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和歌ブログ [Japanese Waka]

国文系大学院生がひたすら和歌への愛を語る記録

Japanese Waka-Love Dream : If it is a dream, it was better not to meet – Yumeyoyume koishikihitoni aimisuna sametenonochini wabishikarikeri.

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  Unknown subject
Yumeyoyume koishikihitoni aimishuna sametenonochini wabishikarikeri. 
(The Shūi Wakashū (Love 2), Unknown subject, Unknown author, 709,11c)

 

日本語(Japanese)

 

Translation into modern Japanese

Unknown subject

Alas, dream, Please don't let me meet my lover. When I wake up, (I cannot stand to realise it was a dream and) it is very disconsolate.

 

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Detailed explanation of the contents

A simple word is more difficult to translate (into a modern Japanese).  I mean how I shall translate ¨わびしかりけり (wabishikarikeri).¨   The first key word is ¨Wabishi¨, I looked it up in ¨Nihon kokugo dai jiten (famous Japanese dictionary published by Shogakukan)¨. It means: 1) disappointing and mentally fall out; 2) downhearted, disconsolate; 3) Not enough; and so on. I think I don't have to explain the word but advise you to feel it if you have the similar experience.  Any of the above translations (in the dictionary) can be fine but I picked ¨disconsolate (2)¨.

 

The second key word is ¨けり (keri)¨, again, I looked it up in ¨Nihon kokugo dai jiten¨. Oh, I see.

The word means: 1) to notice something which has existed but never noticed before. A new discovery, ¨….has been there,¨ ¨...was there.¨ 2) It's been noticed as just a phenomenon but the reason of that existence was not understood. Under some conditions, the cause of the existence of the phenomenon is discovered and understood.  An Enlightenment; ¨that's why ….has been there¨, ¨for some reason, ...was there¨. 

In other word, ¨けり (keri)¨ is used to express a discovery with a comprehension of ¨I see, that was it!¨ It is called a ¨past auxiliary verb¨ because a discovery is a past matter. I discovered that (to notice that was only a dream) was disconsolate (in this waka context).

 

Having said that, I wonder what the author noticed.  He/she noticed that he/she hadn't actually met with the lover, but also, the phrase, as ¨wabishikarikeri¨ suggests, he/she discovered that he/she was disconsolate about seeing a dream of his/her lover. 'Oh, I am so  disconsolate about the dream. I've realised how I am deeply in love!', he/she notice this for the first time. How hopeless idiot! We don't know if they are actually in a relation or not from this poem, maybe, the lover can only be with he/her in the dream. 

 

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                        (English translation by BCat.)

 

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