Abstract

This article examines Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara (Katsugen shiwa 葛原詩話, 1787, 1804), a Japanese reference work for Sinitic poets that comments on unusual vocabulary and subject matter mainly gathered from Tang and Song sources. Written by the Tendai Buddhist priest and celebrated Sinitic poet Rikunyo 六如 (1734–1801), Katsugen shiwa draws on both intralingual and interlingual translational techniques to engage with Sinitic texts and clarify their meaning to a Japanese readership. With intralingual techniques such as substitution, paraphrase, or expansion into more readily intelligible Sinitic, Rikunyo engaged in approaches identical to the Ming and Qing commentators whose annotations he referenced; his interlingual translation approaches included not only standard kundoku but explicit appeals to Japanese vernacular. The article shows in concrete terms how Rikunyo (as well as two other scholars who wrote fierce, point-by-point critiques of Katsugen shiwa) made use of these dual translation strategies.

Residents of the Japanese archipelago have been avid readers of classical Chinese texts in a great many genres from the very origins of literacy down to the present day. To varying degrees over the centuries, they have also been enthusiastic creators of such texts. Poetry in classical Chinese forms (what is now called kanshi 漢詩) flourished spectacularly from the early ninth century (when the Japanese royal court commissioned several anthologies of Sinitic verse written by Japanese literati) to the nineteenth century (when a much larger number of geographically dispersed Japanese poets published commercially viable texts catering to a tremendously expanded readership for Sinitic poetry). This article examines how authors from the latter half of the early modern period (1603–1868) conceptualized and discussed the reception and composition of Sinitic poetry. What strategies—including forms of interlingual and intralingual translation—did they use to make Sinitic poetry intelligible to a readership that did not speak Chinese (or had varying degrees of competence with Literary Sinitic)? “Reading by gloss” or “vernacular reading” 訓讀 (Jp. kundoku), a semisystematized process by which a text in Literary Sinitic can be construed through the Japanese vernacular, according to Japanese syntax and pronunciation, was clearly one central means by which the majority of Japanese individuals of the period engaged with Sinitic poetry. How did they understand this interlingual practice? And how should we think about it? What additional interventions were available when conventional kundoku approaches alone proved insufficient to clarify the meaning of a term or usage? What do their writings tell us about how they perceived the borders between the Japanese and Chinese languages?

The large body of literary commentary known as shiwa (詩話, “remarks on poetry” or “poetry talks”) can shed important light on these sorts of questions. At the risk of stating the obvious, what shi 詩 means here is not poetry in general—as it does today—but traditional Sinitic shi poetry specifically: the classical modes of expression with roots in ancient China that linked intellectuals throughout the Sinographosphere into modern times.1 The genre of “remarks on poetry” flourished for centuries throughout East Asia, where the same Sinitic compound was pronounced as Jp. shiwa, Ch. shihua, V. thi thoại, or K. sihwa. Written in most cases by a single author, these texts typically cite notable or exemplary works of Sinitic poetry and offer criticism, evaluation, and interpretation, thus combining features of an anthology and a poetic treatise. The first shiwa by a Japanese author appeared in the thirteenth century with the Saihoku shiwa 済北詩話 of Zen priest Kokan Shiren 虎関師錬 (1278–1346). But aside from this early exception, the shiwa genre came to flourish in Japan many centuries later, during the mid-to-late Edo period, when Chinese exemplars such as Yan Yu's 嚴羽 (ca. 1192–ca. 1245) Canglang shihua (滄浪詩話) were reprinted with Japanese reading marks and other annotations, and Japanese Sinitic poets began to publish their own treatises in increasing numbers.2 Around sixty Japanese shiwa (mostly compiled from the late seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century) are widely known and easily accessible today, having been reproduced in Nihon shiwa sōsho, a ten-volume compilation of Japanese remarks on poetry that was first published in the 1920s (Ikeda 1920–22; hereafter cited as NSS).

The category of Japanese shiwa is a diverse one, including works written in Literary Sinitic as well as works in Japanese. The nature of these texts ranges from highly specialized works that addressed readers thoroughly familiar with the canons of Sinitic poetry to introductory texts that targeted readers with comparatively little background knowledge. But regardless of the linguistic form of the text, its scholarly level, or its implied audience, shiwa all quote extensively from Sinitic verse (whether originating in China, Japan, or elsewhere in the Sinographic sphere) and offer analysis and discussion that often draws on intralingual or interlingual translation techniques. In an influential essay on translation first published in 1959, Roman Jakobson ([1959] 1987: 429) defined intralingual translation as “rewording . . . an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs of the same language”; he distinguished this operation from interlingual translation, or “translation proper . . . an interpretation of verbal signs by means of some other language.”3 Since its appearance, Jakobson's typology has been criticized on any number of grounds, but the basic distinction between translational operations made within the same verbal code and those made outside that verbal code has proven productive even in the work of scholars who have called attention to the inherent difficulty of drawing neat borders between different languages.4 Applying Jakobson's basic distinction to Japanese annotators' engagements with Sinitic poetry can help to clarify the nature of the scholars' interventions and show how they drew on the multiple resources available to them to explicate Sinitic texts for their readers. By intralingual, I have in mind cases where a certain word or phrase in a Sinitic poem is clarified by means of another word or phrase in Literary Sinitic. By interlingual translation approaches I have in mind cases where a word, phrase, or structure is explained through Japanese: whether by supplying a specific Japanese gloss to the problematic phrase or by more elaborate explanations of that phrase and its surrounding context through the Japanese vernacular. These shiwa thus offer a useful body of material for thinking about issues of linguistic engagement, translation, and the relationship between the local and the cosmopolitan in the Sinographosphere.

In his brief outline of Japanese shiwa, Fujikawa Hideo (1991) identifies five categories of shiwa: introductory works that address practical questions about the craft of Sinitic versification; tendentious works that argue for a particular vision of Sinitic poetic expression; works of annotation that explicate difficult phrases in Sinitic poetry; works that trace the history of Japanese Sinitic verse; and works that gather Sinitic verse from China and Japan (or elsewhere) and provide commentary. At the center of this article are remarks on poetry of the third type: works that, rather like an annotated lexicon or a topical dictionary suitable for browsing, attempt to explicate the meaning of particular words or phrases in Sinitic poetry. It focuses on the extensive remarks on poetry produced by the Tendai Buddhist priest Rikunyo 六如 (1734–1801), one of the most celebrated Sinitic poets of Japan's early modern era.

Rikunyo and His Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara

Scholars often discuss the Sinitic poetry of Japan's Edo period (1603–1867) in terms of a rough three-part periodization: the formative seventeenth century (which saw the spread of Zhu Xi Confucianism and where poetic expression was accorded a decidedly secondary role), the first half of the eighteenth century (when Sinitic poetic expression made inroads far beyond the Confucian scholarly sphere and Ming classicists' veneration for High Tang models carried the day), and the late eighteenth to nineteenth century (where High Tang models gave way to Song and other, more diverse, sources of inspiration). In this admittedly simplified schema, Rikunyo typically figures as a vanguard figure who accelerated the transition from the second to the third period. The modern scholar of Chinese literature Kurokawa Yōichi (1990: 388, 407), for example, sees Rikunyo and his contemporary Kan Chazan 菅茶山 (1748–1827) as “the greatest . . . even among the vast number of Sinitic poets” active in Japan around the turn of the eighteenth century; he argues that several of Rikunyo's later “masterpieces . . . represent the peak of Sinitic poetry in Edo period Japan.”5

Born to a family of physicians based in Ōmi Province (present-day Shiga Prefecture), Rikunyo (also known by his clerical name, Jishū 慈周) was sent to study under the priest Jimon 慈門 at Zenkōin 善光院 on Mount Hiei, where he took the tonsure at the age of ten in 1744. Over the next several decades, Rikunyo moved several times between Kyoto and Edo, engaging in study and instruction at temples in both regions. During the first of his three multiyear periods of residence in Edo, he studied the Ming classicist–influenced approach of the ancient phraseology 古文辭 (Jp. kobunji; Ch. guwenci) school under Miyase Ryūmon 宮瀬龍門 (1720–71). We know that Rikunyo assembled some of his own Sinitic poems into a collection titled Sekijōshū 赤城集 around 1757 because a preface intended for the collection survives in his teacher Ryūmon's prose writings. This early poetry collection itself, however, is not extant, and it is thought that Rikunyo may have discarded this initial compilation as his own poetic tastes evolved. Eventually, Rikunyo would decisively reject the ancient phraseology style of poetry that had swept over Japan in the first half of the eighteenth century. Extended stays in Edo during the 1760s and 1770s had brought Rikunyo into contact with Inoue Kinga 井上金峨 (1732–84) and others who criticized the imitativeness of High Tang models that characterized the ancient phraseology school (Kurokawa 1990: 399–400).6 In 1783, Rikunyo published Rikunyoan shishō 六如菴詩鈔, a six-book collection of his Sinitic poetry that reflects his emerging interest in Song poetry.

