Taiki: Kōji 2 {1143} 7.22 Entry

Translated by Yumi Kodama , Emily Warren, Tatyana Kostochka, Sachiko Kawai, Jillian Barndt, and Jitsuya Nishiyama

Twenty-second Day. Hinotono ushi 1 . Sunny and cloudy with occasional rain. Today, in front of Confucius’s portrait, I held a lecture on The Commentary of Zuo on the Spring and Autumn Annals < It was a private ceremony. >

On the previous day, the doctor of the almanac 2 Norihide was ordered to determine through divination the time and day {for the ceremony}. After this, the ceremony is to be performed on The Day of the Rat < Confucius’s birthday. Moreover, this corresponds to my birth year in the sexagenary cycle 3 .> From the first time {it was performed}, an auspicious day and time was chosen.

In this ceremony, Confucius’s portrait is hung on the northern screen in the first eastern bay of the southern room in the northwestern corridor’s main chamber connected to the Shinden 4 . < Facing south, like in the Royal University Ceremony.> 5

The table was set and food presented in front {of the portrait}. < There was fish. 6 > The round mat for the lecturer 7 was arranged on the southern side. Then, my seat of Korean brocade was arranged. For the literati and discussants, two tatami were arranged in the third bay from the east.

Currently, I am not meeting with those wearing mourning clothes or menstruating women. I am not having sex with women. I need not abstain from fish, Chinese onion, and wild chives, or with monks and nuns, however, earlier today, {I performed my} obeisance to the Kamo Deity 8 < Such is my monthly custom >, so I could not meet with monks and nuns. I bathed at sundown.< I did not wash my hair 9 .>

At the Hour of the Dog , I put on formal clothes . First, I performed obeisance to the Kamo deity.< Even without performing obeisance to the Kamo deity, I would have had to bathe. 10 > Having taken my seat, I paid respects to Confucius . Then, moving one or two steps east, I paid respects to Yan Hui 11 < twice >.

On my order, the eight literati < including the lecturer and the discussants > took their seats. < All of them wore casual dress 12 and caps and sat in two rows of four, facing each other in ascending order 13 from west to east. >

Distinguished graduate of the Royal University’s literature department Fujiwara no Narisuke < who is well-versed in the great meaning of all the Confucian classics > took the first scroll of The Commentary of Zuo and proceeded to the lecturer’s seat. His speech was so superb—it was indescribable. Everyone listened to his words with admiration. The lecture lasted a bit over two hours.

When it was done, Former Provincial Governor of Yamashiro, Sir Minamoto no Sanenaga raised {his issue.} < Following the rules of the biannual Memorial Rites to Confucius ceremony and the stylized debates at the Royal Palace {the day following such ceremonies}, each discussant raises only one topic. Correspondingly, there is also only one topic per discussant. > He asked about {associating the beginning of} summer with the fifth month 14 in the entry from the 22nd year of Duke Zhuang. There were three rounds of back and forth suggestions.< The matter was scrutinized once more after two rounds, at my order. >

When we were finished, Former Provisional Governor of Noto Sir Fujiwara no Takayoshi asked a different question. Over two rounds of back and forth examination they discussed an entry from the 30th year of Duke Xiang about {the shape of} the character 亥 (gai) and the apparent lack of the character 六 (roku) in its lower part 15 . Takayoshi wanted to interrogate the matter a little further, and with my permission, he briefly debated with the lecturer .

Both discussants had assigned seats {among the other literati} but did not sit there {during the discussion part}. When the ceremony was all done, the lecturer returned to his original seat {with the other literati}.

The tray for composition submissions was put out. <{For this purpose, an upside down} cover of a writing box {was used}. The literati, starting with those of the lowest rank, each wrote a Chinese poem {about the talk} 16 >. Courtier-without-post Sir Fujiwara no Tōakira took a seat on the round mat < that was the lecturer’s seat >. This reading went as usual. My humble self was the presenter. This is because Confucius was the host 17 . After the presentation finished, everyone returned to their seats. An emolument was bestowed on the lecturer and each of the discussants. 18

For the lecturer: six folding fans, ten writing brushes, and eight [sticks of] ink. < Each of these were bundled in mulberry paper and placed on top of an open fan, which was included in the total number of fans. >

For each discussant: two fans, five writing brushes, and three [sticks of] ink.

When finished, the lecturer and discussants wrote down the questions and answers. < These were written in different styles. > These texts were placed in a cabinet for future reference.

The following is the format for recording a poem.

In early autumn 19 , inspired by the lecture given in the presence of Confucius's image, I wrote:
A Poem on The Commentary of Zuo. 〈I wrote this line the same length as the first line. {This is} the convention of the House of Ōe. Because I am a disciple of the late Head of the Crown Prince’s Household (Minamoto no Moroyori), I followed the convention of the Ōe . other participants did not do the same.〉
   Inner Palace Minister Senior Second Rank Sir Fujiwara no Yorinaga 20

I omit the details {of the poetry} here. you should be able to imagine it.

Commentary of Zuo
Commentary of Gongyang
Commentary of Guliang
Book of Rites
Rites of Zhou
Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial
Book of Poems
Book of Documents
Book of Changes
Analects of Confucius
Book of Filial Piety
Laozi and Zhuangzi to be excluded.〉 21

For these, we will meet every time on the Day of the Rat.
  1. This is the fourteenth day in the sixty day cycle.

