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Yaegoromo

八重衣

This is a piece of genre Jiuta in the style of Tegotomono from the Ikuta Ryû - 生田 School. This piece was composed for Koto by the person Yaezaki Kengyo. This piece was composed for Shamisen by the person Ishikawa Koto.

History (Tsuge Gen'ichi):

Yaegoromo ('An Eight-Fold Garment') is originally a jiuta piece composed by Ishikawa Koto of Kyoto. It was composed in a fairly complex tegoto-mono form, including two tegoto (instrumental interlude) sections: maeuta (introductory song)-tegoto I (with naka jirashi (1) and hon-jirashi)-nakauta (middle song)-tegoto II (with ato0jirashi)-atiuta (concluding song).

It is a work on a grand scale, and the version commonly used today was arranged by Yaezaki Kengyo into a kaede-goto style ensemble piece.

As for the song text, five waka poems (dealing with clothing for the four seasons) were selected from the Hyakunin-isshu ('One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets'), the famous anthology of waka compiled but Fujiwara Teika (1162-1241).

The first three poems are sung in the introductory song; the fourth and first half of the fifth poem are sung in the middle song; and the second half of the last poem is sung in the concluding song.


(1) Jirashi is derived from chirashi (dispersion'), a sections which 'disperses' the tension of the tegoto and makes a transition to the following vocal section.

Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

For your sake
I have come out on the spring fields
To gather young shoots.
On my sleeves
Snow is falling.

Spring has passed
And summer seems to have come;
Pure white are the summer robes
Hung out to dry
Over the heavenly Mt. Jagu.

The autumn wind
Blowing down Mt. Yoshino-
As the night deepens
In my village, cold
The sound of fulling cloth.

On an autumn field
I seek shelter with the rice
Under a rough thatch roof-
My sleeves are soaked
With the night dew.
A cricket cries
This frosty night-
Spreading my robe
On this humble mat,
Must I sleep alone?
On this humble mat,
Must I sleep alone?
Kimi ga tame
haru no no ni idete
wakana tsumu
waga koromode ni
yuki wa furitsutsu
(ai)
Haru sugite
natsu kinikerashi
shirotae no
koromo hosuchoo
ama no kaguyama
(ai)
Miyoshino no
yama no akikaze
sayo fukete
furusato utsunari

(tegoto)

Aki no ta no
kariho no io no
toma wo arami
waga koromode wa
tsuyu ni muretsutsu

Kirigirisu
nakuya shimoyo no
samushiro ni

(tegoto)

koromo katashiki
hitori kamo nen
koromo katashiki
hiroti kamo nen

Yaegoromo appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Abe Keiko Record Set - 08 Aoki Reibo II Fujii Kunie Abe Keiko
Araki Kodo III and Fukuda Eika - Collection of Famous Performances - 03 Araki Kodo III Kawada Tou Fukuda Eika
Art of the Japanese Bamboo Flute and Koto Richard Stagg

    The original version of YAEGOROMO, the fourth piece in the album, was for shamisen and voice and was created by Ishikawa Koto who was active in Kyoto in the early Nineteenth Century .In spite of being the longest composition known in the sankyoku repertoire, it did not become well-known until it had had a koto-part added by Yaezaki Kengyo, also of Kyoto, who received very active encouragement from Miyahara Kengyo of Kyushu in its completion. Sankyoku is the genre of composition which uses the trio of players above, and their voices, and has its existence purely as a piece of music without being intended for courtly proceedings, drama or festivals. It became widespread first of all in the places of entertainment in the cities and later in the nobles' houses, thus occupying the position of "chamber-music" in Japanese culture. The shakuhachi-part of Yaegoromo would have been added later still, and accurately-notated rhythms were a luxury not yet granted to the contemporary performers of these pieces. The difficulties of obtaining an accurate performance would have been formidable indeed. The shamisen-part was notoriously difficult because of the use of hon-choshi tuning throughout. Pictorial references to the poem can be heard, in particular the rhythmic cloth-beating during one of the instrumental tegoto, and also the sounds of insects by means of hajiki and bachikeshi on the shamisen (plucking the string with the left hand whilst damping it with the hard edge of the plectrum). The poem dates from the Thirteenth Century and is a collection of five waka (31-syllable poems) from Ogura hyakunin-isshu anthology The word koromo (“robe") links the five poems, which also embrace the four seasons.

    To serve thee
    I venture into the fields
    Gathering the spring harvest.
    On the tumbling sleeves of my robe
    The snow is falling.
    Spring
    Has almost turned to summer
    As the whiteness
    Of the drying robes
    Mantles the holy mountain of Kagu.
    How fiercely the autumn wind blows
    Around Mount Yoshino!
    In the chill
    Of the village
    The thudding of the cloth-beaters.
    By the edge of a rice-field in autumn
    A hut of rough thatch is one's shelter.
    Wet through
    Are the robe's sleeves
    With the dew of the night.
    A grasshopper chirps through the cold
    Of the frosty night.
    On this rope-matting
    With only my sleeves for company
    Must I lie alone?