Rikunyo is known as one of the foremost composers of Sinitic poetry in early modern Japan, but he is also remembered for his wide-ranging scholarship on poetic language: work that was compiled as Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara (Katsugen shiwa 葛原詩話; hereafter cited as Remarks). The text's title takes its name from Makuzugahara 真葛が原, the site in eastern Kyoto where Rikunyo went into reclusion toward the end of his life. First published in 1787, the initial installment of the work comprises four volumes; as its postscript explains, it was edited by Rikunyo's associate Tan Shunsō 端春荘 (1732–90) from Rikunyo's more than twenty volumes of scholarly notes and philological reflections on Sinitic poetry, supplemented by additional information Shunsō had gleaned from conversations with Rikunyo.7 Both this postscript and an additional preface contributed by Kyoto-based Confucian scholar Iwagaki Ryūkei 巌垣龍渓 (1741–1808) emphasize the genesis of Katsugen shiwa as investigative memoranda concerning Sinitic vocabulary that Rikunyo had originally jotted down for his own benefit and without much of a wider audience in mind. A few years after his death, an additional four volumes containing Rikunyo's further consideration of new terms and new questions, as well as some corrections and expansions of comments presented in the initial series, were published as Later Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara (Katsugen shiwa kōhen 葛原詩話後編, 1804; hereafter cited as Later Remarks).8 The preface contributed to the latter work by physician and scholar of Sinitic poetry Hata Kisshū 畑橘洲 (1765–1832) describes Rikunyo enthusiastically continuing his scholarship into his final years even as his health declined, often inviting Kisshū and Kan Chian 菅恥庵 (1768–1800) to his home to discuss poetry and showing them his compositions. The text of this second installment was apparently prepared by Chian on the basis of Rikunyo's notes and remarks. As in the prefaces that appeared in the first installment of Remarks, Kisshū's preface to the posthumously published work likewise situates Rikunyo as a champion of Song poetry and an opponent of the “poison” of a narrowly defined Ming classicism that revered only ancient phraseology and rejected any post-Tang works from consideration. An analysis of the Chinese poems Rikunyo references in his Remarks indeed confirms that he quotes most frequently from two Song poets: Yang Wanli 楊萬里 (1127–1206) and Lu You 陸游 (1125–1210). Yet Rikunyo's clear affinity for Song styles was far from exclusive, as the Tang poets Du Fu 杜甫 (712–70) and Bai Juyi 白居易 (772–846) are next most common in frequency, and as Matsushita Tadashi (1969: 526) argues, the fact that Rikunyo draws his examples from Ming and Qing writers as well shows the broad “eclecticism” of his tastes.

As mentioned above, Remarks clearly belongs to the third category in Fujikawa's typology: a shiwa that explicates specific phrases in Sinitic poetry. Whereas other types of shiwa present a systematic argument, sketch a clear narrative, or profile noteworthy poets, Rikunyo's Remarks consists entirely of his reflections on obscure vocabulary or poetic subject matter that piqued his interest. Its contents range widely. There are more than eight hundred individual topics addressed in the more than six hundred entries contained in the work's two installments. Ranging in length from a single sentence to a page or two, each entry considers and attempts to elucidate one or more related words, grammatical usages, or cultural phenomena that readers and composers of Literary Sinitic poetry might encounter in Chinese texts. These entries reveal Rikunyo's idiosyncratic interests as well as his catholic reading habits, including primary sources of Chinese poetry from pre-Qin antiquity all the way down to contemporary Qing poets, the copious scholarly annotations made on these materials over the centuries, as well as a wealth of other general reference works.

There is no overarching principle organizing the sequence of topics in Rikunyo's Remarks. Occasionally, two or three entries on a similar subject might be found clustered together, as when Rikunyo takes up poetic terms for particular flora or fauna and investigates whether the specific referents of a given sinographic term are the same across the region.9 But on the whole, the text eschews any systematic presentation of its content, instead passing desultorily from one issue to the next. Sometimes it is uncommon subject matter that catches Rikunyo's attention. At one point, he introduces Sinitic poems he has come across that mention eyeglasses, for example, and at another, he investigates different words used in reference to tobacco in sinographic texts.10 Sometimes it is an unusual feature of sinographic writing that is the focus of Rikunyo's interest, such as where he introduces a fun fact he has learned about the graph for “goose” 鵞 (Ch. e; Jp. ga) from his friend Nagata Kanga 永田観鵞 (1738–92), whose own sobriquet gave him a personal stake in the matter: “Nagata Kanga states that Pin zi jian 品字箋 [Annotated lexicon] cites Gu Yanwu's statement that ‘In general, the only character from antiquity to the present for which you can write [the components] vertically or horizontally, left or right, is ‘goose.’ It can be written 鵞, 䳗, 鵝, or 䳘” (NSS 4: 134).11 Or, in this item that kicks off the third volume, Rikunyo notes that the contemporary practice of fashioning dentures was also known six centuries earlier during Lu You's time:

Nowadays, when a person's teeth become scattered and sparse, replacement teeth can be fashioned out of some material such as fang, horn, wood, or stone, and these are called ireba (dentures). In a poem by Lu You are the lines:

Choosing a gravesite and preparing a coffin diminish my joy 卜塚治棺輸我快 
Dyeing whiskers and fitting teeth: I laugh at man’s folly. 染鬚種齒笑人癡 

In the poet's own annotation is “Recently, I hear that there are physicians who make their living by fitting supplements for fallen teeth.” He is also referring to dentures here. (NSS 4: 115)

While spectacles, tobacco, and dentures were relatively new elements of East Asian material culture, Rikunyo also occasionally explores how even the most mundane and familiar features of the natural world might also be novel in the context of literary arts: “We are always tormented by mosquitoes during the summer months, and yet it is rare for them to appear in poetic compositions” he observes, and then cites a few Tang and Song poems he had encountered where mosquitoes, in their more elegant guise as “white birds” 白鳥 (Ch. bainiao; Jp. hakuchō), make an appearance (NSS 4: 100).12

These wide-ranging tidbits of topical trivia notwithstanding, the vast majority of Rikunyo's entries in Katsugen shiwa focus on obscure vocabulary items or relatively unfamiliar grammatical patterns and show him grappling with how to make sense of them and how best to convey this information to his readers. What can these sorts of entries from Rikunyo's Remarks tell us about how Sinitic poetry, particularly the language in which it was written (Literary Sinitic), was conceived and engaged with by early modern Japanese practitioners of Sinitic verse? Rikunyo draws on a host of techniques to clarify the meaning of the words he considers, but these can be broadly divided into two basic types: intralingual approaches that operate at the level of substitutions, expansions, or simple rearrangements of the original Sinitic text (and which would be readily intelligible to any reader with knowledge of Literary Sinitic), and interlingual approaches that clarify the meaning of the original Sinitic text with explicit recourse to Japanese, whether at the level of discrete vocabulary items, phrases, or entire sentences. Sometimes both types of approach are used in concert. I should note that as a rule, the published text of Remarks also provides minimal kunten reading marks when any primary or secondary Sinitic source is quoted. These annotations mainly indicate sequences of syntactic reordering and furnish grammatical particles, assisting a Japanese reader familiar with Literary Sinitic grammar, Sinitic vocabulary, and the conventions of kundoku to construe the text in Japanese. Reading according to such marks is undoubtedly an interlingual operation, but let me be clear: this sort of baseline annotation of cited Sinitic texts is not the kind of interlingual translation I focus on in this article. Rather, I use the term interlingual glossing in this article to refer to Rikunyo's more explicitly marked appeals to Japanese vocabulary, particularly his pointed use of Japanese lexical items that depart from kundoku conventions. Conversely, I use the term intralingual to refer to the attempts Rikunyo and his contemporaries made to explicate Sinitic terms through Sinitic paraphrase, expansion, and rearrangement. Here, the technique they employed was analogous to that of xungu 訓詁 (Jp. kunko) philological annotation as practiced by Chinese scholars working to explicate Chinese texts of earlier eras. In some cases, Rikunyo's Sinitic restatements also include minimal kunten annotations indicating how that Sinitic restatement could be construed through kundoku, but for the purposes of this article it is best to see these annotations as part of the text's default provision of kunten for all of the Sinitic texts it includes. My focus here is rather on the “intralingual” elements of Rikunyo's use of Sinitic, for even if the Sinitic restatement he provided was also subject to some level of interlingual annotation, the Sinitic remained intact and intelligible to non-Japanese-speaking individuals.13

Intralingual and Interlingual Glossing in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara

Intralingual glossing is one of Rikunyo's most basic techniques of explication in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara. Consider, for example, his discussion of the term 沈年 (Ch. chennian; Jp. chinnen), which he cites from the following couplet by Du Fu:14

Meeting severe cold and hunger are not enough to shame me, 酷見凍餒不足恥 
But with numerous ailments all year long, I suffer from infirmity. 多病沈年苦無健 (NSS 4: 23–24) 

