The White Camellia: the Plot of Mouri Terumoto

Yataro Hirakawa/著








A small and delicate white camellia was visible reflecting the spring sunshine in a well-maintained garden.


[Okuyamano Yatsuono Tsubaki Tsubarakani Kyowa Kurasane Masuraonotomo] (My dear guests, Look at the camellia flowers in the mountain behind. Please spend the whole day merrily just like the camellia flowers.)


 Madame Ayagi sat in the living room facing south and looked at the flower when this poem from ‘Man-yoshu’ suddenly appeared in her head.

When she was young, she was learning Waka and Renga from ‘Kia Daichi-an,’ the respected senior monk in Zenpuku-ji in Yamaguchi. The senior monk taught her 9 poems of camellia in ‘Manyoshu.’ Madame Ayagi is especially fond of this poem which was written and sung by Otomo-no-Yakamochi at a Joshi party. 

Her eyes reflected her now-deceased husband ‘Naito Motomori, the chief of maintenance’ and their then-young daughter ‘Fuku’ celebrating the girls festival on March 3rd. After the death of her husband, Naito Aya was called Madame Ayagi since she owned Ayagi-go. 

 There were several Japanese nightingales singing in chorus at the Naito’s garden which is located in Hiyako of the castle town of Hagi. (No wonder I hear them often. It’s already Seimei (March in the lunar calendar). She muttered watching the singing birds flying...


Yataro Hirakawa

Real Name: Kuniharu Ogawa Born in Hiroshima in 1936. 

PhD in Japanese History at Hiroshima University, Graduate School of Literature. Hirakawa has successfully held the following various posts: Professor at the Hiroshima University, Faculty of General Sciences;

Professor at the East Asia University Graduate School;

Emeritus Professor at the Yamaguchi University; and

President of the Yamaguchi Prefectural History Society.

Hirakawa’s work, “Tsuwabuki no Hana” was nominated for the 30th Historical Literature Award in 2005. In 2006, an edited version of this book “Tsuwabuki no Hana” was published from the Shinjinbutsu oraisha. 

His other literary works include:

Mouri Shigenari - Historical Figures Series, (2003), Yoshikawa Kobunkan

The 100 Years of Yamaguchi Prefecture, ed., (1982), Yamakawa-shuppansha

The History of Yamaguchi Prefecture, ed., (1998), Yamakawa-shuppansha 

The History of Education in Yamaguchi Prefecture, co-authored, (2000), Shibunkaku-shuppan

The Japanese History of Roads: Choshu and Hagi Road (2001), ed., co-authored, Yosikawa-kobunkan

The White Camellia, (2008), Chuokoronjigyo-shuppan




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