Classic Ensemble Music Vol 2 Kitahara Kozan II Yes Yes
    This piece is well-known as one of the most difficult and the longest pieces of the genre. The poem consists of five waka verses dealing with garments (=koromo, -goromo) selected from Hyakunin Isshu (A Hundred Poems by a Hundred Poets), a very famous and popular anthology compiled in the 12th century. Hence the title of the piece, which means many-layered (=yae) garment. The form of the piece is rather complicated: fore-song, interlude (1), middle-song, interlude (2) and after-song. The two interludes, both being longer than any of the three song sections, are the most important sections to listen to, where instrumental skill flourishes. The original piece for voice and shamisen was composed in early 19th century by Ishikawa Koto, a first rank master of shamisen composition famous for works with extremely intricate instrumental passages. The koto part was added later in the middle of that century by Yaezaki Kengyo, a koto virtuoso who accomplished this style of ensemble music by composing the additional koto parts to almost all of the famous shamisen pieces of the day.

Fascination of the Koto 5 Yamaguchi Goro Yonekawa Toshiko Inoue Michiko
    The text consists of five tanka poems included in the collection "A hundred poems by a hundred poets", all treating garments in connection with the four seasons. A long virtuosity-oriented instrumental interlude (tegoto) is placed between two poems of garments in autumn. Another shorter interlude is placed between the former and the latter parts of the poem dealing with the garments of winter. Insect sounds are imitated in this interlude as a symbol of the season.

Fujii Kunie, The World of Shamisen and Jiuta Singing 3 None
Inoue Michiko

Fukami Satomi - Sokyoku Jiuta Shu - 3
Nosaka Keiko Fukami Satomi
Ikuta Ryu Sokyoku Senshu Volume 06


Musical Anthology of the Orient, Unesco Collection Vol 1 Notomi Judo I Yonekawa Fumiko
    Yaegoromo was originally composed for the Shamisen by Koto Ishikawa around 1820. This composition was later transcribed for the Koto by the great Koto-player Kengyo Yaezaki (d. 1848) and then arranged as Sankyoku (trio for Koto, Shamisen and Shakuhachi).

    The transcription for the Koto given here belongs to the Tegotomono style in which the melodies are connected with one another by virtuoso instrumental interludes.

    This composition belongs to the repertoire of the Ikuta School which was founded in Kyoto by the famous Koto-player Kengyo Ikuta in 1695.

    The five songs, which are based on Japanese poems of 31 syllables (in each of which the syllables appear in the classical order 5-7-5, 7-7), have been brought together under the title Yaegoromo (eight-fold dress) and deal with the moods of the four seasons, each of which is expressed in relation to a certain type of dress. The title can approximately be translated: "Five Seasonal Songs about Dresses".

    The poems have been taken from the famous anthology "Hyakunin isshu" (One poem by each of a hundred poets) by Teika Fujiwara (1162-1241).

    The primary musical form is divided into five parts corresponding to the number of poems:

    1)Mae-uta - introductory song
    2)Tegoto - instrumental interlude
    3)Naka-uta - central group of songs
    4)Tegoto - instrumental interlude
    5)Ato-uta - concluding song

    The performers are:
    Koto and song: Fumiko Yonekawa
    Shamisen: Misao Yonekawa
    Shakuhachi: Judo N6tomi

    For your sake,
    I went into spring meadows
    to pick the young buds,
    while snow was falling
    on my dress.

    Spring has passed away,
    and summer is here;
    white dresses are seen
    fluttering in the breeze
    high on Kaguyama.

    From the Yoshino mountains
    the autumn wind
    at dead of night,
    here where once I dwelt,
    blows cold through my dress.

    On autumn fields
    at rice-harvest time,
    under a rough shelter,
    on a coarse-woven mat,
    my dress is soaked with dew.

    The crickets chirp!
    Must I rest alone
    through the frosty night,
    cold and on a narrow mat,
    lonely in my dress?

Ningen Kokuho Shirizu 5 Yamaguchi Goro


Sankyoku Yamaguchi Goro Yonekawa Toshiko Inoue Michiko
Seiha Hogakkai Play Favorites 01 - Ishikawa Kooto


Shakuhachi no Shinzui-Sankyoku Gasso - 02 Yamaguchi Goro

Sokyoku Jiuta Taikei 30 Aoki Reibo II Fujii Kunie Abe Keiko
Yomigaeru - Revived



Yonin no Kai Ensemble - Japan Jiuta Kitahara Kozan II Takahata Mitoko Goto Sumiko


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017