Fujiwara no Teika introduces the Hyakunin Isshu, a Japanese poem anthology of 100 poems, each written by a different poet. Fujiwara explains that the Poems were originally collected to decorate the sliding doors of a certain house. Also, since Fujiwara was the person who compiled and chose which poems made it into the anthology, he explains that it should become clear what he likes. There are 43 love poems, 32 poems about the seasons of the year and 25 about other topics. (See Note 1)
Narihira is a ladies man. At a performance Takaiko, a female performer, catches his eye. After the performance, Narihira sends Takaiko a written poem by passing it through her servant. Her servant is taken by Narihira's charms, but Takaiko is not impressed and writes up a cold reply. Takaiko wants to keep her dignity and feels that Narihira is just a womanizer. That night Narihira visits her. He teases her a while, and says she is just a pretty face. This makes Takaiko frustrated which leads her to say "if you think I'm just a pretty face, why don't you see my body and judge for yourself!" causing her to be embarrassed and flustered. Narihira laughs and says he'll be back.
They start sleeping together, but Takaiko says that she is the one playing with him, not the other way around. Narihira finds this cute. Takaiko tries to explain that since she plans to marry the Emperor, she is just playing with Narihira for now. Narihira suggests to elope. They almost do, but as they are walking in the forest, Narihira tells her to return to her family. A few years later, Takaiko has married the Emperor and Narihira became one of the Emperor's generals. At a meeting with the Emperor's son, Takaiko has Narihira read a poem for them. Takaiko laughs when she realizes the possible innuendo in the poem, and fondly remembers their affair together.
This story takes place 5 years before Narihara met Takaiko. Yukihira is Narihira's older brother, from another mother. Hiroko is Yukihira's wife. Yukihira says he will be away for a while to visit his brother, and Hiroko knowingly asks if he is just going to scold his brother again. Yukihara laughs, but says he is thankful for the relationship that he and Hiroko share as husband and wife. Hiroko does not seem bothered that her husband is going away, which worries Yukihira.
When Yukihira meets Narihira, Narihira says he is sick at heart and laments about his rank. Yukihara finds this hard to believe as Narihira never cared about rank. Yukihira tries telling Narihara what to do and what to focus on, but he will not hear any of it. Narihira doesn't want his older brother to impose his way of living on him. Yukihira remembers that their father worked very hard for the emperor, but died because of over-work. Narihira might have used this to conlude that hard work does not always pay off and that it would be better to live freely. Howeverly, Yukihira continues to work hard and honor his father.
At home again, Yukihira is preparing for another trip due to work. Hiroko and Yukihira express their strong love for each other, saying that they are strong because of each other. Yukihira writes a poem to show express their love. Yukihira hopes that his younger brother can also find something that he really cares about.
The following notes are referenced in the summary
1. It is important to keep in mind that this series is an interpretation of the 100 Poems, and should not be taken as an accurate representation of what Fujiwara intended his audience to understand from the collection, or even what the original authors of each poem intended.
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