To explain this unfamiliar term, translated above as “all year long,” Rikunyo first quotes annotations to the Du Fu poem by Qiu Zhao'ao 仇兆鰲 (1638–1717) that identify the term 沈年 as equivalent to 終年 (Ch. zhongnian; Jp. shūnen; “the whole year”). In this case, he makes use of the technique of intralingual substitution, replacing the obscure term with a more readily understood equivalent. Here, we see the process operating at the level of a compound word, but Rikunyo then goes on to explain the basis of the intralingual gloss at the level of the compound word's constituent graphs. He draws on annotations to the Chinese dynastic history Han shu 漢書 (History of the [former] Han) that furnish an intermediary substitution: establishing an equivalence between 沈 and 没, both of which can mean “to sink” or “to fade,” to make Qiu's analogy of 没 to 終, both of which can mean “to end,” more readily understandable.15

A similar technique of intralingual replacement of one graph for another can be seen in an entry in which Rikunyo recounts visiting a friend's house one day and seeing a painting hanging on the wall that depicts the Tang poet Meng Haoran 孟浩然 (689–740). The painting is accompanied by a quatrain as well as a puzzling inscription that is the focus of Rikunyo's attention: 丁巳季冬古呉戴纓撫霅川錢舜舉筆. The meaning of this brief inscription is clear except for the portion I render below in italics: it indicates that “in the twelfth month of the fifty-fourth year of the cycle, Dai Ying of Old Wu (i.e., Suzhou) did something (撫) to the brushwork (筆) of Qian Shunju (i.e., Qian Xuan 錢選, 1235–1305) of Zhachuan.” As Rikunyo confesses after quoting the inscription, “I did not understand what was meant in saying 撫筆.” Only later, when he comes across another instance of the verb 撫 in a funereal inscription by Wang Shizhen 王士禛 (1634–1711) stating that the deceased was “喜撫晋帖 fond of 撫-ing Jin copybooks” does he begin to realize that 撫 might mean something like “trace” or “copy.” He then appends the comments of one of his associates, Sawada Tōkō 沢田東江 (1732–96), who explains that 撫 can be used as an equivalent to 摸 (to touch or to copy) and notes that dictionaries and rhyme manuals provide the fanqie 反切 pronunciation of this graph as 蒙逋切 and indicate its potential equivalence to the graphic variant 摹 (NSS 4: 74–75).16

In addition to such substitutions of one graph with another, a second type of intralingual glossing approach found in Rikunyo's Remarks involves the rearrangement of a Sinitic phrase to conform more closely with normative syntax. In discussing instances where the word 否 is used at the beginning or in the middle of a line, Rikunyo cites the following couplet by the Qing poet Zhao Bin 趙賓:

The immortal realm of Penglai lies right nearby you, 蓬萊君咫尺 
Has it, or no, a recluse's blue islet dwelling?17 果否有滄洲 

Rikunyo explains that the second line of this couplet has the same meaning as the slightly rearranged 果有滄洲否, a form that is more readily intelligible to his readers. Yet another type of intralingual glossing involves the explication of a troublesome turn of phrase as a compressed or abbreviated form of a more readily intelligible expression. In these cases, the intralingual explanation involves providing the expanded form. In a section on reduplicated graphs, for example, Rikunyo notes that an instance such as 一声声 can be understood as an abbreviated form of 一声一声 (NSS 4: 24). Similarly, in another entry discussing various uses of 許, Rikunyo refers to the second line of the following Du Fu couplet in which the poet describes a gift of cherries he has received:

Several times he carefully poured, concerned they would be smashed; 數迴細寫愁仍破 
Ten thousand round kernels; I'm surprised they are so similar.18 萬顆勻圓訝許同 

Rikunyo quotes the annotations on this poem prepared by Shao Bao 邵寶 (1460–1527), who expands the second line to 萬顆勻圓怪其如同, adding the graphs in boldface and substituting 訝 for the synonym 怪.19

As these examples show, appeals to intralingual glossing approaches rooted in Chinese textual commentaries are a common feature of Rikunyo's Remarks. In addition to the annotations by Qiu Zhao'ao and Shao Bao quoted above, Rikunyo also makes reference to similarly scrupulous annotations of Du Fu's poetry by Gu Chen 顧宸 (1607–74). Moreover, he occasionally supplements these with similar intralingual glosses proposed by Japanese scholars. Consider Rikunyo's discussion of the term 不分 (Ch. bufen; Jp. fufun):

There are various theories about the term bufen 不分. Qiu [Zhao'ao]'s annotations of Du Fu state that “不分 means ‘unable to distinguish’ 不能分辨.” Shao [Bao]'s annotations state that “fen 分 is equivalent to ‘separate’ 別. The meaning is thus ‘unable to distinguish.’” The interpretation of these two scholars is the same. The annotations of Gu [Chen] state that bufen is equivalent to bufen 不忿. It just means ‘to be angry’. The Shigokai [Interpretations of poetic vocabulary] of Shōchū [i.e., Daiten] states that bufen 不忿 means “unbearably angry” 不勝忿. These latter two theories are the same. [Itō] Tōgai's Heishokudan states that “bufen means to not know one's own proper station 不自知其分.” This is yet another theory. (NSS 4: 20–21)20

The five scholars (three Chinese and two Japanese) whose comments Rikunyo quotes here all use intralingual glossing (replacing the problematic phrase bufen 不分 with another Sinitic phrase) to make sense of this term as used in a poem by Du Fu titled “Seeing off attendant censor Lu (6) on his way to court” 送路六侍御入朝, where the term appears in the following couplet:

Unbearable that peach blossoms are redder than brocade, 不分桃花紅勝錦 
Hateful that willow floss is whiter than cotton.21 生憎柳絮白於綿 

Rikunyo goes on to refer to his friend Daiten's observation that “In the Du Fu poem, bufen 不分 is in parallel with shengzeng 生憎 (“hateful”). This clearly indicates that the meaning is ‘unbearably angry’. We can say that the interpretation of this phrase to mean ‘unable to distinguish’ is erroneous: to say nothing of the fact that the fen in ‘distinguish’ is level tone” (NSS 4: 21). One of the most fundamental rules of tonal prosody for jintishi (近體詩, “recent-style poems”) states that the second and fourth characters of a line should be of opposite tonal values; so, in the second line of this couplet, 憎 is level whereas 絮 is oblique. Similarly, for the first line, one would expect 分 and 花 to be of opposite values, and since 花 is level, 分 should be oblique. Daiten's argument is that since 分 meaning “distinguish” (corresponding to modern Mandarin fēn) is level, this cannot be the proper sense in Du Fu's poem; rather, 分 in this context must be an oblique tone (corresponding to modern Mandarin fèn), which could either mean “station” (as Tōgai argues), or be used as an equivalent for 忿.

Even though aural features such as whether the tone of a graph is level or deflected have no straightforward correspondence in the Japanese language, it is plain to see that Rikunyo and his contemporaries were closely attentive to these aspects of the Chinese phonology as part of their hermeneutic process. For example, one of the first terms Rikunyo considers in his Remarks is 口號 (Ch. kouhao; Jp. kōgō), meaning an extemporaneously composed song. Rikunyo cites an example from the heading of a poem by Du Fu: “Leaving Court at Zichen Hall: Extempore” (紫宸殿退朝口號).22 To explicate this term, Rikunyo first quotes a Chinese text's intralingual annotation of Du Fu's poem that explains the term as “Kouhao means ‘to sing out loud as one pleases.’”23 Rikunyo then quotes the scholar Zhao Jishi 趙吉士 (1628–1706), whose Jiyuan jisuoji quotes another text's discussion of the term kouhao and its prevalence in the titles of Tang poems. Zhao Jishi notes how the word hao is typically read in the departing tone (qusheng) but that according to the Shuowen jiezi, the word hao is equivalent to hu 呼 (“to shout” or “to call out”), and the phrase kouhao thus means “to sing out loudly and spontaneously.” Therefore, in keeping with this meaning, the hao character should be read in the level tone (pingsheng). Rikunyo then follows this citation of earlier scholarship by concluding that the term can be “translated as kuchizusami” (meaning “to hum to oneself” or “to sing a tune”).

In this example we can see Rikunyo marshaling both intralingual and interlingual techniques to explain a given phrase in Du Fu's Literary Sinitic original. The quotation from Zhao Jishi and his invocation of Shuowen jiezi both aim to explain the term hao intralingually, through analogy with another Literary Sinitic term, hu. Rikunyo then offers an additional interlingual approach for understanding the word hao through a nonstandard gloss: kuchizusami, which he specifically designates a “translation” (yaku 譯). Reading through Rikunyo's Remarks, it seems that he rarely draws a crystal clear distinction between words such as kun or yomi (usually thought of as the “reading” or “pronunciation” assigned to a particular Literary Sinitic word or phrase in kundoku practice) and yaku (more explicitly the “translation” of that Literary Sinitic term into colloquial Japanese). If there is a tendency in Rikunyo's usage, it is to reserve yaku for slightly more unorthodox or unusual glossings of phrases, while yomi is generally the term he uses to discuss more standard or long-attested kundoku renditions.

