乃
我が大君の
Waga ookimi no
朝庭
朝には
Ashita niha
取撫賜
取り撫でたまひ
Torinade tamai
夕庭
夕には
Yue niha
伊縁立之
い寄り立たしし
Iyori-tata shishi
御執乃
み執らしの
Mitorashi no
梓弓之
梓の弓の
Azusa no Yumi no
奈加弭乃
中弭の
Nakahazu no
音為奈利
音すなり
Oto-su nari
朝猟尓
朝猟に
Asagari ni
今立須良思
今立たすらし
Ima tatasurashi
暮猟尓
夕猟に
Yu-gari ni
今他田渚良之
今立たすらし
Ima tatasurashi
御執<>
み執らしの
Mitorashino
<>弓之
梓の弓の
Azusa no yumi no
奈加弭乃
中弭の
Nakahazu no
音為奈里
音すなり
Oto-su nari

Translation Notes


Manyoshu Vol. 1, No. 3

Written by Nakasumera no Mikoto, while emperor was hunting
in the field. She may have been Empress Kougyoku-Saimei, but is more likely to
be her daughter, Princess Hashihito (Edwin A. Cranston, A Waka Anthology).
やすみしし
this word always leads 大君 and
doesn’t really have specific meaning
我が大君の
Our emperor
朝には
In the morning
取り撫でたまひ
(he) gives very much affection
(lit. takes caresses)
(たまい = from this
verb, we can say that the subjective on this sentence is emperor)
夕には
In the evening
い寄り立たしし
takes it close to him
(comes to meet)
み執らしの
his favorite
梓の弓の
Japanese cherry birch bow
中弭の
the sounds of string
音すなり
we can hear (even from here)
(なり = certainly)
朝猟に
for morning hunting
今立たすらし
he might be about to leave now
(らし I assume)
夕猟に
for evening hunting
今立たすらし
he might be about to leave now
(らし I
assume
み執らしの
his favorite
梓の弓の
Japanese cherry birch bow
中弭の
the sounds of string
音すなり
we can hear (even we are not there)(なり=certainly



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