International Shakuhachi Society Logo

The International Shakuhachi Society

Kotobuki Kurabe

寿競

This is a piece of genre Sokyoku in the style of Uta mono from the Yamada Ryû - 山田 School. Also Known As : Counting the Blessings. This piece was composed for Koto by the person Yamaki Kengyo II.

History (Tsuge Gen'ichi):

One of the characteristic pieces of the Yamada style sokyoku, Kotobuki-kurabe ('Counting the Blessing') was composed by Yamaki Kengyo II in celebration of the sixty-first birthday of a retired master of a wealthy family. The text celebrates long life, comparing it to a high mountain. The story is based on a famous Japanese tale, Urashima taro.

The gaku (an interlude which imitates the court orchestra) and the following kaizukushi (enumeration of shellfish names) are particularly interesting points of the piece.

Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

Happiness
Happiness is
A mountain peak
One thousand years tall,
A boundless deep sea
Shimmering
Under the Southern Cross,
Towering waves
Battering the foot
Of the 'Heavenly Bridge'
Famed in poetry.

An elegant lad of Mizunoe
Always viewed the moon,
The snow and the flowers.
In their seasons
He was a man of the capital,
A man about town.
One fine spring day
He took up a pole,
Fastened a line
As from a willow branch
And fished from a boat
As small as a leaf.
Bonito he caught
And sea bream -
So proud of his catch
He forgot to go home.
For seven days
Far from Suminoe,
Far out to sea he rowed.

'What's this?
The tortoise I caught...'
Was indeed
Transformed into
A magnificent princess.
Like dew from a flower,
A laugh rolled from her lips,
As beautiful as the first
Song of the warbler
Amidst the first
Blossoms of spring.

'I am the Princess
Of the Dragon Palace.
It would please me
To take you there:'
With joy in his heart
The lad consented
And went with her
To the land of
Eternal Youth -

To the palace,
To the inner gate
Of the God
Of the Sea.

Carefree,
He went
With her
To the beach
'Let's gather shells,
Let's gather pearls.

You and I are fated
In passion deep
As the black pearl,
The many shells.'
That meet and blend
Like waves in the bay.
A woman thinks,
When love is found,
Her heart to be
A jeweled curtain unwaving,
A curtain shelters,
It does not separate.
Yet the eyes of a woman
Will wander, coquettish
She is docile, then yielding
And slovenly.
'I think if you
So deeply
Why should I speak
Words as evanescent as dew drops?'
But she who believes
Such jeweled words
Will find her hair disheveled on
A makeshift pillow in the morning.

Yet amidst such bliss,
He did leave her -
Recalling his home
With longing.
One day he opened
The jeweled box
She gave him -
Suddenly it was spring.
On mats the ancients
Viewed the flowers,
Counting their blessings
And comparing their ages.
We praise
Your longevity,
Great
As the mountains.
(maebiki)

Ju wa
shunzan ni shite
senzai hiide
mata sookai no
kagiri naki
minami no hoshi no
kage hitasu
iwane no nami no
na ni takaki
ama no hashidate
fumi mo mizu

Mizunoe to iu
miyabi-o ari
tsuki yuki hana no
oriori ni
miyako no teburi
utokarazu
kokoro mo karoki
harukaze ni
tsurizao totte
aoyagi no
ito kuriidasu
hitohabune
katsuo tsuri
tai tsuri hokori
namuka made
ieji wasurete
suminoe ya
urawa haruka ni
kogi idenu

(ainote)

Aa ibukashiya
masashiku tsurishi wa
kame naru wo
ito yangotonaki
jooroo no
oreba koboruru
emi no tsuyu
hatsuhana-zakura ni
uguisu no
hatsune soetaru
bakarinari
(ai)
Ware wa somo
tatsu no miyako no
mono naru ga
kimi wo tomonai
moosan
iza morotomoni to
urashima wa
tokoyo no kuni ni
itarikeri

(gaku)

Wadatsumi no
wadatsumi no
kami no miyai no
uchinobe no

Taenaru uchi i
itsumade mo
omoi nagisa ni
uchitsurete
kai ya hirowan
tama ya hirowan

(ainote)

Kimi ga enishi wa
murasaki no
fukaki irogai
chigusagai
tama no oose wa
nanawada ni
omoitooshita
onnagi wa
kaze ni midarenu
tamasudare
sudaregai to no
hedate wa ushi to
kuneru memoto no
shiogai wa
nadeshikogai no
shidokenaku
mono omoo to wa
shiratama ka
nani zo to tsuyu no
adakotoba
tsui kuchidama ni
kakerarete
tamakura fureshi
asanegami

Tanoshiki naka ni
furusato wo
katsu shinobarete
tachikaeri
otome ga ataeshi
tamakushige
akete nodokeki
kisaragi no
hana no mushiro ni
matoi shite
kotobuki-kurabe
yama ni kurabete
kono kimi no
takaki yowai wo
shukushikeri

Kotobuki Kurabe appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Kinko Ryu Honkyoku - 2 Aoki Reibo II

Sokyoku Jiuta Taikei 53
Takahashi Eisei II
Yamada - 02 None


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017