Often Rikunyo gives a conventional kundoku gloss supplemented with an explanation that clarifies the sense using more colloquial forms of Japanese. Consider his discussion of 恰恰 (Ch. qiaqia; Jp. kōkō, conventionally read atakamo):

In a poem by the venerable Du [Fu] is the couplet:

Lingering, the playful butterflies dance now and then, 留連戲蝶時時舞 
and charming orioles sing out as they please, just at the right moment. 自在嬌鶯恰恰啼 

As in the reading of 恰恰 as atakamo (just as), here the meaning is: “They sing out at just the right moment” (chōdo yoki hodo no toki ni naku) . . . Master Shōchū [i.e., Daiten] says: “The translation chōdo (just the right) is spot on.” (NSS 4: 124–25)24

The word atakamo in Japanese means “just as” and can be used to mean “precisely at the moment when” or “precisely as though.” Rikunyo's use of the much more colloquial chōdo helps to clarify that he intends the first meaning. In this entry, Rikunyo offers multiple Japanese renditions, but in other cases he offers only an explanation of a term's meaning without specifying any particular reading. In discussing the word 𥮘 (Ch. nian; Jp. nen), meaning a thick rope for mooring a boat, for example, he cites commentary on a Du Fu poem that defines the term and offers its fanqie pronunciation. He then goes on to observe the term's occurrence in poems by Bai Juyi and Yuan Zhen 元稹 (779–831), but he does not offer any specific suggestion for how the term should be read in Japanese (NSS 4: 42). Perhaps the phonological information conveyed by Rikunyo's quotation of the annotations to Du Fu, with their fanqie pronunciation and indication that “the sound is nian” 奴店切、音念, was sufficient for Rikunyo and his readers to posit the analogous Sinoxenic reading nen.

In other cases, Rikunyo makes no appeal to Chinese annotations but simply offers an explanation in Japanese. Sometimes these are accompanied with clear interlingual glossing of the quoted text, such as in his quotation of the following couplet by Cen Shen 岑參 (715–70):

The two attend on their nurturing mother, 二人事慈母 
With no less devotion than Laolai of old. 不弱古老萊 

Beyond minimal kunten marks to indicate syntactic rearrangement or provide grammatical particles, Rikunyo supplies here a conspicuous furigana gloss to this couplet to indicate that 不弱 should be read otorazu (“to not be inferior to”). In other words, the annotation indicates that the term 弱 should be understood not through such typical Japanese glosses as yowaru (“to weaken”) or yowashi (“weak”) but rather as otoru (“to be inferior to”). Rikunyo then quotes another Cen Shen couplet using the phrase, again indicating that it should be read otorazu, before observing: “It is like saying ‘no less than’ 不減. Just like 強 is given the gloss masareri, because 弱 is the opposite meaning, it becomes otoru” (NSS 4: 17–18). Here, Rikunyo draws a parallel between his proposal to understand 弱 through an unconventional gloss to cases where the graph's antonym, 強, can be similarly interpreted through something other than expected standard glosses such as tsuyoshi (“strong”). In this instance, Rikunyo uses an intralingual explanation (restating 不弱 as 不減) alongside his interlingual gloss of the phrase as otorazu. The same sort of dual strategy is evident in Rikunyo's discussion of several poems in which 像 is used to mean “resemble.” Rikunyo provides an intralingual gloss by stating that “these are all cases where 像 is used like the graph 似”; he also offers a nonstandard interlingual gloss on the graph 像 in the quoted poems, indicating that it can be understood as nitari (resembles) (NSS 4: 51).

One unusual interlingual glossing technique that Rikunyo makes use of a few times in the course of his Remarks is the simultaneous provision of multiple vernacular Japanese glosses. For example, in a section concerning the word 款 (Ch. kuan; Jp. kan), Rikunyo writes:

[Yang] Wanli's poem on “The first day of spring” 立春 contains the couplet:

The scenery appears first on the willows, 風光先著柳 
With sunlight gently bringing out the flowers. 日色款催花 

The word 款 here is the 款 of [Du Fu's famous line] 點水蜻蜓款々飛 “dotting the water, dragonflies hover so leisurely.” It has the sense of gently and leisurely. (NSS 4: 119)25

To explain how to understand the word 款 in Yang Wanli's poem, Rikunyo first supplies a Japanese gloss to the right of the graph 款, indicating that it should be understood as yuruku (“gently”) and then quotes a famous line from Du Fu that also includes the word 款. What is especially interesting is that his quotation of the Du Fu line supplies an additional Japanese gloss to the left of 款々, indicating that this term can be understood as yutayuta. This amounts to a second interlingual gloss to complement the kunten glossing on the right side, which suggests employing the default Sinoxenic reading for the compound and reading the phrase kankan ni. Sometimes this unusual use of a secondary interlingual gloss complements intralingual approaches. For example, in an entry on the word 是, Rikunyo notes that this term is sometimes used by an author to indicate the broaching of a subject; he states that 是 in this sense can be thought of as equivalent to 為 and that therefore 是水 means 凡為水者 “in general, as for [this thing called] water” (NSS 5: 92).26 Repeatedly in this section he offers two simultaneous kunten glosses on the character 是; those on the right give the conventional Japanese gloss kore (this) and those on the left offer the more interpretive oyoso (in general).

For the most part, Rikunyo's project in Katsugen shiwa is to elucidate the meaning of unusual, obscure, or ambiguous words and phrases that he has come across in Sinitic verse, but occasionally the vector goes in the other direction. In one section, for example, Rikunyo ponders what might be the proper Literary Sinitic term for an uchishiki, the triangular cloth apron placed on a Buddhist altar. He states matter-of-factly that he does not know the proper term in Sinitic but gives two possibilities that he has encountered in texts by Japanese priests: 卓袱 (Ch. zhuofu; Jp. shippoku) and 卓圍 (Ch. zhuowei; Jp. takui). The first of these, Rikunyo notes, he saw in one biography of a Japanese Buddhist priest with a gloss written on the side reading uchishiki. Rikunyo calls this gloss a yaku. Similar entries find Rikunyo musing about what Sinitic word best expresses a “souvenir” (Jp. omiyage) from a trip, or how to refer to the Japanese heated hearth known as a kotatsu, or what is the proper Sinitic term for a yanagigōri wicker case.27 Each of these terms has an accepted, widely used sinographic rendering in Japan, but Rikunyo was not interested in such local conventions; rather, he sought to discover terms (attested in Chinese texts) that would be intelligible to a broader readership—sinographic terms that had currency throughout the Sinographosphere.

The concern that Rikunyo evidences here for finding the right terms to use in expressing elements of Japanese material culture in Sinitic texts was widely shared by shiwa writers. Many of them comment in their treatises on the thorny issue of how to render Japanese personal or place names in Sinitic verse, or how best to translate the names of particular government offices. To appreciate how Rikunyo approaches this matter of rendering culturally specific phenomena, consider his extensive discussion in Remarks of what term to use to signify the marine workers known as ama: men and often women who made their living on the seaside diving for pearls, harvesting shellfish, and making salt. He writes:

In our country, we refer to the ama [maritime workers] who gather salt as 蜑 or 蜑戸. These words are often seen in the poems of Su Dongpo [蘇東坡, 1037–1101]. However, his usage refers to a type of southern barbarian people and does not accurately correspond to what we in this land mean by ama. Nevertheless, in a poem by Gao Qi, there is the couplet:

Billowing smoke and white salt from each house's furnace  荒煙白鹵家家竈 
Setting sun on the yellow hills, encampments here and there. 落日黄岡處處營 

The annotations quote from the “Treatise on food and goods” section of the History of the Song, which states, “In general, the places where salt is sold are called salines (tingchang 亭場) and the people who do this work are called saltmakers (tinghu 亭戸 or zaohu 竈戸).” According to this, to use the word 竈戸 (Ch. zaohu; Jp. sōko) is more appropriate than using the word 蜑戸 (Ch. danhu; Jp. tanko). (NSS 4: 81–82)

While it may seem an obscure point, Rikunyo's discussion of this issue highlights an important feature of how he and his contemporaries understood the stakes of Sinitic poetry composition. As he clearly states here, the sinographs tan 蜑 or tanko 蜑戸 are commonly used in Japan to refer to ama maritime workers. In other words, the problem is not the absence of sinographs understood in Japan to indicate ama; instead, it is that such a local sinographic practice is insufficient justification for their use in Sinitic poetry, which aims at universality within the Sinographosphere. Nor is the fact that these sinographs appear in Su Dongpo's works sufficient to justify their use, for as Rikunyo notes, in Su Dongpo's text, they have a slightly different sense. Rikunyo finds the closest parallel to the salt-making marine workers of Japan in a work by the Ming poet Gao Qi 高啟 (1336–74) and its accompanying annotations, from which he is able to identify a suitable term used in Chinese dynastic histories and confirmed by the Qing-era annotator of Gao Qi's poem.28 Rikunyo's dogged pursuit of this question and his ultimate recommendation to use the term attested in authoritative continental sources tells us something about the implied or at least imagined audience for Sinitic poetry produced by Japanese individuals. If the poet's objective were simply to communicate the idea of an ama maritime worker to a Japanese reader, there were well-established sinographs available to do just that; but we can see in Rikunyo's pursuit of this question his sense that sinographic terms lacking currency beyond Japan were best avoided in Sinitic poetry. Such an understanding was widespread among Sinitic poets in early modern Japan, as a recent article by Gōyama Rintarō (2022: 61) shows through an examination of how Sinitic poets grappled with the issue of depicting distinctive flora:

Among sinographic names for plants, we can distinguish between Sinitic terms [i.e., those attested in continental sources] and sinographic terms that are unique to Japan. In Sinitic prose and poetry, it was most common for the Sinitic names to be used preferentially. While there are differences depending on the time period and the individual, fundamentally Confucian scholars and Sinitic poets were students of the Chinese classics and they made efforts to fit continental standards. To put it differently, they chose Sinitic names in order that literati from China and other East Asian regions beyond Japan might understand them. Even when they used sinographic terms unique to Japan, it was often the case that they would also include an annotation identifying the Sinitic name.

