Friday, January 14, 2011

Japanese Old Poem and History

I incidentally found this poem in my friend's facebook wall. There were also some comments explaining the background of the poem. I think it is a nice poem with historical background and has a good advice for us. Please enjoy :)

馬上少年過
世平白髪多
残躯天所赦
不楽是如何

Translation:
Youth age on horse's back
Peaceful time, hair goes white
God bless an old man long-lived
Why there is no fun in peaceful time

Historical background:

Date Masamune was born on 1567 and the chaos age of Sengoku was finished by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 (Edo era). Date Masamune wanted be the King of Japan, but he couldn't. After Edo era, Date Masamune composed the poem above, and means.

1st line: In his young days, he was always fighting around on the back of horse. (His dream was to be the king of Japan, but after the Tokugawa Shogunate (Edo era), the war was forbidden and he could not rule Japan)

2nd line: After Tokugawa shogunate, Japan became peaceful (It means no opportunity he could be the king)

3rd line: He is just alive without any chance to be the king.

4th line: All he can do is to have fun for the life.

He was an ambitious. Even after Hideyoshi Toyotomi united Japan, Even after Ieyasu Tokugawa started Tokugawa Shogunate, Date Masamune kept his ambition in his mind. But he became old and gave up his dream then he worked for Tokugawa shogunate. It also means he wanted give a stable and peaceful life to his sons and family.

Giving up his ambitious maybe very painful, but that could be a smart choice, at least for his next generation. That is the idea and the taste of the poem. To give up the ambition might be really painful but sometime it could be the best choice.

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