Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi Ep 1: Passionate Love

Even when impassionate gods
Held sway in the ancient days,
I have never heard
That the Tatsuta River
Dyed its water in autumn red 

Summary

Cards #17 and #16 of the Hyakunin Isshu poem set are interpreted, with the first story recounting the affair between nobles Narihira and Takaiko, and the second centering around Narihira’s older brother Yukihira.

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Impression

“Chihayafuru is a poem about deep red love!”

The exact story behind the Chihaya card was nearly forgettable back during Chihayafuru, but Uta Koi quite literally brings this poem and many others to life in what must have been a very liberal interpretation. I’d expected something a bit more regal, but what I certainly didn’t expect was for Narihira to be such an open playboy, and for Takaiko to be a tsundere. Back in those days, things like affairs must have been frowned upon much more, and I doubt that the fact that Narihira did it with the future emperor’s wife helped his career much. It was so romantic for them both to exchange poetic mails, and I loved how Takaiko completely fell apart after a few well-timed lines from Narihira xD Right at the end, the hidden message Narihira stuck in the poem redeemed the ending, though I did wish they never had to separate for something as stupid as political reasons. Let’s see what Kana-chan has to say on it:

I believe that this poem is about passionate love. I like how Narihira concealed his passion for her in a scene rendering since he wasn’t able to forget her. Chihayaburu is an epithet for gods that implies great force. Mizu kukuru can be interpreted as “water goes under red leaves” or “water looks like being tie-dyed”, but I believe that the crimson leaves represent a love that never faded even after the separation. – Kana-chan, Chihayafuru Ep 6

Our second story was centered around Narihira’s brother Yukihira, and Hiroko, his loyal wife. Yukihira should really feel lucky to have such a devoted wife that is completely all right with Yukihira leaving the capital and going all the way to Inaba, though the thoughts of cheating did cross my mind (especially with Narihira around xD) I must remember that this is ancient Japan we’re talking about here, and not modern times. It was a less sad story when compared to the Narihira x Takaiko one, and the personality difference between the brothers was striking – while Yukihira is regal and composed, Narihira is more of a free spirit, with both of them deciding to interpret their father’s death in different ways.

To finish off, going back to Chihayafuru, I think I can really see why Kana-chan loves the Hyakunin Isshu poems and learns each and every story behind them – they are amazingly interesting, and Uta Koi captures this really well. While I do feel that this really deserves coverage, I’m unsure if I’m willing to take this up due to my own constraints – I had Eva on board for sharing before she decided she wasn’t going to do Summer, so I’ll have to think it over during the week. I have a feeling this is going to be another one of those underrated yet fantastic series, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: Moderate

Vantage

I love cute things.

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