Of course, Rikunyo's audience was Japanese, but exchanges with Chinese and other individuals from sinographic Asia were by no means an insignificant part of the cultural imaginary during the Edo period. In other words, even if most Japanese composers of Sinitic poetry in the Edo period had no intention of writing for some actual Chinese reader, it is clear from their poetic treatises that an implied Chinese reader was often imagined.

A similar example can be seen in Rikunyo's consideration of the question of what to call a scarecrow. In Japanese, the vernacular term kagashi (or kakashi) is sometimes written with the sinographs 案山子, but Rikunyo suspects that this is a local coinage:

In our country [of Japan], we call the thing that protects cultivated fields by scaring away birds a kagashi, which is written 案山子. I wonder what it is called in that country [of China]. Although I have taken pains to look widely through collections of [Sinitic] prose and poetry, I have not found out. I once wrote the line 唯有芻人彎竹弓 “There is just the scarecrow drawing a bamboo bow” but it was not the case that I had any particular textual authority in mind.29

Rikunyo refers here to his own resourceful creation of the term 芻人 (Ch. churen; Jp. sūjin), literally “straw man,” to mean “scarecrow,” perhaps on analogy with terms such as 芻狗 (Ch. chugou; Jp. sūku) in Daoist texts such as Zhuangzi and the Daodejing.30 He goes on to note that he “happened to see a poem called ‘House in the fields’ by Li Deng of the Song” that reads:

Once the light rains have cleared, a new crop season; 小雨初晴歲事新 
Ploughing land by the riverside, taking advantage of early spring. 一犁江上趁初春 
Planting done at the bean field, but no one to protect it; 豆畦種罷無人守 
Yellow straw bound together to give the appearance of a man. 縛得黃茅更似人 

“Certainly, this refers to a scarecrow,” remarks Rikunyo, but while Li Deng had clearly depicted a scarecrow in this poem, he had not used any term for it, leaving unsolved the mystery of what to call a scarecrow in regionally intelligible Sinitic. Rikunyo returned to discuss the matter in Later Remarks, noting that Matsumoto Guzan 松本愚山 (1755–1834) had told him about a Qing text of yuefu 樂府 ballads that included one depicting a scarecrow and titled 草防禦 (lit. “grass guard”), but even this did not satisfy Rikunyo, who still hoped to find a reference to a scarecrow in the context of the poetic text itself. Ultimately he concluded that a Yuan poet's usage of 草人 was the best term to use (NSS 5: 83).31 Although Rikunyo was skeptical of the provenance of the sinographic name 案山子, it seems that this term was in fact of Chinese origin.32

The Reception of Rikunyo's Remarks on Poetry

That Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara was widely read by Rikunyo's late Edo period audience is clear from the numerous references to the work in the writings of his contemporaries, though not everyone shared his interests in esoteric diction. For example, Hayashi Sonpa 林蓀坡 (1781–1836) singles out Rikunyo for particular criticism in his Gosō shiwa 梧窓詩話 (1812):

Some recent figures are fond of using unusual words. In my estimation, the priest Rikunyo is the ringleader of this trend, which is the baleful fault of those who study Song poetry. Of course, one cannot be ignorant of unusual vocabulary, but one also should not use it recklessly. If it is one's usual practice to read broadly and store up knowledge in one's mind, then when one depicts a certain scene, such diction will emerge seamlessly and unconsciously. Even if the poet has no plan to make his diction unusual or challenging, it may naturally be such, but since it is fused integrally with the meaning of the words, no traces of the poet's axe and chisel will be discernable. If that is the case, then surely there is nothing amiss even if there are many unusual words. But, recent figures are not like this. Their intent in writing is to aspire to the unusual; in particular they pluck and plunder vocabulary to furnish ornament. This sort of sudden admixture into a work that is on the whole light and easy results in an incoherence in the flow of words. It is like mending an old cotton robe with a swatch of brocade; the components don't fit together harmoniously. (NSS 10: 373)

Sonpa's comments indicate that some of his contemporaries attributed Rikunyo's zeal for obscure vocabulary to his devotion to Song poetry. Another shiwa author who faulted Rikunyo along similar lines was Kikuchi Gozan 菊池五山 (1769–1849), whose popular Gozandō shiwa assesses Rikunyo's poetry itself and his Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara as follows:

Incorporating raw and unfamiliar diction into his poems is a particular tendency of Rikunyo's. . . . The ancients succeeded on the basis of their meaning and not on their words. Rikunyo, for his part, competes for success through his words and is only able to please the mediocre. He cannot ensnare those of superior discernment. I gather he has devoted his life to reading poetry, but it is as though he is surveying a lantern festival and seeking out rare objects. For this reason, the Remarks on Poetry that he wrote amounts to a logbook of antiques and particularly fails to achieve the form of a shiwa. (Shimizu, Ibi, and Ōtani 1991: 540, 196)

Gozan's comparison of Rikunyo's Remarks to a “logbook of antiques” and his assertion that it failed to embody the shiwa genre's proper form remind us of the somewhat unusual nature of this text, organized as brief reflections on a lengthy list of unusual words and curious topics. On the other hand, one of the characteristic features of the shiwa genre was loose organization, with content ranging freely from one matter to the next, a quality that Rikunyo's Remarks definitely embodies.

Perhaps the clearest evidence of the impact of Rikunyo's Remarks on contemporary readers is that, in addition to the above mentions in later shiwa, there were two other Japanese shiwa framed explicitly as responses to the work: “Heading Notes on Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara” (Katsugen shiwa hyōki 葛原詩話標記), written by Ikai Keisho 豬飼敬所 (1761–1845); and Correcting the Errors in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara (Katsugen shiwa kyūbyū 葛原詩話糾謬) by Tsusaka Tōyō 津阪東陽 (1757–1825). There is little indication that either Keisho or Tōyō intended to publish their meticulous remarks on Rikunyo's treatise (at least in their present form). Both texts come down to us via Nihon shiwa sōsho, the ten-volume compilation of more than sixty Japanese “remarks on poetry” that was first published in the 1920s and is the principal primary source for Japanese shiwa texts.33 In both cases, the title of the work has been provisionally created by the editor of this compendium from manuscripts that lacked specific titles.

Keisho's “Heading Notes on Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara” is structured as an item-by-item engagement with the entries in Rikunyo's text (NSS 4: 207–16). It was originally drawn from manuscript annotations made by Keisho to a copy of Rikunyo's Remarks. Keisho probably had no intent to publish the work, which in its present form consists of only a few pages. Keisho's concern in the text is to supplement and occasionally correct Rikunyo's interpretations. For example, Rikunyo had written in his Remarks that he was not sure what the word 雲兜 (Ch. yundou; Jp. untō) meant, but wondered if “perhaps it is a kind of wooden roof beam” (NSS 4: 35). In his “Heading Notes,” Keisho identifies the source of the term in a Song era chuanqi 傳奇 (“tales of strange events”) text, where it refers to a “flying cloud carriage” (NSS 4: 211–12). In another instance, Keisho comments on Rikunyo's discussion of Sinitic uses of the term 番, which the latter had suggested shared a meaning with the Japanese vernacular sense of “stand guard” (NSS 4: 180). Keisho's commentary drew on both intralingual and interlingual techniques to clarify the meaning. He wrote: “Dictionaries state that 番 is equivalent to 遞 [successively],” before explaining that the term corresponded to “what is called in the vernacular of this land, kawariban [alternating, taking turns]” (NSS 4: 214).

