What is the meaning of the following tanka by Saigo Hoshi which I came to read today?

Now indeed I know

That when we said "remember"

and we swore it so,

it was in "we will forget"

that our thoughts truly met.

  • Could it be "leave past quarrels behind" sort of thing? Or maybe they are parting ways, vowing to remember each other, but are tired of each other at the same time. Hard to tell without context. Apr 20, 2017 at 14:03
  • 1
    Interesting approach. Was thinking of something like inevitable to forget style, but yes, lack of context makes it hard for the meaning to be unique. Guess that it's another strong point of this kind of poetry.
    – Ayeron
    Apr 20, 2017 at 15:22
  • 2
    Do you have the original Japanese?
    – Kimball
    May 3, 2017 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


In my point of view, generally it may suggest that people will say or ask other people to "remember" certain things because they think those things will be forgotten by them. If they believe that they will never forget about them or certain things,they would not swear to "remember".

Further referring to the individuals suggested in the above, it implies that this person want the other person to "remember" about them, because he/she may feel that the other person will forget about their love. In short, the above tanka manifests the inner feelings of a lover who fears that his/her lover will forget about them.

(I am sorry if I have given a wrong interpretation. The above are only my ideas about the given poem.)

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