  1. The doctor of the almanac, or rekihakaze 暦博士, was calendrical specialist from the Yin-Yang Bureau.

  1. This corresponding year in the sexagenary zodiac cycle is called the honmyōnichi 本命日.

  1. This “master quarters of the palace” or the Shinden, is a central hall in a palace built in the shinden mode (shinden zukuri). It functioned both as a ceremonial location and living quarters. This translation is adapted from Mimi Yiengpruksawan, “Phoenix Hall and Symmetries of Replication,” The Art Bulletin Vol. 77, No. 4 (Dec. 1995): 7.

  1. The university held biannual Memorial Rites to Confucius (Sekiten). These rites were “one of the most purely Chinese of court rituals, which even involved animal sacrifices.” Officials performed memorial rites and then someone lectured on a select text. See Robert Borgen, Sugawara no Michizane and the Early Heian Court (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), 95.

  1. There is a possibility that the fish’s inclusion here is an established custom based on the Kongzi Jiayu. There is one story that famously concerns Confucius receiving a rotten fish from a fisherman and still emphasizing the value in performing sacrifices with it. For an analysis of the passage, see Roel Sterckx, “Confucius Eats” in Of Tripod and Palate: Food, Politics, and Religion in Traditional China, ed. Sterckx (New York: Palgrave, 2005), 51.

  1. The word for lecturer here is kōkyō 講経.

  1. He likely did such obeisances at home, not a shrine.

  1. The Heian nobleman wore oils in his hair and it was sculpted to go with the cap of his rank. It would have been troublesome for Yorinaga to wash his hair, given that he was going to participate in the ceremony soon after.

  1. In this case, Yorinaga would have had to bathe for the lecture and discussion event, even if he didn’t have a ceremony scheduled.

  1. Yan Hui’s name is not explicitly mentioned in the original text. The term that is used there can refer to any past teacher. However, in combination with Confucius and in the context of this ceremony, the term denotes Yan Hui specifically. Yan Hui (c. 521-481 BCE) was Confucius’s favorite disciple and is one of the most important figures in Confucianism. While there was an image of Confucius hanging at this ceremony, it is likely that there was no corresponding image of Yan Hui. So, Yorinaga moving to bow to Yan Hui was a symbolic gesture as if there had been such a portrait.

  1. Kariginu technically means hunting clothes but in the Heian period, kariginu became standard casual clothing for the nobility because of how relatively not restrictive it was.

  1. There are a number of different interpretations available here. It is possible that the literati are lined up in terms of official rank. It is also possible that they are lined up based on their expertise with the Chinese classics. It may even be a mix of the two types of orderings.

  1. The Commentary of Zuo mentions the beginning of the summer as the fifth month even though it would have made more sense to say it was the fourth month.

  1. The lower part of the character.

  1. Although this is not made clear in the text, Kurata Minoru suggests that the poems are about the preceding lecture. See Kurata Minoru, Ouchoubito no kon’in to shinkou 王朝人の婚姻と信仰 (Tokyo: Shinwasha, 2010), 289.

  1. Presenters are typically of lower rank. Even though Yorinaga is very highly ranked, he took on this responsibility as a way to pay respect to the fact that the celebration was being carried out in honor of Confucius.

  1. A gift given to participants of a ceremony—something between payment and a gift. (Kambun Workshop 2007)

  1. Specifically the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

  1. This is the signature on his poem. The signature comes before the poem, rather than after it.

  1. Yorinaga was not interested in Daoist teachings, although such works were required reading in the university. It is likely Yorinaga chose to exclude them to his own personal interests.

Original Text 原文











左伝  公羊  穀梁  礼記  周礼  儀礼
詩   書   周易  論語  孝経 〈除老・荘、〉


Kundoku 訓読



余、今日、服者ぶくしゃ及び月水女げっすいにょわず。身は女犯にょぼんせず。但し 魚・おおみらひる等は憚はばからず、僧尼そうにはばからず。但し今日は先に賀茂拝かもはいあり。〈毎月の恒例事こうれいじ、〉仍って僧尼に逢わず。日昏ひぐれて浴す。〈もくすることなし。〉






For full Japanese notes, click here.

Modern Japanese 現代語訳

二十二日、<ひのとうし。>晴れたり曇ったり、そして雨も時々降った。今日、文宣王ぶんせんのう[孔子] の{御}影の前で、『春秋左氏伝』を講じ論じた。<内々の儀式である。>前もって、暦博士憲栄 [賀茂]に日時{の吉凶}を調べさせた。これ以後は、毎度、子の日<孔子が生まれた日である。しかも私の生まれた年の干支に当たる>にこの儀を行うべきである。{しかし今回は}初めてなので、吉日に行う。<{釈奠の}まつりは丁ひのとの日におこなわれる。{この講経は釈奠と同じように}丁寧に行う。>




それが終わって、私と烏帽子の格好で、東を上座として 向かい合って座った。〉次に、文章得業生で〈中国の古典全ての重要な意義に精通している。〉藤原成佐が『左伝』の第一巻を持ち、言葉を失った。参加者達は耳をそばだてて、感嘆し賛美した。経書の講説が二時間余りあった。


次に、儀式で講経の人の座であったところである。〉に着席した。詩を読み上げるやり方等は、いつもの通りである。小生は講師{= 詩を読み上げる役}を担当した。が主席だったからである。詩を読み終わって、それぞれが座に戻った。講師と問者に禄を渡した。

講師こうじには扇 六枚・筆 十本・墨八個。〈それぞれ檀紙だんしで包み、扇の上に置いた。その扇は六枚の内に含まれる。〉問者にはそれぞれ扇二枚・筆五本・墨三個。




 左氏伝・公羊伝・穀梁伝・礼記・周礼・儀礼・詩経・書経・周易・論語 ・孝経〈老子・荘子は除外する。〉