The second contemporary text to engage so directly with Rikunyo's treatise, Tōyō's Katsugen shiwa kyūbyū, is a much more substantial work, and it also consists of item-by-item comments on the entries in Rikunyo's Remarks.34 There are two source manuscripts for Tōyō's Correcting the Errors: one copied by someone associated with the Confucian scholar and Sinitic prose stylist Saitō Setsudō 斎藤拙堂 (1797–1865), and another copied by Ichikawa Katsutarō; the former consists of entries for just books one and two of Rikunyo's Remarks while the latter contains Tōyō's comments on all four books of Rikunyo's Remarks.35 Tōyō's own published shiwa include Yakō yowa 夜航余話, written in Japanese, and Yakō shiwa 夜航詩話, written in Literary Sinitic, both of which were first published posthumously in 1836.36 In the former work, Tōyō writes:

Rikunyo's Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara broadly searches out marvelous words and brings them to light; it can serve as a secret treasure in the poet's quarters. . . . What is lamentable is that the learning is shabby and there are some egregious errors. . . . Though faulting my predecessors is something I take no pleasure in, I am loath to allow these mistakes to be left to future generations and so I once wrote Correcting the Errors in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara. (Shimizu, Ibi, and Ōtani 1991: 306–8)

The passing reference Tōyō makes here in Yakō yowa to his unpublished annotations on Rikunyo's shiwa is the source of the common name for the work: Katsugen shiwa kyūbyū. Critical as the above comments are, their tone is in fact markedly more charitable than that of Correcting the Errors itself, where Tōyō seems to delight in pointing out Rikunyo's scholarly shortcomings. In the final entry for the second book of Remarks, for example, Rikunyo had explained, “It is common to use the term 倶慶 (Ch. juqing; Jp. kukei) to mean that both of one's parents are alive. To say that both [paternal] grandparents are alive, one uses the term 重慶 (Ch. chongqing; Jp. chōkei)” (NSS 4: 113). That Rikunyo would waste his time clarifying the meaning of such a “common word” was laughable to Tōyō, who wrote derisively, “Has he never read Investigations of Allusions and Idioms?” (NSS 5: 175).37 Throughout Correcting the Errors, Tōyō seems to take especial glee in pointing out instances where the priest Rikunyo had failed to understand a term that had its locus classicus in a Buddhist text. For example, in one entry, Rikunyo recounts receiving a letter containing the unfamiliar terms 花友 (lit. “friends like flowers”; Ch. huayou; Jp. kayū) and 秤友 (lit. “friends like scales”; Ch. chengyou; Jp. shōyū). Rikunyo is able to learn that these terms derive from a Buddhist text, but “as for what Buddhist text they come from, I do not know and will have to await further consideration” (NSS 4: 82). In Correcting the Errors in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara, Tōyō identified the text that was the source of these terms as third-century Zhi Qian's 支謙 (222–52) Excerpts from the Bo Jataka Sutra as Spoken by the Buddha (Fo shuo bo jing chao 佛説孛經抄 T. XVII 790) and cited the relevant passage before writing, “This is everyday fare for a Buddhist priest; how can it be that he doesn't know it? Perhaps here, too, the fault lies in him shunning what lies close by in favor of the exotic” (NSS 5: 162).38 Of course, since Tōyō inscribed these words into his own personal copy of Rikunyo's treatise, Rikunyo never saw Tōyō's Correcting the Errors in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara, but he in fact independently discovered the source that had earlier eluded him and included this explanation in his posthumously published Later Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara (NSS 5: 59).39

Frequently, Tōyō's “correction” of Rikunyo's “error” amounted to supplying an earlier instance of the term under discussion. For example, Rikunyo observes at one point that in addition to the familiar idiom about the “sun being three staffs high” 日三竿, indicating that the time is well past daybreak, it is possible to use analogous phrasing to describe a setting sun; to demonstrate this, he cites a Song poem by He Zhu 賀鑄 (1052–1125) that uses the phrase “the fading sun at two staffs high” 殘日兩竿. Tōyō's Correcting the Errors cites earlier precedents of this usage by the Tang poets Du Mu 杜牧 (803–852) and Han Wo 韓偓 (842/844–ca. 923).40 Reading through Tōyō's Correcting the Errors, one begins to suspect that his triumphant citation of earlier precedents may in part have served another purpose. Consider Tōyō's response to this passage from Rikunyo's text:

There are cases when the character 來 is used to mean 以來; it appears as the rhyme in the following Fan Chengda 范成大 [1126–1193] couplet:

With autumn's arrival, these sick bones have suddenly weakened; 新秋病骨頓成衰 
I haven't crossed the river bridge for half a month now. 不度溪橋半月來 

Daiten told me that usages like 針來大 “as big as a needle” . . . are common in vernacular language. Scholars of spoken Chinese [tōwaka 唐話家] gloss this usage hodo. Here, the meaning is “to the extent of half a month” (hantsuki hodo). (NSS 4: 19)

In Correcting the Errors, Tōyō agrees with Rikunyo's basic analysis, concurring that 來 in this sense can be understood as an abbreviation (of 已來) and that it indicates the extent of something. Echoing Rikunyo's own employment of both intralingual and interlingual glossing practices, Tōyō goes on to explain the use of 來 intralingually as equivalent to 許, as well as interlingually, noting that the Sinitic phrase 二里已來 is comparable to expressions such as “二里カラ in the vernacular of this land.” But what Tōyō cannot countenance is that Rikunyo made this point by citing a Song poet. Tōyō cites instead an earlier usage by Luo Yin 羅隱 (833–910) before writing:

He should have cited Luo Yin's poem as evidence; he doesn't know that this is originally a word that comes from Tang poetry. It is the common fault of stubborn men of shallow learning in recent years to spend all their time fixated on discovering something in Song poetry that they then treasure as a rare find. In each and every case of this sort of thing, I shall adduce a Tang poem so that the eyes of these idiots may be opened! (NSS 5: 142)

The vehemence here is striking and suggests that Tōyō's citation of Tang precedents was at least in part a performative assertion of his own scholarly and poetic affiliations.

While Tōyō clearly disagreed with Rikunyo on several specific matters of interpretation and obviously did not share his fondness for Song poetry, the various techniques he used to explicate the meaning of terms in Sinitic poetry were remarkably similar to those employed by Rikunyo. Both scholars drew on intralingual glossing practices that explicated problematic terms by restating them using other Sinitic terms. Both also drew on interlingual glossing to provide equivalents in the Japanese vernacular. And both often used these techniques together. For example, Rikunyo comments on the somewhat unusual use of the word 星 to mean “slightly” or “a little bit” when he writes “星寒 means ‘a tiny bit cold’ (chikkuri samushi).” In this entry, Rikunyo's appeal is first to the Japanese vernacular, using the highly colloquial term chikkuri. Later in the entry he quotes an intralingual explanation from the Lianzhu shige 聯珠詩格 (Jp. Renju shikaku) anthology, which annotates a poem containing this usage by Zhang Gushan 張谷山 with a note indicating that 星 here means 些 (a small amount) (NSS 4: 60). In his Correcting the Errors, Tōyō reaches a similar conclusion, but his notes begin with a different intralingual explanation: “星 is like an equivalent of 點,” a usage he traces with numerous examples from Xie Lingyun 謝靈運 (385–433) to Yang Wanli, before concluding: “In this example of 星寒, too, the meaning is ‘a tiny bit of cold’” (星寒、亦謂一點微寒也) (NSS 5: 155–56). This example shows Rikunyo employing both intralingual and interlingual techniques while Tōyō engages solely in intralingual explanation. But Tōyō's use of interlingual glossing was sometimes strikingly elaborate, as in his response to a passage in Rikunyo's text that discusses how the word 健 can be used as a verb (“to strengthen or make sturdy”). For this entry, Tōyō provides a related list of poetic examples where 健 is used as a predicate to describe clear weather, refreshing garments, cool and straight robes, and invigorating autumnal air. Remarkably, for each of these he provides a slightly different vernacular gloss at the right of the character 健: sungari (i.e., sukkari), shakkiri, shan, and shikkuri (NSS 5: 170). As the floridness of this example suggests, Tōyō was perhaps slightly more likely than Rikunyo to employ interlingual glossing.41 However, we should not lose sight of the fact that he did not write his Correcting the Errors in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara as an independent work. Since Tōyō's text was by its very nature a corrective response to Rikunyo's work, it is perhaps only expected that its contents would skew toward supplementary content.

While the strategies undertaken by Rikunyo, Keisho, and Tōyō to engage with Sinitic texts and render them intelligible to Japanese readers vary, all three employed both intralingual and interlingual glossing techniques. Moreover, all three shiwa contain passages of Sinitic with kunten marks: that is to say, they all include at least some level of annotation or glossing that helps an informed reader construe them using the traditional method of kanbun kundoku (reading by gloss/vernacular reading). How should we understand this approach with respect to the question of translation? Both Rikunyo's Remarks on Poetry and Tōyō's Correcting the Errors show that they understood “glossing” (kunzu) and “translating” (yakusu) as analogous acts. For example, as discussed above, Rikunyo proposed that the term kouhao 口號 could be “translated” as kuchizusami. Tōyō responded specifically to Rikunyo's proposal, agreeing that kuchizusami was a fine Japanese equivalent to use but denying the need for Rikunyo's proposed intervention, for this was already the word's established kun: “This term has been glossed kuchizusami since ancient times. There is no need now to make a new translation” (モトヨリ古來「クチズサミ」ト訓ズ今新ニ譯スルニ及バズ) (NSS 5: 141). As this discussion indicates, there is clearly a substantial overlap between the concepts of kun and yaku. Perhaps it is best to say that conventional kun readings were understood as being a particular subset of the larger category of yaku.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article has been to analyze in concrete terms the way in which early modern Japanese intellectuals used both intralingual and interlingual translational techniques to engage with Literary Sinitic texts and from this analysis to ascertain how they conceptualized the relationship between Literary Sinitic and their own language. To assert the importance of translational practices in such premodern Japanese elites' engagements with Sinitic texts might seem to call into question their mastery of Sinitic literacy, the acquisition of which was identified with education itself. It might seem to invalidate their claim to discourse authoritatively about Sinitic texts. Or it might seem to somehow disqualify them from participating in a broader region-wide community of premodern Sinographosheric intellectuals, for as Haun Saussy (2022: 25) remarks, “When we say translation, we are implying alienness, difference, failure to understand, a gap that must be overcome through the labor of translating.”

