One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each Explained by the Nurse (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki), Ki no Tomonori

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai θ‘›ι£ΎεŒ—ζ–Ž (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1835-1836
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 25.8 x 37.8 cm (10 3/16 x 14 7/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


boat, cherry blossom, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hanshita-e, Japan
Provenance research underway.

The poet Ki no Tomonori (circa 850-905) assisted in compiling the Kokinshu (Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems).

hisakata no  In these spring days
hikari nodokeki  with the tranquil light encompassing
haru no hi ni  the four directions
shizu-kokoro naku  why should the blossoms scatter
hana no chiruramu  with uneasy hearts?

In Hokusai's illustration, the phrase haru no hi, meaning "days of spring," seems to have been interpreted as "fires of spring." Both day(s) and fire(s) have the same sound, hi, in Japanese. As cherry blossoms fall like snow from the tree above, workers apply pitch to the bottoms of boats brought ashore for the winter.

(Translation by Joshua Mostow, Pictures of the Heart. University of Hawaii Press, 1996, 240)

Published References
  • Peter Morse, Clay MacCauley. Hokusai: One Hundred Poets., 1st ed. New York. pp. 84-85.
  • Ann Yonemura, Nagata Seiji, Kobayashi Tadashi, Asano Shugo, Timothy Clark, Naito Masatoshi. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 151, p. 102.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 74, p. 108.
  • Joshua Mostow. Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin-isshu in Word and Image. Honolulu. pp. 240-01.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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