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Hakata Culture vol.148


The Man'yōshū in Fukuoka

Illustration image

Reiwa, Japan’s newest era, has just begun and the name which means “beautiful harmony” was derived from a passage in the Man'yōshū, Japan's oldest anthology of lyrical poetry. One of the places mentioned in the Man'yōshū is Dazaifu, which is now a popular tourist destination. The Man'yōshū is a collection of poems written by people from all walks of life, from emperors to common farmers. It contains several poems from Chikushi (the old name of Fukuoka), including but not limited to Dazaifu. The following are just a few examples.



ちはやぶる 鐘の岬を過ぎぬとも 我は忘れじ志賀の皇神

I passed already

The raging Cape of Kane,

Yet I shall never

Forget the Imperial God

Of Shika, god of the sea.



Shikanoshima is another location that appears many times in the anthology. This poem is about praying at Shikaumi Shrine after passing through the dangerous waters around Cape Kanezaki in what is now Munakata. Today, there is a stone monument engraved with this poem on the shrine grounds.



神さぶる 荒津の崎に寄する波 間なくや妹に恋ひ渡りなむ

Just like the surges

Coming to the Aratsu Cape

As ancient as gods,

I long for my dearest maid

Restlessly and without cease.



This poem was written by one of the envoys dispatched to the Kingdom of Silla on the Korean peninsula as he left port in 736. According to this poem, the envoys departed from Cape Aratsu, which refers to the promontory where Nishi Park is now located. There is a stone monument engraved with this poem on the grounds of Nishi Park.




沖つ鳥 鴨とふ小舟の帰り来ば 也良の崎守早く告げこそ

When from the far sea

The ship called Kamo, Wild Drake,

Has at last returned,

Oh, watchers of Cape Yara,

Pray tell us quickly.




This poem is by Yamanoue no Okura, a poet closely associated with the Man'yōshū, about fishermen from Shikanoshima who were lost at sea. Yara refers to a promontory on Nokonoshima where sakimori (soldiers; lit., “cape-watchers”) were stationed. In total, Fukuoka is home to around 20 stone monuments with engravings of Man'yōshū poems. History and literature buffs might enjoy visiting them all to find their favorite one.




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福岡市内に残る万葉の香り

日本の新しい元号「令和」の時代が始まりました。令和は日本最古の和歌集とされる「万葉集」に由来し、その万葉集ゆかりの地である太宰府には多くの人が訪れています。万葉集は天皇から農民まで幅広い身分の人々の歌を集めたものです。福岡(筑紫)の歌たくさん収録されていますが、太宰府だけでなく福岡市内を舞台にした歌も多いのです。



ちはやぶる 鐘(かね)の岬を過ぎぬとも 我は忘れじ志賀の皇神(すめがみ)

〔恐ろしい難所の岬は過ぎたけれども、私は海路の無事を祈願した志賀の神様を忘れません〕



志賀島は万葉集にもよく登場する地名です。この歌は海の難所として知られた宗像市鐘崎の岬を超えるときに、志賀海神社に祈願した気持ちを歌ったもので、神社の境内に歌碑が立っています。



神(かむ)さぶる 荒津の崎に寄する波 間なくや妹(いも)に恋ひ渡りなむ

〔神々しい荒津の崎に寄せる波のように、絶え間なく妻を恋い慕い続けることであろうか〕



736年に新羅(しらぎ)に派遣された使節の一人が、出港するときに詠んだ歌です。荒津の崎は現在の西公園の突端にあり、ここから使節一行は出発したとされます。西公園に歌碑が立っています。



沖つ鳥 鴨とふ小舟の帰り来ば 也良(やら)の崎守(さきもり)早く告げこそ

〔沖にいる鳥、鴨という名前の船が帰って来たら、也良の防人よ早く伝えてくれ〕



海で遭難し、帰らぬ人となった志賀の荒雄にちなんで、万葉集にも関わりが深い山上憶良(やまのうえのおくら)が詠んだとされる歌です。也良は能古島の突端にある岬で、防人が置かれていました。


福岡市内には20近くの万葉歌碑があるとされます。お気に入りの歌を探して歌碑めぐりをするのも楽しいかもしれません。