That is not my aim. In discussing the importance of intralingual approaches to the efforts of Rikunyo and his contemporaries, I hope instead to have shown how their concrete acts of textual exegesis through intralingual glosses were analogous to, indeed indistinguishable from, those practiced by continental scholars. After all, among the central techniques used to annotate Sinitic texts in China itself were intralingual translational strategies such as restatement and paraphrase: the glossing of an obscure phrase with a substitution in Literary Sinitic. This is one of the methods Rikunyo used in Remarks, quoting continental scholars to clarify the meaning of a given passage, furnishing his own clarification of a troublesome phrase rendered into more readily intelligible Literary Sinitic, or citing a Literary Sinitic gloss supplied by one of his contemporaries.

Alongside these intralingual approaches (which were available to all Sinographospheric intellectuals) we have seen how Rikunyo and his contemporaries also made use of interlingual approaches to engage with Sinitic texts. Throughout this article, I have used the word interlingual to describe the efforts by Rikunyo, Keisho, and Tōyō to render Literary Sinitic terms in the Japanese vernacular. I use this term because it is clear that these three scholars and their contemporaries apprehended Literary Sinitic fundamentally as a foreign language: that is, as a linguistic system with roots outside of Japan and with a lexicon, syntax, and grammar that were distinct from Japanese. To recognize this fact is not to disavow the centrality of Literary Sinitic texts to these scholars' enterprise. It is merely to recognize that such consciousness of its linguistic alterity to Japanese was widespread. Indeed, it is evident from the first page of Rikunyo's treatise, on which a preface written by Daiten observes: “Of course, investigating and elucidating the meaning of words constitutes the beginning of study. How much more is this true in the case of a Japanese who studies Chinese?” (夫考明字義學之始也、況倭而學華者乎) (NSS 4: 3). This basic understanding was far from unique to Rikunyo and his circle. Reading through the shiwa of the Edo period, comments that clearly situate Literary Sinitic as fundamentally a foreign language are the point of departure for many scholars. In an influential treatise written a century earlier, for example, the poet Gion Nankai 祇園南海 (1676–1751) observed matter-of-factly that “Sinitic poetry is [written in] the words and script of China” (詩は漢土の文字).42 As he went on to explain, the very otherness of the Chinese language meant that Japanese poets had to pay special attention to avoid the unconscious infiltration of Japanese vernacular terms into their Sinitic poems. Or consider the preface by Usami Shinsui 宇佐美灊水 (1710–76) to the popular 1767 handbook for rendering Japanese toponyms in Sinitic poetry, A Lexicon for Eastern [i.e., Japanese] Verse (Tōsō kaii 東藻會彙), which unambiguously asserts the distinction between the two languages: “In That Land [of China] with its literary efflorescence, literary figures and men of talent nevertheless find it difficult to refine their diction. How much more is this true in Our Nation [of Japan], where the language is not the same as That Land and we use the phrases and words of That Land to provide literary ornament?” (夫彼土藻華之邦、文人才子猶難修辭。況吾 邦與彼土言語不同、而效彼土文字以文飾?)43 Moreover, as Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara and the other shiwa I discuss in this article demonstrate, discussion of the phonological features of the Chinese language (features absent from the Japanese language and from Sinoxenic pronunciation of sinographs) was a standard part of Japanese commentary on Sinitic texts.

In a widely circulated article about East Asian literary culture, Wiebke Denecke (2014) proposes to understand premodern East Asia as a “world without translation.” She contends that “into the twentieth century an educated Japanese, for example, could read a Chinese text by pronouncing it in Japanese, without any knowledge of Chinese or any need for translation” (Denecke 2014: 204). The central assumption of Denecke's article is that kundoku (vernacular reading) should not be considered translation, yet as Peter Kornicki (2018: 166) explains, “Vernacular reading is nothing more than a process or procedure applied to a text. What comes out of this procedure (whether orally, silently, or in writing), on the other hand, is indubitably a translation.” If applied to a Literary Sinitic text to produce a rendition in the Japanese vernacular, the process of vernacular reading would be a case of interlingual translation, as would cases where the vernacular rendition departs from accepted kundoku practice.44 Denecke's imagining of the Sinographosphere as a “world without translation” seeks to explain the potential portability of Sinitic texts across the region, but it is also essential that we look carefully at how strategies of both intralingual and interlingual translation made such portability possible.

This article was originally prepared for presentation at the conference “Intralingual Translation, Diglossia, and the Rise of Vernaculars in East Asian Classical and Premodern Cultures,” École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, January 19–20, 2017, organized by Rainier Lanselle and Barbara Bisetto. The author would like to thank the participants in that conference, as well as three anonymous reviewers, for their comments.

Notes

1

While other forms of Sinitic poetic expression, such as ci (詞, “song lyrics”), or fu (賦, “rhyme-prose”) were practiced to varying degrees in Japan over the centuries, shi refers to gushi 古詩 (Jp. koshi; “poems in the ancient style”) and jintishi 近體詩 (Jp. kintaishi, “poems in the recent style”).

2

For a brief comparison of Japanese shiwa and Chinese shihua see Wada Hidenobu (2006). Yan Yu's Canglang shihua was reprinted along with two other “remarks on poetry” in an edition titled Sanka shiwa 三家詩話 in 1726; this Japanese edition, published by Suwaraya Shinbei, features kunten reading marks. It has been reprinted as part of Wakokubon kanseki zuihitsushū (Nagasawa 1972–78: vol. 16).

3

Jakobson's typology also posits a third category of “intersemiotic translation” that encompasses “interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of a nonverbal sign system,” but my focus here is on the two fundamental types of verbal translation that Jakobson identified.

4

For a useful summary of critiques of Jakobson's schema, see Višnja Jovanović (2023, esp. chap. 1). In particular, Jovanović identifies the problem of linguistic fluidity, that is to say, “the instability of linguistic unity and linguistic identity,” and also the existence of multilingual texts that “disrespect [the] traditional integrity of languages” as complications to any simple distinction between intra- and interlingual translation (27). Yet even as Jovanović calls attention to such issues, she nevertheless employs Jakobson's basic dichotomy in her analysis of a multilingual text, discerning different forms of translational relations (sometimes intralingual, sometimes interlingual) within it; see chap. 3.

5

Unless otherwise noted, all translations are by the author.

6

This view of Rikunyo as pioneering for his rejection of the Ming classicist-inspired veneration for High Tang models is not unique to modern scholars. The opening sentences of the 1787 preface to Katsugen shiwa by Daiten Kenjō 大典顕常 (1719–1801) also clearly situate Rikunyo as a harbinger of these later developments: “In recent times, those who make their names from Sinitic poetry are composing everywhere and without cease. There is none among them who does not take up his place in the ranks of poets by comparing himself to the Tang or emulating the Ming. There is just the poetry of Rikunyo that is not like this” (NSS 4: 3).

7

Tan Shunsō is mentioned several times in the course of Katsugen shiwa as a visitor who discusses various topics with Rikunyo; see, for example, their discussion of Parhae emissary biographies (NSS 4: 61–62) or favorite couplets from Song and Yuan poetry (NSS 4: 136–38). Shunsō's friendship with Rikunyo is also commented on by the postface contributed to Katsugen shiwa by the eminent Confucian scholar Shibano Ritsuzan 柴野栗山 (1736–1807) (NSS 4: 203). A short biographical account of Tan Shunsō written not long after his death can be found in the 1798 Zoku kinsei kijinden 続近世畸人伝, compiled by Mikuma Katen 三熊花顛 (1730–1794) and Ban Kōkei 伴蒿蹊 (1733–1806). A bookseller with a fondness for composing Sinitic poetry, Tan frequently asked Rikunyo to review his compositions; the priest recorded his pleasure at Tan's frankness, for he would sometimes gratefully accept Rikunyo's advice about diction but other times would reject a suggestion and insist that his original word was better. Tan's final years were apparently especially difficult; his house was destroyed in the Tenmei fire of 1788 and his health deteriorated shortly thereafter. The biography records the final octave that Shunsō composed and Rikunyo's match of it, using the same rhyme graphs, composed after Shunsō's death in 1790. See Munemasa Isoo's edition of Kinsei kijinden zoku kinsei kijinden (Ban Kōkei and Mikuma 1972: 339–440).

8

Katsugen shiwa kōhen is reprinted in NSS 5: 1–136.

9

Sequences of entries on flora and fauna can be found, for example, in both Katsugen shiwa (NSS 4: 53–55) and in Katsugen shiwa kōhen (NSS 5: 52–56).

10

Rikunyo's discussion of poetic depictions of eyewear appears in NSS 4: 23; his discussions of tobacco-related terms appear in NSS 4: 20–21 and NSS 5: 101–2.

11

The Pin zi jian 品字箋 is a seventeenth-century Chinese dictionary. Another entry highlighting an unusual employment of the written language appears in the second installment of Rikunyo's remarks, where he notes how Fang Gan 方干 (836–903) used the character 之 pictographically to mean “a zigzagging road” (NSS 5: 70). Perhaps this usage inspired the wakan haikai poet in early seventeenth-century Japan who playfully used 之 to mean “mountain path” (yamamichi); see Kai Xie's (2016: 236) discussion of the latter usage.

