I provide the full paragraph for context. The sentence in question is stressed in bold:

下に挙げたのは、アメリカの大学が日本語の授業で作った俳句の例です。 ?>

静かだね。 雪の音しか 聞こえない

子が母が 呼び合うごとく 蝉のなく

秋の歌 落ちた木の葉に 書いてある

春の午後 ホームレスたち 昼寝して


Now, 詠{よ}む can mean two different things according to jisho.org:

  1. To compose or write a Japanese poem.
  2. To use [something] as the theme of a poem.

I tried to look up the word in monolingual dictionaries but couldn't find the second meaning there. I am not sure if the usage in this sentence is 1 or 2:

  1. この俳句に詠{よ}まれている季節はいつでしょうか。 The season written in these Haikus, when is it?

  2. この俳句に詠{よ}まれている季節はいつでしょうか。 The season being used as a theme in these Haikus, when is it?

In terms of grammar, 2 is fine. However, if the real meaning here is 1, the sentence sounds awkward to me. I'd rather use が than に :

この俳句が詠まれている季節はいつでしょうか。The season in which these poems were written, when is it?

To summarize,

  • What is the exact meaning of 詠む in this context, 1, 2 or another meaning?
  • If it is 1, how does に work in the original sentence then?
  • 4
    大辞林 is clearer about the second sense than others.
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 8 at 14:46
  • 2
    If it helps to think about and remember the word, consider the English sense of "to read into [a text]". This doesn't include the sense of 歌を作る that we have in the Japanese, but it does include the sense of considering the theme. Jun 8 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


The transitive verb 詠む can take two kinds of direct objects:

  1. a type/format of poetry: 俳句を詠む, 和歌を詠む
  2. a theme of a poem: 喜びを(俳句に)詠む, 美しい景色を(和歌に)詠む

Not all monolingual dictionaries may explain both patterns explicitly since 詠む is not a very basic verb, but the second usage is fairly common. 明鏡国語辞典 clearly explains the second usage:

【使い方】 ~ヲに〈結果〉をとる。「山桜[感動]を歌に詠む」のように、~ヲに〈対象〉を、~ニに〈結果〉をとる言い方もある。

In your sentence, the object of 詠む is 季節:

 ↓ (convert to passive voice)
 ↓ (relativize)

So it's used in the second sense. This に is a location/destination marker ("in(to) these haiku"), not a subject marker in a passive construction ("written/used by these haiku"). The に-marked argument in a passive sentence is not necessary the subject. See Function of に here?

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