Ieshimawa nanikosoarikere unaharawo agakoikitsuru imomoaranakuni
I came here attracted by the name Ie(home)shima, though my wife whom I have
been longing for during this journey is not here.
A delegation set on a journey to "Shiragi (Korea)" in June 736.
It took more than three months to get to Shiragi because of rough weather.
In distress, some of them including the ambassador died of illness.
The journey was delayed. As had been expected, negotiations ended shamefully
for they couldn't get what they had hoped for. The disease which had killed
many delegates may have been smallpox and there was a conjecture that they
first brought this disease to Japan.
There are 145 poems written during this journey in Manyoshu, but only
five poems (#3718-3722) were composed during the return journey. The poems
were written when they arrived at Ieshima in "Harima."
This poem #3718 uses the name of the place,Ieshima. To do so
is natural as it's a poem of journey and travellers pay their respects to
Ieshima. On the other hand, however, we can also feel grudge against Ieshima
in this poem. The poem tells us how hard the journey was.
Ieshima has a magnificent shrine ,"Ieshima Shrine",which is out of
proportion on a small island. The shrine has been a symbol of faith for sailors
There are no poems written in Korea in these 145 poems. Besides this
delegation, many Japanese went to China or Korea in those days. However,
only one poem, #63, was composed outside of Japan, China. Why? What
do you think?