Roppyakuban Uta-awase (poetry contest with 600 matches) (六百番歌合)
Roppyakuban Uta-awase was an uta-awase (poetry contest) in the Kamakura period hosted by FUJIWARA no Yoshitsune.
It is known for the judge FUJIWARA no Toshinari's statement that, 'It is to be regretted that there are poets who compose poems without reading The Tale of Genji.'
Along with the later Sengohyakuban Uta-awase (poetry contest with 1500 matches hosted by the Retired Emperor Gotoba), it is admired as the greatest examples of the uta-awase genre.
The uta-awase was planned and the topics for the poems were issued in 1192. The autumn in the following year, 1193, the poems were recited in public and judged, and the writing up of the assessments of the poems was completed the same year. The themes for the poems were as follows: 15 rounds each for spring and autumn, 10 rounds each for summer and winter, and 50 rounds for love. As for the category of love, a revolutionary attempt was made to subdivide and systematize the topic; for example, the first 25 topics were set to follow the progression of a love affair, and the rest of the 25 topics were grouped together as the 'love which is told under the guise of things' type.
The poems composed for this uta-awase were acclaimed in the "Shinkokin Wakashu" (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry), in which 34 poems were selected from among them. From the point of view of the history of waka circles, there was a showdown between the factions of Rokujo Toke (the Rokujo Fujiwara family) and the Mikohidari family; the former put its poetics and past honor at stake in this poetry match and confronted the latter family, which had been becoming a new power as a leader in the circle of the Sekkan-ke (families which produced regents and chancellors). For this reason, the arguments between Kensho (the faction of the Rokujo Fujiwara family) and Jien, Jakuren and Ietaka (factions of the Mikohidari family) became especially heated.
Poets Who Composed Poems for the Poetry Match
The left team
FUJIWARA no Yoshitsune and Kanemune NAKAYAMA
FUJIWARA no Sadaie (the Mikohidari family)
Kensho, FUJIWARA no Suetsune, FUJIWARA no Tsuneie and FUJIWARA no Ariie (the Rokujo family)
The right team
Jien, FUJIWARA no Iefusa
Jakuren, FUJIWARA no Takanobu and FUJIWARA no Ietaka (Junii [Junior Second Rank]) (the Mikohidari family)
FUJIWARA no Tsuneie (the Rokujo family)