The Methodological Development of Honka-dori in Medieval Waka,
and the Formation of a Quotation Database


This paper explores two methods of composing honka-dori, a writing form in medieval waka that makes extensive use of quotations; to do so, it refers to the arguments of Sadaie (known as Teika) FUJIWARA (1162-1241) and Tameie FUJIWARA (1198-1275), and considers the act of quoting classics to create a new and valuable literary work. Moreover, this paper looks to examine both compositional methods, from the viewpoint of qualitative changes to a quotation database that had inevitably formed in a time and place where the use of quotations had become commonplace.
The aforementioned methods are divergent: Teika looks to ‘renew’ the kokoro of a honka by mixing original and old words, while Tameie looks to be novel in his use of kokoro, principally by using old words within contexts that differ from those in the honka.
For Tameie’s method, a database was made of individual old words, where the more frequently an indexed word is accessed, the more evident its connection is; the connection itself is keyed to other, new words. Such a database seems to be self-organising; within it, words form close networks, based on a large number of word-use examples. In composition, therefore, poets did not ‘create’ new arrangements of words, per se; rather, those arrangements were discovered by tracing networks of old words in the database, so that the expressed kokoro could far surpass the ideas and competencies of a single poet. Thus, by forming a quotation database, there was the potential for the world of textual expression to constantly renew itself.
This study’s findings can lead to a renewed appreciation of the medieval waka, which fell out of vogue following the Shin kokin period.

Keywords: Medieval Waka, Honka-dori, Teika FUJIWARA, Tameie FUJIWARA, Quotation Database