12

As Rikunyo notes in this section, the term 白鳥 could of course be used not only as an elliptical reference to mosquitoes but also literally to “white birds” such as gulls, herons, and the like.

13

For a discussion of different levels of glossing of Literary Sinitic, the relative burden this places on a Japanese reader, and the degree to which the reader is also translator, see Fraleigh (2019).

14

For a full translation of the Du Fu poem, see Owen (2016, 1: 149).

16

A Record of Ming Painting (Minghualu 明畫錄) a painter named Dai Ying from Changzhou (in Suzhou) with the polite name 清之. The fanqie system was a traditional lexicographic technique that indicated the pronunciation of a graph through the use of two other graphs: the first indicating the initial sound and the second indicating the final (including the vowel and tone).

17

The title of this poem is “At Haikou, sending a letter to Li Fangzhou” (海口柬李芳洲). The term cangzhou 滄洲 (Jp. sōshū; literally, “blue islet”) indicates the sea- or riverside dwelling of a recluse.

18

For a translation of the full poem, see Owen (2016, 3: 117).

19

Rikunyo's text generally includes some kunten marks for all quoted Sinitic, including Shao's intralingual explanation; here there are minimal suggestions for reading the Du Fu original 訝許同 as kaku onajiki o ibukaru and Shao's corresponding expanded version 怪其如許之同 as sono kaku no gotoku no onajiki o ayashimu.

20

The first passage Rikunyo references occurs in Daiten's Shigokai 詩語解 (Heian Shorin 1763, 2: 51a–b; repr., Yoshikawa, Kojima, and Togawa 1979, 1: 230). The second passage occurs in Itō Tōgai's Heishokudan 秉燭譚 (Bunsendō 1763, 4: 5a–6a).

21

For a translation of the entire poem, see Owen (2016, 3: 205).

22

See the translation by Stephen Owen (2016, 2: 3). The Zichen Hall was one of the three great halls of the Daming palace in Chang'an.

23

The annotation that Rikunyo quotes is also cited in Qiu (1693, 6: 2a), where it is attributed to Gu [Chen] 顧[宸]. See http://archive.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kosho/bunko17/bunko17_w0136/bunko17_w0136_0006/bunko17_w0136_0006_p0003.jpg.

24

For a translation of the full poem, see Owen (2016, 3: 29).

25

For a complete translation of the Du Fu poem, see Owen (2016, 2: 11). The relevant section of Rikunyo's original text (showing the multiple glossing strategies used for 款 and 款々) can be viewed at https://kokusho.nijl.ac.jp/biblio/200019051/68.

26

The multiple-glossing technique is rare in Remarks on Poetry from Makuzugahara. For another example, see Rikunyo's discussion of cases where 非 alone indicates an embedded question; he quotes a Lu You line 問予君是伯休非 “They ask me: are you Boxiu or not?” and provides two sets of kunten to the left and right of these characters indicating two readings following yo ni tou kimi wa kore: Hakukyū ni arazuya and Hakukyū ka hi ka; see NSS 4: 47.

27

Rikunyo quotes poems by Yang Wanli, Su Dongpo, and others to conclude that 柳箱 is the best equivalent for the Japanese term yanagigōri 柳行李 (NSS 4: 117); that 火閤 and 火籠 are two different kinds of hearth similar to a Japanese kotatsu 火燵 (NSS 4: 116–17); and that 歸遺 captures the Japanese nuances of omiyage 土産 (NSS 5: 82).

28

Presumably Rikunyo's source was Qingqiu Gao Jidi xiansheng shiji 青邱高季迪先生詩集, the annotated edition of Gao Qi's poems compiled in 1728 by Jin Dan 金檀; the poem and the annotation Rikunyo quotes appears in juan 15, 27a–b; see https://nrs.lib.harvard.edu/urn-3:fhcl:16651487?n=493. Editions of this text would be reprinted in Japan, with additional annotations and reading marks, several decades after Rikunyo's death, in the mid-nineteenth century.

29

Rikunyo refers here to his poem titled 田疇 (“Rice paddy”) in Rikunyoan shishō 六如菴詩抄 (Kyoto Shorin 1783, 6: 15a–b; repr. Fujikawa 1990, 8: 66). It reads: 簫笛村村賽社公 今年多雨不妨豊 稻田收盡斜陽冷 惟有芻人彎竹弓 (“Flutes in each village, celebrations at the shrine / This year, plentiful rain might bring a bumper crop / Rice fully harvested, the setting sun cool / There is just the scarecrow drawing a bamboo bow”).

30

In another poem Rikunyo wrote in 1786, he uses a different word for “scarecrow,” 草人 (lit. “grass man”; Ch. caoren; Jp. sōjin), in this couplet: “On the scarecrow's raincoat stands a wagtail; In the ox's enclosure lies an unused stone roller” 草人簑背鶺鴒立 水牯欄辺碡碌閑. The original title of the sequence is 柏原山寺冬日雜題十六首 (“A winter's day at a mountain temple in Kashiwabara: Sixteen poems on various topics”) and appears in Rikunyoan shishō nihen 六如菴詩抄二編 (Kyoto Shorin 1797, 1: 19b–21b; repr. Fujikawa 1990, 8: 83–84). The couplet discussed here comes from the fourteenth poem in the full series (and the eighth in the series of annotated versions in Kurokawa 1990: 228–30).

31

The text mentioned may be the 1692 text by Lu Mao 陸楙 called Queting yuefu 鵲亭樂府.

32

Contemporary discussion of the term kagashi and Chinese parallels can be seen in Terajima Ryōan (1986, 5: 366).

33

Keisho's text is printed in NSS 4: 207–16; Tōyō's text is printed in NSS 5: 137–76.

34

At one point, Tōyō uses “heading notes” 標記 (Jp. hyōki) as the title of his text, suggesting that he may have intended the work's title to be Katsugen shiwa hyōki (NSS 5: 175). However, as discussed below, Tōyō referred elsewhere to these annotations as Katsugen shiwa kyūbyū, the name by which they are now commonly known.

35

For the first two volumes, see NSS 5: 137–76; for the latter two volumes and a comparison between the two manuscripts, see NSS 10: 1–38.

36

See NSS 2: 209–549 and NSS 3: 1–88. An annotated edition of Yakō yowa is available in Shimizu, Ibi, and Ōtani 1991: 281–366.

37

The handbook that Tōyō refers to here had its origins in a reference work compiled by the Ming scholar Qiu Qiongshan that was frequently reprinted in Japan into the modern period; see Qiu and Lu (1672: 12a).

38

Similarly, the first entry to Rikunyo's Remarks on Poetry explains the term 古先生 (Ch. guxiansheng; Jp. kosensei) as a term for the Buddha (NSS 4: 17), citing a source that Tōyō retorts has been misidentified: “This sort of thing ought to be a household affair for a priest; how can he be so sloppy?” (NSS 5: 141).

39

Another such example concerns the phrase 東西玉, which Rikunyo mistakenly says means “delicious wine” (NSS 4: 45). Citing the Kaogutu, Tsusaka Tōyō explains in his Correcting the Errors that the term in fact refers to an oblong wine vessel, before further chastising Rikunyo for failing to discern the true meaning from its occurrence in another text that Rikunyo mentions elsewhere in his Remarks on Poetry; see NSS 5: 151. Independently of Tōyō, Rikunyo's attention was called to his earlier mistake by Matsumoto Guzan; in his Later Remarks, he corrects the error by quoting the Kaogutu passage (NSS 5: 126).

40

See Rikunyo's entry in NSS 4: 34, and Tōyō's comments in NSS 5: 1547.

41

In the previous section, I discussed how Rikunyo considers various theories about the phrase 不分 before concluding that it means “unbearably angry.” In Correcting the Errors, Tōyō concurs, expanding on Rikunyo's intralingual gloss (that identifies 分 with 忿) to also point out the equivalence of 分 with 憤, but he also offers a final interlingual “translation”: “It can be translated ‘to seethe with anger’” (「ゴウガワク」ト譯ス) (NSS 5: 143). Typographical errors are not infrequent in NSS and I correct here the phrase that appears there with two kana mistakenly transposed as ガウゴワク; the colloquial phrase is gō ga waku 業が沸く.

42

The quotation comes from Nankai's Shiketsu (repr. NSS 1: 20).

43

Hagino Fukudō (1767); the text was also titled Tōsō kaii sanryaku 東藻會彙纂略 and Chimeisen 地名箋.

44

My conception of such vernacular reading as an interlingual operation diverges from that of Saussy (2022: 23), who observes that renditions of a Literary Sinitic text through vernacular reading (into Korean, or Vietnamese, or Japanese) “is not far different from intralingual glossing, as when an old or difficult text is read aloud and interspersed with explanations that are more easily understood.” As I have discussed, intralingual glossing was central to scholarly engagements with Literary Sinitic in China itself and throughout the Sinographic sphere, but interlingual glossing was a technique that intellectuals outside China made recourse to as well.

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