The Kindai shūka and the Eiga taigai by Fujiwara no Teika
A Contrastive Analysis
Fujiwara no Teika was a pivotal figure in classical Japanese poetry not only because of the many high-level poems he wrote or of the imperial anthologies he edited, but also because of his poetic treatises. In this paper, I will examine two of them: Kindai shūka (Superior Poems of Recent Times, 1209) and Eiga taigai (Fundamentals of Poetic Composition, after 1221). They both present a theoretical introduction followed by a selection of outstanding poems to be taken as examples by those who want to learn how to compose waka. The key feature of the anthology parts is to be found in the organisation of the poems, since they follow an order that respects the principles of association and of progression typical of the anthologies and of the sequences of the time. In this paper, I will compare these two treatises, with a focus on their similarities and differences. I will also try to understand, in the absence of explanatory notes by the author himself, what motivations might have induced the poet to modify what was stated in the introductory part and to reorganise the selection of the poems.